Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 12

Harvard Tells Profs Not to Sleep With Undergrads

Harvard Yard and Harvard Square are seen from above in Cambridge. Photographer: Michael Fein/Bloomberg


By John Lauerman

(Bloomberg) -- Harvard University banned professors from having “sexual or romantic relationships” with undergraduates, joining a list of campuses that have taken similar steps.

Many colleges discourage but don’t ban sex between professors and students. While a national professors’ group doesn’t favor such a prohibition, recent moves by Harvard, Yale University and the University of Connecticut suggest the tide may be turning.

“Undergraduates come to college to learn from us,” said Alison Johnson, a Harvard history professor who chaired the panel that wrote the policy. “We’re not here to have sexual or romantic relationships with them.”

Harvard’s earlier policy was narrower, specifying that relationships with “one’s students” are inappropriate -- suggesting that relationships were prohibited only when a student was in a professor’s class. Under U.S. Education Department investigation for its responses to sexual assault and harassment reports, Harvard began a universitywide review of its policies in 2013.

The ban on faculty-student relationships applies to Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, whose members teach most of the school’s undergraduates. The change was mentioned in a longer document revising the division’s sexual harassment policy that was published earlier this week.

The change also prohibits Arts and Sciences faculty from having romantic or sexual relations with graduate students under their supervision. The restrictions apply to lab workers and dissertation advisees.

Full story at Bloomberg Business (February 2015)



Mastery of Mandarin attracts Malay parents with kids in Chinese schools


Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar, 52, says his four children studying at Chinese schools have not experienced any form of discrimination because of their race whether from teachers or their peers. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, February 4, 2015.


By Jamilah Kamarudin and Melati A. Jalil

While an Umno minister reignites communal feelings with his call for a boycott of Chinese businesses to force down prices of goods, Malay parents are sending their children to Chinese schools out of preference for the quality of education there – an illustration of how race in Malaysia so often obscures substantive concerns.


One such parent is homemaker Rozitah Kanak, who travels 30km daily, back and forth to send her two sons to a Chinese school in Klang, as she finds that the teachers' concern and personal attention given to her boys' studies makes up for the time spent on the road.

"The teachers even WhatsApp me to ask about my children's progress with their schoolwork. They take full initiative," said the 38-year-old mother whose younger child, a girl, is also in a Chinese kindergarten.

The politics of Chinese vernacular schools is frequently debated. They are blamed for impeding national unity and accused of spreading anti-government sentiments by conservative Malay groups and by some in the ruling coalition's lead party, Umno.

But those who advocate closing these schools in favour of single-stream education to foster national unity rarely address a basic issue – parents are simply concerned over the lack of quality of education in public schools.

Reportedly, 10% of the more than 600,000 pupils in Chinese schools are Malay. A letter written to TheSun newspaper last year put the figure at 80,000 Malay children.

Additionally, parents interviewed by The Malaysian Insider believed Mandarin as a third language was important for their children's future careers. And instead of hindering national unity, they felt knowing an extra language could foster integration.

Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Dr Raja Amin Raja Mokhtar, 52, sends four of his five children to Chinese schools, known here as Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC), as he believes that mastering Mandarin will help them in the future.

Full story at The Malaysian Insider (February 2015)



Why Danish students are paid to go to college

The Danish government is paying its students to go to college. (Photo: Syddansk Universitet)


By Rick Noack

When 23-year-old Danish engineering student Louis Moe Christoffersen arrived in Baltimore in late January for an exchange semester, he immediately noticed a difference: Everything was so much more expensive at U.S. colleges than at home

Since 1985, U.S. college costs have surged by about 500 percent, tuition fees keep rising, and even President Obama's plan to make community colleges free has faced harsh criticism at home. Whereas U.S. politicians argue about how much students should pay for higher education, the opposite is the case in Denmark: There, the government is even paying its students to go to college.

"Danish citizens don't have to pay any tuition fees. Housing is really cheap, as well," Christoffersen said, before adding: "In fact, we're all being paid by our government if we're enrolled in a university. It's like somebody is paying you a salary for going to your college classes."

Most Danish graduates without significant student debt

Every Danish student receives about $900 (5,839 Danish krones) per month under a scheme known as SU (Statens Uddannelsesst√łtte). The generous financial support does not have to be paid back even if students drop out, and the only major requirement for students to receive the full amount is that they do not live with their parents. Students receive the free funding for a maximum of six years, starting at the age of 18. Those who are particularly successful are eligible to receive additional payments.

"Some Danish think that we spend the money we receive in bars and clubs, but most students understand what is at stake: The scheme's existence is crucial to enable an excellent education for everybody, no matter how much their parents make," said Danish student Astrid Winther Fischer, who studies at Denmark's Technical University to the north of Copenhagen. Various companies offer special student discounts for cinemas, buses, trains or museums, Christoffersen added.

Full story at The Washington Post (February 2015)



Kindergarten kids holding 'AK-47s' during 'patriotic class' cause outrage in Russia


Controversy ... A Moscow woman looks at a computer screen displaying a photo that shows boys and girls around five or six years-old posing with weapons that include machine guns, a grenade launcher and a sniper rifle at a kindergarten in Saint Petersburg. Photo: AFP


Moscow: Pictures of young Russian children posing with mock AK-47 rifles and other weapons at a kindergarten have provoked a storm of controversy, but some defended them as patriotic education.

Pictures making the rounds online show boys and girls around five or six years-old posing for cameras with mock-ups of AK-47 assault rifles, a sniper rifle and a grenade launcher in their hands.

Some children wear helmets or military berets, a man in fatigues standing next to them.

The controversial photos were taken last week during a "patriotic class" at a kindergarten in the second city of Saint Petersburg, said a member of a club who helped organise the event and provided the replica weapons.

"Why can't children hold a weapon?" Yury Dorozhinsky, Deputy Head of Red Star, an organisation that teaches military history and acts as a club for World War II reenactment enthusiasts, said on Thursday.

"Let boys play dolls then."

He said the event was held ahead of the Defenders of the Fatherland, a Soviet-era holiday Russia marks on February 23, at the request of the kindergarten administration.

"It's silly to teach children patriotism using layman's terms. Telling without showing would not be right."

Full story at The Sydney Morning Herald (February 2015)