Alexis Stigmore had to endure 40 harrowing minutes of class in a distressed state, forced to look at the world through the eyes of a set of people she disagreed with. Now there is a safe space dedicated in her honor.
LYNNFIELD, MA—In an effort to provide sanctuary for Lynnfield College students exposed to perspectives different from their own, a new campus safe space was dedicated Wednesday in honor of Alexis Stigmore, a 2009 graduate who felt kind of weird in class one time.
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn.”
Addressing students at the dedication ceremony, parents Arnold and Cassie Stigmore noted that while the college had adequate facilities to assist victims of discrimination, abuse, and post-traumatic stress, it had until now offered no comparable safe space for students, like their beloved daughter, who encounter an academic viewpoint that gives them an uncomfortable feeling.
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again.”
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn,” said Arnold Stigmore, standing outside the $2 million space that reportedly features soothing music, neutral-colored walls, oversized floor cushions, fun board games, and a variety of snacks. “God forbid any of you, in your years at this institution, are ever confronted with an opinion you do not share. But if you are, you will have a refuge on this campus.”
“As a parent, I’ll always wish I could have been there for her in that lecture hall, protecting her from those unwelcome concepts.”
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels.
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers in the United States are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s in the strong post-World War II recovery.
The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.
In a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled this week that thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s cost of collective bargaining.
The justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with stances taken by unions.
The ruling was narrowly drawn, but it could reverberate through the universe of unions that represent government workers. The case involved home-care workers for disabled people who are paid with Medicaid funds administered by the state.
Also in June, a California judge declared unconstitutional the state’s teacher tenure, dismissal and layoff laws. The judge ordered a stay of the decision, pending an appeal by the state and teachers union.
“The basic structure of the labor union movement has changed, reflecting changes in the economy,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University. “Manufacturing is a diminishing segment of the economy. Also, a lot of the manufacturing that’s being done today is being done nonunion.”
Union members continue to be a powerful political force in politics, and Baker said he didn’t see the role of unions diminishing. “I just think the colors of the collars are changing,” Baker said.
In 2013, 14.5 million workers belonged to a union, about the same as the year before. In 1983, the first year for which comparable figures are available, there were 17.7 million union workers.
The largest union is the National Education Association, with 3.2 million members. It represents public school teachers, administrators and students preparing to become teachers. Read the rest of this entry »
Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday morning. Did you learn how to spell KFC?
“…1989 happens to be when the Berlin Wall fell. I know, I know, most of you weren’t born, and you get your news from TMZ. A wall falling over can’t be as interesting as Beyonce’s sister punching and kicking Jay Z in a New York hotel elevator…”
Between inviting and re-inviting LeGrand, Rutgers invited and confirmed the invitation of former New Jersey governor and former head of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean. So the university has two—and, for all I know, still counting—commencement speakers. But Rutgers never got confused enough to invite me.
“Stop taking selfies and Google “Berlin Wall” on the iPhones you’re all fiddling with.”
Eric LeGrand and Tom Kean are uplifting figures. LeGrand has raised hope. Kean has raised hell with the CIA and FBI. I am not uplifting.
Here Is What I Would Tell the Rutgers Graduating Class of 2014…
I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.
“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?
I think Secretary Rice forgot she had a yoga session scheduled for today.
It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations. Read the rest of this entry »
As we bid Lessing farewell, the blight she spoke of—“political correctness” and, in particular, its toxic feminist strain—is on the move again
Cathy Young writes: The tributes to Doris Lessing, the novelist and Nobel Prize laureate who died on November 17 at 94, have given scant attention to one aspect of her remarkable career: this daughter of the left, an ex-communist and onetime feminist icon, emerged as a harsh critic of left-wing cultural ideology and of feminism in its current incarnation.
Over 20 years ago, I heard Lessing speak at a conference on intellectuals and social change in Eastern Europe at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. It was 1992, the dust still settling from the collapse of the Soviet empire. Lessing opened her memorable talk with a warning: “While we have seen the apparent death of Communism, ways of thinking that were born under Communism or strengthened by Communism still govern our lives.” She was not talking about the East but the West, where coercive “social justice” had reinvented itself as “antiracism,” feminism, and so forth. “Political correctness” had become, Lessing said, “a kind of mildew blighting the whole world,” particularly academic and intellectual circles—a “self-perpetuating machine for dulling thought.”
Nearly half of the school’s incoming freshmen admitted to cheating on homework, exams or other assignments in their young academic careers, according to a survey by the Ivy League institution’s student newspaper.
“Some of the newest members of that community are already guilty of academic dishonesty,” The Harvard Crimson declared in its summary of the findings. Read the rest of this entry »