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Mumps Outbreak @ Temple University

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More than 100 confirmed or probable cases of mumps have been diagnosed at Temple University as an outbreak that began with just a few cases in February continues to spread across the Philadelphia campus.

City Department of Health officials believe that the close quarters in which college students live has accelerated the spread of the disease, and they expect more cases to be diagnosed. Although mumps and other highly contagious viral diseases such as measles have largely been eradicated in the United States, there have been sporadic outbreaks in pockets of the country that have been largely attributed to so-called anti-vaxxers, or parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. College students are generally susceptible to outbreaks of all kinds of contagious diseases, including certain strains of meningitis and the flu.

The university already held a free vaccination clinic, administering booster shots for mumps to nearly 5,000 students and staffers as of last week. Other students and professors were vaccinated at the campus health center, which is still offering shots, said Ray Betzner, a university spokesman.

Mumps is spread through spit and mucus, so college students who are often packed together in classes and dormitories or who share drinks and food are particularly susceptible, said Susan Even, chairwoman of the American College Health Association’s Vaccine.

The outbreak at Temple is believed to have originated with a person who traveled internationally, said Jim Garrow, city health department spokesman. Garrow did not identify whether the person was a student. Mumps is a common disease in other countries such as in Japan, where people are not routinely vaccinated against it.

Racism Spreading To Educational List-servs For Writing, Many Students Want Out

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The Writing Program Administration Listserv, or WPA-L, is an invaluable resource for disciplinary news, opportunities, advice and research. It’s also a kind of community for the many writing scholars who work in temporary academic positions off the tenure track.

So an anonymous post referencing the Ku Klux Klan has jarred Listserv subscribers — some of whom now want the list to be formally moderated, or moved altogether. Many have left the list. Other subscribers say this most recent post is only an overt example of the everyday racism that happens on the Listserv.

Others still oppose moderation of the list and insist on the online community’s ability to continue to informally moderate itself — disposing of hate speech when and where it happens.

The anonymous troll’s KKK-inspired post was sparked by online discussions about this month’s Conference on College Composition and Communication convention in Pittsburgh — specifically an address by Asao Inoue, professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences and director of University Writing and the Writing Center at the University of Washington at Tacoma.

Inoue in his speech talked about the “market of white language preferences in schools” and “freedom from white language supremacy.”

He argued that by using a “single standard to grade your students’ languaging, you engage in racism. You actively promote white language supremacy, which is the handmaiden to white bias in the world.” That kind of bias, he also argued, is the very kind that “kills black men on the streets by the hands of the police through profiling and good ol’ fashion [sic] prejudice.”

Considerate discussions, including praise and criticism of the talk, followed on the Listserv. But then someone identifying him or herself as the “Grand Scholar Wizard” — a clear reference to “Grand Wizard,” or KKK leader — weighed in.

Inoue said Wednesday that he’s asking teachers and others, when it comes to judging language, “not to give up a personal standard but to be compassionate to others — that is a harder thing to do.”

University of Southern California-Scandal

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The University of Southern California has announced new steps it is taking against students who are part of a scandal over bribery and fraud by wealthy parents to get their children into colleges and universities.

USC has issued a series of statements on its response to the federal charges filed against 50 people, including the parents of some current students. The latest update

A current student seeking to enroll elsewhere would be hit by this measure immediately, as he or she would be unable to obtain a transcript. The registration provision may not affect students until they try to sign up for courses for either the summer or the fall.

 

The Pitfalls Of Going To College!

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Well Read This

Shut Down Creating Headaches For Scientists

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The federal shutdown is creating headaches for scientists by hindering research planning and putting an abrupt halt to travel for some academics. However, the worst effects is expected to materialize in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers last year passed legislation funding the majority of federal agencies, including the Education Department and the National Institutes of Health. But they left town before resolving a dispute over a border wall demanded by President Trump and without funding several agencies that are big supporters of research at colleges across the country — among them the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For academics whose work is supported by the federal government, the shutdown means they can’t communicate with most employees at those affected agencies. Moreover, some federal data will be unavailable to researchers or the public. The shutdown also creates uncertainty over the next round of research funding awards, as proposals aren’t processed and peer-review committees aren’t meeting. As it persists, unanswered questions over funding will have a ripple effect on the status of professors, postdocs and graduate students. New funding uncertainty means many of the hard science programs whose work is funded by agencies like NSF may be less likely to offer positions to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

For academics who rely on federal funding, government shutdowns are becoming somewhat familiar. The shutdown that began in December is the third since the beginning of 2018. By Tuesday, it will enter its 18th day. The last multi week shutdown, in 2013, lasted 16 days. The longest ever federal shutdown lasted 21 days, spanning from 1995 to 1996.

White Librarianship In Blackface

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Read About It here

White Nationalism Message Spreading To Campuses

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It’s OK to Be White” messages has periodically appeared on campus posters over the past two years, typically placed unknown people or organizations who haven’t taken credit for doing so, and who are believed to be from off-campus groups.

Pro-white propaganda of various types has been appearing on campuses in increasing frequency in the last two years. Last week has seen a surge in such postings.

The “OK to be white” message turned up in Vermont, at the University of Vermont and Champlain College.

Since then the posters have appeared at American River College, Duke University, North Carolina State University, Tufts University, the University of Delaware, the University of Denver and the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota.

The trend is not only in the United States. One Canadian institution, the University of Manitoba, also had the posters turn up. In Australia, the use of the phrase by some politicians has set off a major political debate (and appearance of the posters), but in that case, the focus is not in higher education.

Also last week, white nationalist posters turned up at California State University at San Marcos.

The campuses seeing the posters do not seem to fit any pattern. They include public and private institutions, two-year and four-year, institutions where white people make up a minority of students and institutions where they are the overwhelming majority.

Colleges have generally removed the posters as soon as they are discovered. Colleges generally require those putting up posters to identify themselves and/or get permission to place them. That hasn’t happened in these cases. So while college leaders have condemned the message behind the posters, they have not faced free speech challenges because those putting up the posters have violated college rules.

The surge in these posters on campus has come at a challenging time for many institutions, as students respond to a divisive midterm election and recent killings of black people in Kentucky and Jewish people in Pittsburgh.

For the last two years, the Anti-Defamation League has been documenting an increase in white supremacist activity (including posters) on college campuses. There were 292 cases of white supremacist propaganda reported on campuses during the 2017-18 academic year, compared to 165 in 2016-17.

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