Chad’s Morning Brief: Texas Students Being Tracked, Supreme Court Takes Up Race in College Admissions, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of October 10, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.
1. Affirmative Action, Supreme Court, & UT (link)
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas case. The case deals with the use of race in college admissions. A white student, Abigail Fisher, is claiming that she was denied admission into UT because she is white.
There have been many articles about this case, but NPR wanted to point out that while affirmative action promotes diversity, it doesn’t always mean that different groups hang out with each other.
Today, University of Texas students say their diverse campus of 52,000 students does provide opportunities for students of different backgrounds to interact. But, some note, despite the racial and ethnic mix, divides and stereotypes still exist.
Ashley Reed, a freshman studying Radio, Television and Film, is hanging out at the campus’ Malcolm X Lounge after a meeting of the Texas Gospel Fellowship, a predominantly African-American group. Despite the diversity on campus, she says students of different ethnic and racial groups tend to keep to themselves.
“Mostly, the black people hang out with other black people, Asians hang out with other Asian people,” Reed says. While she loves her program at the university, she says that lack of mixing is a shortcoming. “I never was one of those people who was like, ‘I’m definitely just going to hang out with black people, I don’t fit in with other people,’ ” she says.
Jason Watt, an officer with the Asian American Culture Club, also notices the self-segregation. “White frat guys are with white frat guys,” he says.
Watt says his club’s events are open to all students, but members have been disappointed that turnout among non-Asians isn’t higher, like at a recent event featuring Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno. But the group hasn’t given up, Watt says; it’s now dreaming of getting NBA star Jeremy Lin to visit from Houston.
The article makes it sound as though this is odd, but lets be honest, it really isn’t. People will gather together with whoever they want. It’s actually an individual’s decision whether or not to interact with someone “different” than themselves.
In any case, it’s not the job of a University to make everyone interact with everyone. The fact is, using race as a factor in college admissions is racist. Race should be a non-factor. If you meet all the requirements, you should be able to get in. Just because you are white shouldn’t mean you are at a disadvantage.
2. Tracking Students (link)
According to this report, students in San Antonio are being punished for refusing to be tracked with microchips.
A school district in Texas came under fire earlier this year when it announced that it would require students to wear microchip-embedded ID cards at all times. Now, students who refuse to be monitored say they are feeling the repercussions.
Since October 1, students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School in San Antonio, Texas have been asked to attend class with photo ID cards equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID)chips to track of every pupil’s location. Educators insist that the endeavor is being rolled out in Texas to stem rampant truancy rates devastating school’s funding. If the program is judged successful, the RFID chips could soon come to 112 schools in all and affect nearly 100,000 students.
Students who refuse to walk the schoolhouse halls with the card in their pocket or around their neck claim they are being tormented by instructors, and are barred from participating in certain school functions. Some also said they were turned away from common areas like cafeterias and libraries.
Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay, said educators have ignored her pleas to respect her privacy and told her she cannot participate in school elections if she refuses to comply with the tracking program.
3. VP Debate Thursday (link)
What are you expecting to hear and see tomorrow in the VP debate? The Romney campaign is trying to lower expectations and they are wise to do so.
When Joe Biden meets Paul Ryan in Kentucky this week, it will be the 19th time in his political career on stage at either a presidential or vice presidential debate.
That’s a fact the Romney campaign is stressing ahead of Thursday’s showdown at Centre College because it will be the first time Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman, has debated at that level.
“This is Congressman Ryan’s first time on this big stage, so we’re taking preparation seriously,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said Tuesday in a statement to The Daily Caller.
While it’s very typical for campaigns to talk up the great debating skills of their opponents ahead of debates, Ryan has been practicing for weeks and reads every day in preparation for the one vice presidential debate of the cycle.
“Joe Biden is as experienced a debater as anyone in national politics, and he has a deep resume in domestic policy and foreign affairs,” Buck said.
While I do think Ryan will have a fine debate, I do think that Biden will have a decent showing. Will there be a gaffe or two from Biden? I would think so, but Republicans shouldn’t be counting on it. Biden has done this before as the article points out. I will be watching tomorrow’s debate and I hope it’s good. I expect it to be a good night for Republicans. I also predict that Biden will have a better debate than Obama had last week.
4. Film? What Film? (link)
The State Department is now denying that they ever blamed the film for what happened in Libya.
The State Department denied Tuesday it ever concluded that the deadly consulate attack Sept. 11 in Libya was an unplanned outburst prompted by an anti-Islam movie, despite public statements early on by some in the Obama administration suggesting that was the case.
The Obama administration used that explanation for more than a week after assailants killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Most notably, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said in several TV interviews five days after the attack that it appeared to be “spontaneous” violence spinning out of protests of the film.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland backed up Rice’s statements in a press briefing a day later: “I would simply say that … the comments that Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our government’s initial assessment.”
And White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, as late as a week after the attack, said that based on initial information, “we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.”
Carney then went on to suggest again the violence was related to the film: “Based on the information that we have now, it was — there was a reaction to the video — there was protests in Cairo, then followed by protests elsewhere, including Benghazi, and that was what led to the original unrest.”
The new comments from the State Department further highlight the disconnect in the attack’s aftermath between what administration officials were saying publicly and what intelligence officials suspected early on — that the attack was an act of terrorism, more coordinated than a protest that got out of hand.
Is anyone really buying this?
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