Originally published on March 1st on at Student Activism (http://studentactivism.net/2013/03/01/friday-roundup/). This occasional roundup of student movement stories is put together by Isabelle Nastasia, a CUNY undergrad, New York Students Rising organizer.
Rest in Power, Trayvon Martin:
The Acts of Courage and Kindness that Came After Trayvon Martin’s Death – Colorlines
Marching to Sanford (a short documentary featuring the Dream Defenders, a coalition of black and brown youth fighting for immigration reform and an end to the school to prison pipeline and the prison industrial complex.) Continue reading
Yesterday I was blindsided by an email. It was from the Provost of our university (where I am both a graduate student and a teaching assistant). The email began with this ominous line: “the rampant emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) are creating the perception of a game-changing, disruptive educational approach that has the potential to transform both access to education as well as the methods we use to teach our own students and the world.” It went on to say other things, but let’s stick with this troubling sentence for a moment.
First of all, the Provost has done an excellent job scaring students and faculty. MOOCs are “rampantly” “emerging,” he says. This makes it sound like MOOCs possess an agency all their own, as if they are rising up out of the shadows to take control of our universities. In other words, the sentence does not identity the true agents behind the “rampant emergence” of MOOCs: on the one hand, wealthy, private, and prestigious universities like Stanford and MIT; and, on the other hand, for-profit corporations like Coursera, and get this, even a for-profit company founded by a Stanford University professor, Udacity. The university-industrial complex in all its glory.
The point is: it’s not just that MOOCs appeared out of nowhere. They are the product of certain people with certain ideas (and entrepreneurial ambitions), and we must take a critical look at their motivations. Continue reading
Here in New York, we are in the midst of a heated debate over “academic freedom.” The Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine, a student club, has organized an event for Thursday, Feb. 7, to discuss the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a non-violent movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
In recent weeks, numerous ideologues and politicians in and outside of our city have come out in opposition to this event. Specifically, what many oppose is the “sponsorship” of the event by the college’s Political Science department. Others contend that even just by providing space for this event without providing equal space to those with opposing viewpoints—a spurious charge easily refuted by college officials and faculty who have rolled off their tongues the names of pro-Israel speakers invited to speak at the college—that the college administration itself, even the college president, are guilty of “endorsing” the views of the BDS movement.
The Free University of NYC has not formally weighed in on this debate. What I’d like to point out here, then, is the diversity of views that many of us hold regarding one central actor in this debate: the state. Continue reading