April 2016 Phyllis Schlafly Report

April 2016

Chinese Crowding Our College Campuses

High school seniors are eagerly watching their mail this month, hoping for the “fat envelope” indicating acceptance by the college of their choice. Unfortunately, more American students are receiving the “thin envelope” because college acceptance rates are continuing their decade-long decline.

The most selective public colleges, such as UCLA and Michigan, now take one out of six applicants, compared to one out of three a decade ago. Top private colleges, such as Stanford and Harvard, admit one out of 20 applicants, compared to one out of 10 a decade ago.

What explains the steady decline in college admission rates for America’s best high-school students? Is it really true that the percentage of high-school graduates who are prepared for college keeps getting smaller?

One reason for this trend is the huge increase of students from foreign countries, especially China, who are admitted to study on American campuses. The numbers of Chinese and other foreign students who go to college in the U.S. is truly mind-boggling.

The University of Illinois has 5,000 Chinese students on its Champaign-Urbana campus, compared with less than 100 a decade ago. Students from the People’s Republic of China made up a tenth of last year’s freshman class.

California has more U.S.-born Chinese students than any other state, but its public colleges nevertheless admit huge numbers of students from mainland China, including 1,200 at UC Berkeley (up from 47 a decade ago) and 2,200 at UC San Diego (up from 70). Of the nearly 1 million people living in the United States on F-1 student visas, about 360,000 are from China.

Why did U.S. universities decide to open their doors to foreign students? Follow the money. Foreign students usually pay full tuition rates, which could be two or three times more than American students pay.

Like any business seeking to exploit a new profit opportunity, the higher education “industry” has hired more Chinese-speaking staff in order to recruit more students and cater to them after they arrive on campus.  Some U.S. universities even hold pre-departure orientations in China.

The lure of higher tuition has tempted state colleges to lower their admission standards for foreign and other out-of-state students. The California State Auditor recently found that the average SAT scores and grades of out-of-state students were lower than those of in-state students, and that state universities had rejected 4,500 Californians whose test scores and grades were good enough for out-of-state and foreign students.

Chinese students do seem to have plenty of money to spend, and not just for tuition, room and board. Many drive expensive cars and wear fashionable clothing, which makes them stand out among typical American college students.

While an American kid might drive a beat-up Toyota handed down from an older member of the family, Chinese students seem to have no problem affording a new Audi, BMW, or Lexus. In the Boston area, which has 44,000 foreign students attending dozens of colleges, the 12,000 Chinese students are often seen driving Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and Range Rovers.

At Michigan State in East Lansing, where 4,400 Chinese students are enrolled, Chinese students accounted for 10 to 20 percent of a luxury car dealer’s entire sales.  Chinese students provided 8 percent of the sales of a luxury car dealership near the University of Oregon at Eugene, and 5 percent of sales by a luxury dealer near the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

In case you’re thinking that Chinese students must be some of “the best and the brightest” who provide the brain power needed by America’s engineering schools, nothing could be further from the truth. Most Chinese students have no better than average ability, and many do not speak, write, or understand English well enough to contribute significantly to the academic community.

A professor of Chinese history at New York University told the Wall Street Journal that students from China often pose a “burden” on her lectures, which she has to modify for their benefit. Many Chinese students “are woefully underprepared,” she said.

WholeRen Education, a U.S. company that caters to students from China, reported that some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year, mostly for poor academic performance or cheating.  “Chinese students used to be considered top-notch,” a WholeRen executive said, “but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”

The Reuters news service has just published an in-depth examination of Chinese cheating on college entrance exams such as the SAT, which is administered in China under license from the College Board. In many cases, actual test questions and even entire test booklets were found on Chinese web sites or used by Chinese cram schools.

Some Chinese families aren’t waiting to send their kids off to college in the U.S., but are starting much earlier. About 35,000 K-12 students from China, some as young as 10 years old, now live in the U.S., many paying non-resident tuition to attend U.S. public schools.

Students Don’t Get Their Money’s Worth

When I worked my way through college in the 1940s, tuition was $200 to $250 a year. My children’s tuition was $2,000 to $2,500 a year, and my grandchildren’s college education each cost $20,000 to $40,000 a year for tuition alone.

College is so expensive that only about half of today’s college graduates think their degree was worth the cost, according to a survey by Gallup-Purdue. The more debt the student incurs, the more likely he is to doubt that he received his money’s worth.

The total amount of student debt in the United States is a staggering $1.2 trillion, which exceeds even the annual discretionary spending of the entire United States government, including military spending. College debt burdens more than 40 million Americans, of whom more than 4 million are in default on their student loans.

Student loan debt is now more than 50% higher than total credit card debt held by American consumers. Many students are saddled with more than $50,000 in obligations upon graduation, without any good job prospects that would enable them to pay down that debt.

While college costs have skyrocketed, the value of the experience has declined. For example, free speech has become an endangered species at most colleges, and conservative commencement speakers are almost unheard of at public universities.

Liberal Hollywood actors and Democratic politicians are perennial picks as speakers on Commencement Day, and this spring’s ceremonies are no exception. A study last year found that liberal speakers outnumbered conservatives by a six-to-one margin for commencement addresses at the top 100 universities, and if the study had compared liberal to social conservative speakers the imbalance would have been even greater.

New terminology is needed to justify the rampant censorship that is imposed by liberals on college campuses today. A “safe space” is an area on campus where conservatives are not allowed to speak freely, and a “trigger warning” is an alert that something politically incorrect is about to follow.

The Obama Administration, through the federal Department of Education, is partly responsible for the vanishing amount of free speech on campus. Under the George W. Bush Administration, a federal standard had protected free speech by proclaiming that “the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive” could not alone constitute harassment.

But in 2013 Obama changed that standard to expand the concept of sexual harassment to include words that are merely “unwelcome.” Liberal colleges then widened this further to include as prohibited “unwelcome” speech anything that might offend with respect to any of these vast categories: gender, race, veteran status, and religion.

The test of what constitutes harassment is no longer objective, but is subjective based on how the listener views the words spoken. If a professor or even another student says something that is unwelcome, then it could constitute harassment under the Obama rule.

The result has been a paralysis in discussion and debate at many colleges. Far from being a dynamic environment encouraging independent thinking, colleges have become mental straight-jackets that suffocate the minds of the students.

Choice of a major can make a big difference as to whether the college experience is a waste of time, or something that might lead to a good job. Anthropology, Film, and Fine Arts are rated by Forbes magazine as three of the worst college majors, and to those I would add Women’s and Gender Studies, which not only fail to teach an employable skill but also mislead students into disastrous ideologies.

Good majors can be pursued in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), but even there the future is not as rosy as it should be. Employers tap into foreign labor in those fields, exploiting the H-1B visa and other programs to hire workers who are bound to employers like indentured servants, and more profitable than American college graduates.

In medicine, large health systems such as the Mayo Clinic are bringing in foreigners to practice medicine in the United States. Minnesota reportedly has more than 400 immigrant physicians who are not licensed to practice medicine yet, but plan to be.

There’s a shortage of good residency programs for Americans who graduate from medical school, who are then unable to obtain the training necessary to start their careers. Yet employers are bringing in foreigners to fill some of those residency positions, which is bad policy for American physicians and patients alike.

The big majority of students in college today are women rather than men, in contrast with a generation ago. But many of those women will want to choose careers of homemaking rather than 9-to-5 jobs in the workforce, raising the question of whether it was worth it for them to incur debt of $50,000 or more in going to college, debt that they cannot get rid of even by declaring bankruptcy.

Microaggressions Threaten Free Speech

The University of California, one of our biggest university systems, has decided that the First Amendment right to free speech should be thrown out because of supposed unintended insults known as “microaggressions.” “Microagression” is the liberal idea that certain phrases and questions should not be used because the speaker may be offending someone without even knowing it.

In a series of memos to university faculty, professors were told not ask students where they are from, because that might offend somebody. They also said that professors should not ask minority students who are struggling to find the right classroom if they are lost, because that might imply that the professor does not think the student belongs at college. The memos even said that professors should not say that “America is the land of opportunity” because that statement assumes that “race and gender do not play a role in life successes.”

When the administration tried to make a similar speech code for students, the outcry from the student body was tremendous. At the meeting where the university regents voted on the code, many students spoke out against this infringement on their constitutional rights. Because of the tremendous resistance from students, the measure was voted down.

It is important to be aware of buzz words like “microaggression” that liberals use to control what can and cannot be said on college campuses. Similar measures are being brought to colleges all across America, and it is important to fight these measures so that professors are free to teach history as it happened, not as the liberals wish it had happened. America truly is the “land of opportunity,” and the next generation of Americans should be taught that truth.

It’s no longer just conservatism that’s a problem on college campuses: now we’ve got students objecting to things that just remind them of conservative ideas. The Student Government Association at Johns Hopkins University passed a resolution stating that Chick-fil-A is not welcome on the campus, because the restaurant’s presence would cause “microaggressions” against the campus gay community.

The students said that they vehemently oppose the CEO of Chick-fil-A speaking out against gay marriage, and they were concerned that gay students might have to walk past a campus Chick-fil-A. By the way, there have never been any plans whatsoever to build a Chick-fil-A on the Johns Hopkins campus. Yes, you heard that right. These kids were so terrified of Chick-fil-A that they came up with this entire scenario on their own.

Microaggression is all about feelings, and if gay students walk past a Chick-fil-A and remember that the CEO opposes gay marriage, that might hurt a student’s feelings. This raises the obvious question of whether it’s still okay to have students on campus who oppose gay marriage. At a student government meeting, a Catholic student asked whether conservative students are still welcome at Johns Hopkins. Student leaders said, of course they are, but I wonder how long that can last in this threatening environment.

Another sign that American young people are not as resilient as they should be is the introduction of the concept of “trigger warnings” in classrooms. Trigger warnings are devices used to warn students when something that a teacher will say might be physically or emotionally distressing. It’s time for American colleges to stop coddling students and give them an education that includes all-important topics, including those that are not politically correct. Students need to be allowed to fail so they can learn the lessons that come with failure.

Taking Time Off for Political Correctness

It’s no surprise that colleges are hotbeds of political correctness, but some of its absurd forms still amaze us. The latest example was reported by the blog Campus Reform, and took place at the University of New Mexico. There, the student government voted to create a holiday called “Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance and Resilience Day.” They even rejected an amendment that would have called the holiday simply “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” As one student senator told Campus Reform, many felt “the wrongs against indigenous peoples were so egregious” that they should be recognized in the holiday’s name.

Whatever they call it, the holiday accomplishes nothing good. It gives students time off in order to focus on the sins of American history, instead of on our great accomplishments. Without European settlement, there likely would be no University of New Mexico. They scorn Western civilization while they enjoy its many benefits. And the choice to celebrate resistance undermines any talk about tolerance.

One can admit that the treatment of natives in our history was tragic without making it the biggest part of U.S. history. Stunts like “Indigenous Peoples’ Resistance and Resilience Day” only encourage a narrative of America as oppressive. Students should learn that America is a beacon of freedom to the world.

A group calling themselves the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona sent an open letter to the college. The letter was nothing more than a wish list of liberal reforms. Some of the demands called for things like free contraceptives, free computer access, free healthy food for poor people, and more free childcare. They also want to shut down any students and professors who might disagree with their agenda with harsh punishments for students and professors who say anything offensive. The letter also calls for professors to have alternative lesson plans for students who may find lessons to be too emotionally traumatizing. The authors of the letter threaten that students will “mobilize” if these demands are not met.

America’s largest public university system has decided to jump on the political correctness bandwagon. The State University of New York has unveiled a plan to use taxpayer money to hire a “chief diversity officer” at all 64 university campuses. These diversity officers will impose mandatory “cultural competency training” on all staff members and track how many minority students are on each campus. If a diversity officer decides that a campus is not “diverse enough,” the university’s solution will be to hire more diversity bureaucrats.

Universities and colleges all over America have set up vast networks of diversity bureaucrats to enforce political-correctness standards on their campuses. These bureaucracies tell teachers what they can and cannot say, what history they can and cannot teach, and what opinions they are and are not allowed to have. All these rules and regulations restricting free speech are just to make sure that no one accidentally hurts a student’s feelings by saying something that might not be politically correct.

‘Safe Spaces’ Are Un-American

Liberal students on U.S. college campuses insist that their schools should have so-called “safe spaces.” That means places where the free speech rights of students are ignored because other students might get their feelings hurt by what somebody says. In reality, safe spaces do not allow for any opinions that are not in line with liberal ideas of political correctness. Sometimes even the Constitution itself is considered not appropriate for safe spaces.

The student government organization of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities decided that a moment of silence in remembrance of 9/11 would “make a space that is unsafe for students.” David Algadi, the university’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion, said that remembering 9/11 might spark incidents of racism and Islamophobia. He said that a moment of remembrance should only be allowed in a safe space if “we start having moments of silence for all of the times white folks have done something terrible.” The true purpose of safe spaces is to promote a liberal agenda and to prohibit anything pro-American.

This idea of safe spaces is a tool of the liberals, and thankfully it can be overcome. Seattle Pacific University tried to remove the Pledge of Allegiance and a Presentation of the Colors from voluntary special chapel services honoring Veterans Day because it would make some students “uncomfortable.” However, after widespread resistance by individuals and student groups, the university agreed to reinstate the pledge and apologize for its bad decision. Conservatives should resist any attempt to restrict free speech on college campuses for the sake of the feelings of a few overly sensitive students. College should be a place where students can freely present and exchange differing opinions.

The University of California is giving a new multiple-choice question to incoming students, and it is not on any of their exams. Admission forms for students will now offer six different options for their gender. Options include the traditional “male” and “female,” as well as “trans males,” “trans females,” “gender non-conforming,” and “different identity.” This change comes as a result of a LGBT council that was formed by University of California President Janet Napolitano. Napolitano, who previously served as President Obama’s Homeland Security secretary, said that the change was made in an effort to “model inclusiveness and understanding.”

Similar shifts in policy can be seen at colleges all over the country. This false dialogue of “inclusiveness” actually just means special treatment for people who are confused about their gender. Johan Mosquera, a staff member at University of California’s LGBT Resource Center, claimed that putting more gender choices on admission forms would help the school to stop supposed harassment and hate crimes. Of course, this really means shutting down any free speech made in opposition to the LGBT agenda. Their “inclusiveness” is actually exclusive against anyone who does not agree with them.


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