Friday, September 20, 2019

The Deep Frauds Of L.A. Community Colleges

By Professor Doom

    Community colleges are the ripest of fields for fraud. One might think that the for-profit schools would be the best, but for-profits get scrutiny, particularly from our state and Federal governments. As government-run operations, CC’s get a free pass from such scrutiny, and this allows endless breathtaking fraud.

       I’ve looked at LACC a few years ago; they spend about 25% of their resources on 6th grade level material…not a good sign that this is what folk would call a legit community college.

      So what have they been up to lately?

L.A. Community College hit with whistleblower complaint over construction bond program

     Again, non-state schools absolutely engage in highly questionable real estate deals, an easy way to launder the student loan money. The only difference is the state schools get to do the same with tax dollars.

      In this case, we’re looking at $3.3 billion dollar bond…with that kind of money involved, it’s no great shock that there’s some corruption involved.

     The whistleblower was the chief facilities executive overseeing this, and encountered many “issues” once he started oversight of the project. He made his complaints to the higher-ups at the CC, and they responded much as I’ve seen their like respond to faculty with integrity many times: they fired him.

      The CC officially says the complaints are unsubstantiated, while the whistleblower has filed a near $2 million lawsuit. Considering how many times in the past I’ve seen a school say “nothing to see here” only to lose badly in the courts, I’m inclined to believe the whistleblower has the right of it.

      One of his issues was how L.A. CC system, which has a stunning 200,000 students, really didn’t need the new space because it wasn’t using what it already had—spending over $4 a year just on maintenance for the unused facilities.

      Now, the case is still open, so perhaps I’ll lets the courts pass judgement before I do. Let’s take a look at another ongoing issue at L.A.’s community college system:

LA College Gets Flak Over Public Use of Taxpayer-Funded Track

     So, this, massive, huge community college system has a track. I’m not expert in such things, but it’s top of the line:

Community members say Los Angeles Valley College used taxpayer money to build a $4 million state-of-the-art stadium, but is limiting public use of the track to one morning per week…jewel of the stadium is its 10-lane rubberized track. The school says is the first of its kind in California.

     Because these schools are taxpayer funded, the facilities are often available to citizens, not just students, although naturally the school gets top priority. I guess the CC’s track team uses it often?

LAVC doesn't have a track team, so outside of some physical education courses, it seems like it is seldom used.

      Wow, all that money for a track, they don’t have a team, and they don’t want the public using it, either. Granted, I’ve seen similar ridiculous wastes at a community college, and this is hardly different than building a 5 star restaurant on campus just for the Poo Bah.

      Am I really the only who might suspect some of the gigantic sums of money going into these building projects are really just flowing into administrative pockets? It’s a shame only a government would have the resources to do a full investigation of such a large building project, following all the money, because we know full well the government won’t investigate itself.

     The CC here defends its action by saying it’s a public safety issue, and they just don’t got the money to hire someone to watch the track while the serfs use it (this is a system with more admin/staff than faculty, by the way):

In talking with athletic and facilities directors from several public colleges and schools, they say they never heard of an outdoor track requiring a paid employee to sit and watch people work out. They also said they haven't seen a track surface vandalized.

     More lies, just part for the course.

      They don’t have the money to hire a security guard, but they have money for payouts:

LA Valley College worker awarded $2.9 million in employment lawsuit

     It really is amazing the stuff that goes on in these schools. We’re told that these community colleges, and the grotesque sums of money spent on them, are justified because of the benefits they offer to the community.

      This leads to the true fraud: these schools certainly collect tax dollars, and it’s clear they don’t spend that money when it comes to real estate. They do even worse when it comes to education. The bulk of the resources at these schools are spent on remedial programs, even though it’s well known that a high majority of remedial students fail, get nothing out of college but wasted years and debt.

     Perhaps Los Angeles’ community college system has used it’s great experience with so many students to justify all the money the taxpayers “generously” “give” to it. What kind of success does this system have? Well, one thing government does well is keep records (unless it involves our highest officials, of course—hi Epstein!), and so it’s easy enough to find out:

Fall 2011 Cohort
Completion Rate: 21.12 %
Transfer Rate: 9.13 %
LAVC SRTK Trend Data

 last updated 4/21/2016

    To emphasize: the school knows the above statistics because they submit them. They know what they’re doing wrong, know that they’re wasting money on educational fraud, but keep on doing it. 

    That completion rate is over a 3 year timeline, a bit of a problem when you consider we’re looking at a system which claims to have 2 year degrees. If we went to a 2 year completion rate, it’d likely be closer to 2% (a widely varying national average, with sub-1% rates quite common).

     We really should ask some questions here about why schools where around 80% of students don’t get their 2 year degrees in 3 years still get to call themselves 2 year schools…

      Ultimately, this is the real fraud of LACC and, frankly, most community colleges: they’re not colleges, and they don’t educated. But they do build nice palaces for their leaders, so there’s that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Science And Tech Conference: Whites Need Not Apply

By Professor Doom

     One of the many, many, problems with having our campuses taken over by Progressives is their racism. The only real advantage to the takeover is this racism, long hidden via “wink and a nod” policies which were never in writing (but enforced through hiring and firing)…are now ever more commonly in black and white. 

      This is rather important, because in the past, whenever someone complained about those “wink and a nod” policies, they’d only be branded a dirty conspiracy theorist and fired…and none grieve the removal of dirty conspiracy theorists. But now that it’s all out in the open, no such branding can take place (although firings are still possible). A few years ago, a Kentucky university made it clear they wanted a physicist, just not a white one…and they put that request in writing.  Granted, once their racism became public, they backpedaled, but the fact remains: they really didn’t want more white professors on their campus.

      Things have escalated and now racist postings by our universities no longer get taken down:

New Voices in Science & Technology Studies: A C3 Symposium

      A symposium is a conference to discuss a particular subject, in this case science and technology. It’s a great opportunity for scholars, particularly new scholars, to introduce themselves, to show off their research and skills:

The Science & Technology Studies Program at Williams College invites papers on any topic concerned with science and technology and their relationship to society for a day-long symposium showcasing the work of early-career scholars (ABD or recent PhD) from…

        Now, “ABD” stands for “all but dissertation,” in other words a scholar who hadn’t yet received a doctorate in a specific field as yet, but will likely receive one soon, and be in search of a job shortly thereafter. Now, such conferences can be quite narrow, so the restriction of scholars “from…” isn’t that unusual, since it might specify a particular aspect of science and technology which is relevant for this conference. So, what’s the “from…” here?

…from historically underrepresented groups.

     Uh, what? Neither science nor technology cares one bit about history, that’s not what those fields are about. I remind the gentle reader that these claims of “underrepresented” ring quite hollow, since there’s never been a serious look at what level of representation is proper, or how things might be improved if we ever achieve those proper numbers. This is rather important, because wanting to know if there will ever be an end to this cry of “underrepresentation!” would be nice…there are a few departments/fiefdoms on campus where it’s very clear certain groups are overrepresented if we’re looking at demographic numbers, and still the cry is MOAR.

      The advertisement helpfully defines what the underrepresented groups are:

…defined here as African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

     Now, I’ve nothing against any of the above, but why is Williams College (where the conference is being held) granting this opportunity to start/advance a career to only certain groups? Is not Williams College inclusive? It’s a private school, so doesn’t need to be, but I would like to know their position.

      They helpfully include their equal opportunity statement in the posting:

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn, and thrive.

       I don’t know for sure, but choking off job advancement opportunities to a certain ethnic group strikes me as hurting that group’s chance to “thrive,” as they say above, and silencing such voices also strikes me as against diversity and inclusion. Granted the hypocrisy of Progressives is as ingrained as their racism…but it’s good see it documented in writing like this.

       Now, in the Kentucky physicist incident I mentioned above, when called out on their racism, the admins lied when they backpedaled, saying they didn’t mean what they clearly meant in their written statement. 

       This time around, that option is not available:

The application deadline for this position has passed.


     The announcement was up over a month, all applications have already been accepted/rejected. There’s no way the school can deny that the school hasn’t made all their invitations to the speakers (and printed the $500 checks for speaking) based explicitly on race. Even if they make such a denial, anyone who wishes can verify the denial is a lie by simple inspection of the speakers. I’m sure the mainstream media will send reporters out there on November 3rd (the date of the conference) to do so, since we all know how much the mainstream media cares so deeply about racism.

        I wish the new scholars well on their career, even as I also wish their success at the conference weren’t tainted by the racism of those running it.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Admissions Scandal Mom Gets 14 Days In Prison…We're Asking The Wrong Question

By Professor Doom

     The “Admissions Scandal,” where parents were paying great sums of money to “sneak” their kids into top schools has finally made its way into the court system, and to judge by what has happened to the first to make it to sentencing, it does not look good for those who’ll come next:

Felicity Huffman Gets 14 Days In Prison…

     I’m quoting MSN here, and it’s fun to watch how they spin things:

“…she paid $15,000 to…a college admissions consultant who preyed on his wealthy clients’ anxieties…”

      Gee whiz, “preyed” is a bit of a loaded term here. I mean, the consultant didn’t wait in ambush for this woman, he made it very clear what he was doing, and had been doing for years, I’m certain.

       So she gets 14 days for dealing with this “predator” for the sum of $15,000—that’s not even a year’s tuition at many universities in this county, and is probably roughly high-end private high school tuition. There are 33 parents who will eventually be on trial for this kind of activity, and knowing that this (relatively) paltry sum for (some sort of) crime is meriting prison time has to got to scare the other parents, who paid quite a bit more.

     Another dozen college administrators, coaches, and test proctors are also charged. Something seems unbalanced here, since it’s bleeding obvious far more than a dozen people in our higher education system had to know what was going on—a typical sportsball team has more than just a coach working there, for example. How could the assistant coaches and trainers not be a little suspect at obvious non-athletes supposedly on the team? Getting into these schools isn’t the decision of a single person…whole committees had to have been involved.

      But only a dozen are taking the fall. Hmm.

      I grant that the Mom here paid a guy to pay someone to take the test for her kid so the kid could have good enough scores to get into school, and that is, indeed, some level of fraud…but I just don’t see how it’s a “throw into a cage” fraud, but that’s all the article indicates as her crime, even though the predator really did all the arranging through established channels.

       This is all rubbish, but let’s go with the flow, and assume getting your kid into a private school (many of the involved schools are private) by paying an extra fee really is bad, so wrong that it should be criminal. So the next question to ask is: what are legitimate ways to get into these schools, and are we sure everyone else is playing by those rules?

     That’s a fair question.

How Do Politician’s Unremarkable Kids Keep Getting Into Elite Ivy League Schools?

     The link above has a great rant from a commentator on wildly (over-)demonized Fox News, a rant which asks a question far more relevant than the one leading to this Mom going to jail. Seriously, if spending $15,000 of your own money to get your kid into a top school is Evil (with a capital E!), why isn’t the obvious abuse of political power a problem?

“…his father was the governor of New York…”

     Nothing against the kid, but, yeah, watching him a few minutes makes you wonder how the kid got into Yale.

“…offspring of 3 Democrats currently serving in the Senate…”

     Many Democrat kids get to go to the Ivy League, not just Yale and Harvard.

“Al Gore sent 4 kids in a row to Harvard…”

      C’mon now, it’s a real question how Gore won the lottery 4 times in a row.

      Chelsea Clinton is a Stanford Graduate, rather an odd prerequisite considering she just works in television (not exactly a field renowned for extraordinary brilliance).

“…Biden, Pelosi, Kennedy…”

       The above all managed to get lucky enough to get kids into Georgetown…it really seems like if you’re a child of a Leftist politician, you’re going to go into the Ivy League.

       Please understand, the Left tells us repeatedly that intelligence is not a genetic thing, tells us repeatedly that the only thing keeping certain groups out of the elite schools is RACISM…but they sure don’t seem to practice what they preach when it comes to their own kids.

       So, while the general populace follows the laser pointer dancing around a few parents paying extra to get their kids into the Ivy League, I can assure the gentle reader the mainstream media will never focus their light on the many children of politicos who breeze on in, and, more importantly, never ask what, exactly, our political class is paying for that privilege.

      Personally, I don’t care that much what goes on in private schools but as long I’m told to hate the splinter of parents in the “Admissions Scandal,” I’m going to ask why I’m not supposed to hate the log raft of politicians clearly engaging in the same, at a much higher level.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Michigan State U: Don’t Say “I Apologize,” It’s A Trigger

By Professor Doom

     Our campuses are bloated with administrators, so many that not only is it a puzzle to those who work on campus what these people actually do, it’s a puzzle to the administrators themselves. They mostly work very hard to justify their jobs, and their efforts manifest in a variety of ways.

      One way is to control or change the language. English has a massive vocabulary, and there are dozens of ways to express even a simple concept with words in this language. So, admin can always justify their jobs by recommending yet another new way to say something. 

       One such change in diction is harmless enough, but decades of having my vocabulary forcibly changed has affected my ability to speak about some concepts which shouldn’t be hard to discuss, and I’ve found myself “offending” people by accidentally using a word that was outlawed years ago, instead of another word meaning the same thing.

       Trouble is, it never ends:

Michigan State University informed student employees to refrain from using terms like "I apologize" and "no problem" and addressing customers with gender-specific “sir or ma’am,” in a mandatory August training.

--emphasis added

     Another way admin justifies their jobs is by calling “mandatory” meetings. If what they say is so important, so revelatory, why must we be forced to listen to it? I digress, perhaps, but I really feel to need to emphasize how unimportant, how useless, so many of these “leaders” are…and they know it, or else they wouldn’t make it mandatory to listen to them.

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever said ‘no problem,’” Ballbach told the employees. “Did you ever think that was a trigger? I say this all the time and never thought that this could be a trigger word. But if I’m saying ‘no problem,’ that’s leading a customer to believe that they could be a problem or they could be an inconvenience to you and we’re just assuring them that they’re not.”

       That…isn’t how the phrase “no problem” is used, as I trust the gentle reader knows. Thing is, these useless staff need to manufacture issues for them to solve. What do you say instead of “no problem”?

     The leaders recommend instead “You’re welcome. It was my pleasure…”

       I grant the replacement sounds nicer, and from a customer service point of view it’s ok, but there is an inherent lie in saying “my pleasure” when asking someone to hand you the appropriate form or whatever. “No problem,” is a faster way of saying the same thing.

       What other kinds of substitutions are recommended? Well instead of “I apologize…” you should say “I am truly sorry…” The latter sure sounds more sincere, but we’re not necessarily talking about a death in the family, perhaps you just handed the guy the wrong form. 

       I remind the gentle reader tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money was spent on administrative time to consider and recommend these changes.

       Instead of “but” you should say “and.” While technically the words are identical in meaning (so that the change is a pointless waste of money), the “but” often indicates some level of contradiction. For example, “He’s a great person, but he does like to swear” and “He’s a great person, and he does like to swear” technically have the same meaning, but the latter could mislead a person (especially a non-native English speaker) that the two qualities are comparable. Changing the language is a step backwards.

       A step that costs thousands of dollars to make.

       “The only thing we can do…” should be replaced by “The best option would be…”? Again, the replacement is technically correct, but adds confusion, since it implies there are at least two other options (“better” would indicate two options), instead of only once choice in any event.

        Whenever we want to be serious about cutting tuition costs, eliminating wide swaths of the administrative caste coming up with this drivel really will be the best option (cutting their pay to adjunct levels would be another option, as would be making their salaries dependent solely upon student contributions based on how much impact the administrator had on education of the students—see how the language works?).

        The beauty of this lunacy is a few years from now, a new batch of admin will come up with new ways to change the words around.

“Not everybody identifies like ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am,’” the facilities manager informed employees.

“I would like to start seeing a culture around MSU where we say… “they”, not “his” or “hers.”’ In addition, asking for a customer’s name is appropriate according to a presentation slide. 

      And of course the “training” has to delve into the gender-confused lunacy so common today. English is somewhat special in that the language isn’t nearly as gendered as English…destroying what little of this that English has actually harms students who are trying to learn other languages. But, who cares about reality, the ideology must be served!

The MSU presentation also included slides depicting a black student holding a sign reading “why is my skin color considered a threat?” a Muslim student grasping a sign claiming “I can cover my body & still be a feminist,” and a female student bearing a sign saying “select your gender,” followed by “male” and “female” options and, further down, “why is my gender not an option?”

      Every year, possibly every semester, scholars are forced to sit and listen to this type of stuff, presented by leaders who do nothing for education but soak up huge sums of student loan money. Anyone wishing to promote scholarship and education on campus must come to the same conclusion: get rid of the student loan money paying for all this crap.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

University of Alaska Going Bankrupt…Like Many State Schools

By Professor Doom

     By the financial measurement standards of the Obama administration, Trump’s presidency has seen an incredible boom in the American economy. Of course, those old standards are rubbish, and many of our states are running huge deficits because the economic numbers, no matter how you manipulate them, can’t change the reality of our failing economy (even as I concede that Trump has done some good, much like putting a balaclava on a snowball would help it last longer in Hell…).

     So today I’m going to take a quick look at University of Alaska, although the gentle reader should understand that many state schools are seeing the same things happen to them:

Financial crisis opens University of Alaska up to layoffs

      Despite its relative isolation from the rest of the country, Alaska is run much like the other 49 states, i.e., incompetently. They need money, fast, and so the state government is withdrawing funding from their higher educational system:

Along with a $5 million cut made by legislators, the university saw its state funding fall by $136 million, a cut of 41%

        Talk about a gutting! This may be a bit more brutal than what other state university systems are seeing, but I’ll withhold judgement on that for a few years. So how does this system respond to this sudden loss of tax loot?

Meeting in an emergency session, regents voted 10-1 to allow administrators to expedite layoffs of tenured faculty,…

      The “regents” referenced above are the Board of Regents, a massive collection of politically connected (and thus very wealthy) people who run the system from the top down. A few points I want to address in that one sentence above:

      First, “tenure” is supposedly a job for life, but, as the gentle reader can see, those precious positions can be easily eliminated…in fact, they’re most likely to be eliminated, since tenured professors tend to be paid more (since they often devoted decades of their lives to the university, in order to get that tenure).

       Administrators don’t have tenure, but, obviously, they don’t need it. As I’ve seen in many dying schools, admin are the last to go.

       Finally, it’s a shame faculty can’t vote here, I suspect the ratio would be better than 10-1 to thin out the ranks of the regents and administrators. Let’s take a quick look at the mission statement here:


The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved UAF's latest mission statement at its June 8, 2012 meeting. The following statement is now contained in UA Board of Regents Policy 01.01.030: 

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a Land, Sea, and Space Grant university and an international center for research, education, and the arts, emphasizing the circumpolar North and its diverse peoples. UAF integrates teaching, research, and public service as it educates students for active citizenship and prepares them for lifelong learning and careers.

     Hmm. I see nothing in the above that says the point of UoA is to guarantee permanent high paying jobs for the people at the top, but seeing as they’re going directly to firing faculty, it’s clear what the real mission of the school is.

      Just like in many other states, the system is large, and sprawling:

The university has main campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau and 13 satellite campuses. Proportionate reductions would hit UA Fairbanks, where most research facilities are located, with a $67 million reduction. UA Anchorage, which serves the most students, would see a $47 million reduction. UA Southeast would be in line for a $10 million reduction.

      Let’s put these numbers in perspective by considering another statistic: the system has around 35,000 students. Dividing that into the $136 million cut and we see support is being reduced by around $4,000 per student. Total cost of attendance at University of Anchorage (part of the system) runs around $43,000 a year.

       Bottom line, the system could address its financial issues by raising tuition by more than 10%—a big increase to be sure, and likely to cause student complaints…but student loans could make up the difference.

      This is what many state systems have done—withdrawn local taxpayer support and shifted the burden to the Federal taxpayer via loans. I feel for the students here, since the sudden removal of faculty could easily delay getting degrees a semester or two (the cost of this could be offset by that tuition raise, by the way…).

       In any event, the gentle reader should understand that what will happen here is what has happened very time: faculty removed, class sizes get larger, and education is sacrificed to preserve those all-important “leadership” positions. 

       It’s why we have class sizes of over 1,000 now, and why there are more administrators than faculty on campus. Seeing as with every cut, admin get to decide whether to fire themselves, or fire faculty, the latter is no surprise.

       The size of the budget cuts means tough challenges, [Poo-Bah] Johnsen said. “Does one nickel and dime every one of our universities and close some community campuses?” Johnsen said. “Well, you can close all the community campuses and you get to about $30 million. You’ve got [about] another $100 million to go.”

         I feel for the Poo-Bah here, but at least he’s already thinking about shutting down the community college system; I haven’t examined Alaska’s, but every system I’ve looked at has been sketchy at best. I hope, when he’s looking for the other $100 million, he’ll consider getting rid of few hundred administrators; likely he’ll just get rid of a few thousand faculty…but I can hope, at least.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Phoenix Art School Closes, Burying Thousands In Debt

By Professor Doom

      I’ve indirectly covered this school before, but there are so many issues missing in these stories that I feel the need to reinforce.

      First off, if you type in “Phoenix” in a search in reference to a school, you get several options. This is not random. There was a famous, legitimate, business school called Thunderbird (long since sold out), and University of Phoenix likely chose their name, at least in part, to steal some of the thunder of that notable school. University of Phoenix became big and successful (sacrificing much of their legitimacy to do so), and so other schools put the name “Phoenix” in their title somewhere to exploit the extensive advertising which UoPhoenix used. The point I’m wandering around here is that scammy schools often try to pick names similar to legitimate, or at least famous, schools…it’s a flag that this school’s collapse was inevitable.

      The other flag is this is an art school. I’ve nothing against art, completely respect its value in society but…the whole student loan system was approved by people who believed (or at least said) it was to help our society make more educated people. Artists, at best (possibly worst), are trained…not educated. Yet these loans are really granted just as easily and in just as great amounts as they are for the education people can theoretically get at (real) schools. I really want to emphasize: the “training” kids get in art schools is no more grueling or needing academic skills than the training needed to become a plumber, and yet the latter can be received on the job while the former somehow justifies a cost of way more than $100,000. As an added insult, anyone can get into art school, while not everyone is cut out to be a plumber.

      All that said, now let’s talk about this school’s collapse:

Phoenix Art Institute Students Left in the Lurch with Thousands in Student Loan Debt

--atrocious phrasing in that title, it would be more accurate to say “thousands of students in tens of thousands in debt.”

     This collapse is part of a large collapse of a family of thirty schools, with some 26,000 students; more than half of them were “art institutes.” I’m utterly without doubt that many of these students were scraped up and slammed into the school with promises that all tuition would be paid for by student loans, and that the student would be issued a “refund” on any loan money left over. It really is the modus operandi of these schools, not that the article mentions it.

…students who attended the Art Institute of Phoenix are now reporting that their loan providers are still holding them responsible for tens of thousands dollars, despite qualifying for the complete elimination of federal student debt under a Department of Education program.

      Because “art school” credits aren’t education, they aren’t transferrable…when a school like this closes down, the students quite literally have nothing but debt to show for it, not that their degrees are worth much anyway. I know I’m harping on how worthless these degrees are, but when you hire an artist, that degree means absolutely nothing next to looking at actual artwork created by the artist. It really is quite vile that student loan money is being outright stolen by such degrees.

       I first covered this story four months ago…and those loans have yet to be discharged. I’ll optimistically assume that at some point it will happen, but the students who have to deal with multiple calls a day from creditors probably don’t appreciate the delay.

       But is it just a simple bureaucratic delay?

But despite their circumstances, students at the Art Institute of Phoenix have received denial letters from their loan companies, which state that they cannot discharge the loans because the Art Institute of Las Vegas is still open.

      Oh, well, look at that. I bet these students thought by joining a big school they would have protection from the closures which are devasting our system of small liberal arts schools (a system which served well for over a century) but a school can close all campuses but one satellite and still be open, really putting the screws to students who can’t go to that remaining campus.

       Actually, it’s worse than that:

Brandie Lane, a former student at the Art Institute of Phoenix, was told by her loan servicer, Cornerstone, that her loans were listed for the Vegas campus even though she never attended it. Her loans total about $40,000.


     Poor kid never set foot on this campus, but her loans are listed for it. She’s not alone, other students are in the same trap. Talk about piling fraud on the fraud—she really should be able to completely repudiate this loan for a product she didn’t receive from a place she’s never been, but the student loan scam just can’t see reason here. I repeat that around 28% of the students in debt don’t even know it, and a big reason for this is because these loans are granted so easily that it’s quite trivial to rack up $40,000 in debt without a clue.

In 2015, the corporation paid $200 million in a settlement after an investigation into its recruiting tactics of enrolling students who had little chance of succeeding.

      Seriously, these scammy schools shouldn’t be paying fines, they should be shut down. More importantly, the gentle reader should realize it’s not “the school” ripping people off for, in this case a couple hundred million dollars (almost certainly much more), it’s actual human beings doing this. And yet, somehow, none of them ever seem to go to jail for the crimes they commit. At absolute worst, they get golden parachutes (although commonly they quickly get another top position in higher ed).

       We really need to ask questions about why our justice system doesn’t even come close to prosecuting the people involved in thefts of this size.

Meanwhile, the court-appointed receiver, Mark Dottore, who shut down much of Dream Center’s franchises, has asked a judge to approve $2.1 million in legal fees and expenses, which would consume nearly half the cash that Dream Center had on hand as of last month.

       Isn’t that remarkable? The school steals hundreds of millions, probably billions of dollars, but it only has a couple million left…and that’ll be used to pay lawyers.

      Seriously, nobody’s a little curious where all that money went? Nobody can guess it’s in the hands of the people who are apparently free from prosecution?

       I maintain this skullduggery is quite common in higher education today, and it’s all paid for by the student loan scam, a systemic plundering of the future generation in exchange for massive wealth of the untouchables running the system.

      But, sure, be angry at “the schools” for doing this.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Australian Universities As Battleground For HK Protests

By Professor Doom

      As I recover from lung surgery #2 (and a new 9" scar), a somewhat shorter post than usual.

     A while back I wrote about Chinese influence on our campuses; I still believe it’s an infinitesimally small problem compared to  other issues in higher ed, but a reader took me to task for it, believing I was underestimating the threat. I suppose there’s room for disagreement to just how much evil the Chinese government can possibly do on campus while a great deal of definite evil is being done by the "leaders" there, but the reader did have a point about what’s happening on Australian campuses:

Australian unis become battleground over HK protests

     While I’ve lightly covered the corruption of the Australian higher education system, it’s been a few years, and much has changed recently, particularly with regards to events in Hong Kong.

Tensions in Hong Kong have rippled across Australian universities, as supporters of the pro-democracy protests have been targeted and harassed by “patriotic” mainland students – with the tacit backing of Beijing.

But that has angered some mainland Chinese students, who have physically confronted protestors, torn down message boards and demanded universities provide a “pure study environment” free of political messages that “insult” their homeland.

--emphasis added.

     And here I am feeling like a Chinese apologist again. Before going further, I’ll give such disclosure as I have. I’ve been to Beijing, China, speak a bit of Mandarin, have Chinese friends—the latter is almost a necessity in my field, as grad school in mathematics has plenty of Asian students. To my knowledge, I’ve never taken a penny from the Chinese government (feel free to use the donate button, President Xi!). Every Chinese mathematician I’ve known has cared far more about mathematics than China, although I’m sure there are exceptions.

       In any event, what’s wrong with making universities a pure study environment? Politics has warped the American university system to the point that many campuses are little more than ideological training centers, and similar activity occurs in Australia…so, I rather see the point of Chinese students counter-protesting the pro-Hong Kong protests. While the article references “tacit approval” for the counter-protests, this seems a bit of a slant—it’s quite reasonable to assume the Chinese government would be in support of the Chinese government after all, there’s no need for the article to emphasize the obvious here.

“We wear masks because we know they will take photos and put it online on their social network sites and they try to find who (we) are,” said 23-year-old student James, who witnessed the skirmish.

He said several students who participated had their details published online and at least one had been the target of harassment, including anonymous phone calls.

       I’m not wild that the “pro democracy” students are wearing masks, even as I get that these days, “doxing” is a real thing. Why don’t the pro-Chinese supporters wear masks, though?

Australia’s cash-strapped universities have struggled to respond, weighing support for free speech with the need to sustain a lucrative supply of Chinese students.

More than 181,000 Chinese people are enrolled in Australian universities – by far the largest cohort of overseas students – bringing more than US$6.8 billion into the economy each year.

   Much as in the United States, universities are more about “the dollar” than about education, and so I have to worry that, yes, the universities will be coming down against the HK protestors to support their meal tickets from China. To put the above statistics in context the reader should note that something like 360,000 Chinese students come to American universities—considering the US has about 15x the population of Australia with a smaller relative college student base, Chinese students do represent a far larger concern in Australia than here.

      The Chinese Students and Scholars Association – a government-backed body – has led complaints about the pro-Hong Kong protests.

…“We are all students, we should focus on our study,” it said.

      Yes,  I concede the above is a little sinister overall, and I even respect the pro-Hong Kong students needing to be careful about their identities, lest their families (and themselves) face trouble in China or Hong Kong. China doesn’t have the free speech protections which Americans enjoy (unless they speak out against the SJW narrative, anyway--I encourage the gentle reader to watch the Dave Chapelle Netflix special, by the way), so we do have a problem here which is very different than in the United States.

      Of course, the Australian higher education leaders could just start tossing students on both sides, if they protest on campus, although I don’t see them doing that, since it would cut into the money. And so this problem will continue to fester on their campuses, eventually damaging the already corrupted higher education system of Australia. 

      That said, the pro-Hong Kong protesters could move their protests off campus. If they’re hiding their identity, then none need know college students were involved, and the Chinese students could then stay on campus and focus on their studies. 

      Could give that a try, at least…