You are currently browsing the archives for the Academia category.


Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is nuttier than any other Democrat running for president with the exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Recently, Sen. Warren proposed a “$1.25 trillion education proposal.”

The article starts by saying “On Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released an ambitious $1.25 trillion education proposal that would address rising college costs and the student debt crisis. ‘Higher education opened a million doors for me,’ the senator wrote in a Medium post introducing the plan. “It’s how the daughter of a janitor in a small town in Oklahoma got to become a teacher, a law school professor, a U.S. Senator, and eventually, a candidate for President of the United States. Today, it’s virtually impossible for a young person to find that kind of opportunity.”

Universities used to be required for people to ‘get ahead’. That isn’t as true anymore. I won’t say that universities don’t serve a purpose but they don’t serve as much of a purpose as they did 25 years ago. Trade schools, apprenticeships and other types of training might be more helpful than a 4-year degree. Also, these alternatives often lead to solid middle class jobs without the student getting hit with a pile of debt.

Finally, many of the degrees that universities hand out like candy won’t produce a job that’ll pay off the student’s loans. Students are starting to figure things out. Unfortunately, politicians haven’t. Then again, I’m not surprised even slightly.

What a dipshit! She wants to punish people who’ve been productive while letting the freeloaders, aka endowments and administrators, get off without punishment. Talk about sending the wrong signal.

Is It Important For Chancellor Devinder Malhotra To Have Followers On Twitter?
by Silence Dogood

Last December, SCSU President Robbyn R. Wacker posted her support to “unleashfollowers” to encourage faculty and staff to follow Chancellor Devinder Malhotra on Twitter. This was posted to SCSU Announce by Jeffrey C. Wood in University Communications:

I don’t care about following anyone on Twitter especially when the you consider the best ‘worst example’ of Twitter use comes from the current U.S. President. However, the idea that the Chancellor will “love us if we help push him over the 1,000 mark” is just plain silly. Hopefully, the Chancellor is not that much of a ‘diva.’ But, today who knows?

The idea that counting the numbers of Twitter followers as some measure of importance is probably one of dumbest things I have ever heard. If it were true, then one of Chancellor Malhotra’s faculty members in the Minnesota State University System at Mankato with 17,400 followers must be truly brilliant and deserving of a pay raise! And it didn’t take a plug from a university president or PR staffer for Dr. Sprankle to get his followers.

SCSU is facing serious problems from declining enrollment. It’s truly sad that a university president and PR subordinate think it’s worth their time to pitch increasing the number of the Chancellor’s Twitter followers. Unless, of course, the object is to distract people from important issues.

P.S. It worked! Chancellor Devinder Malhotra has blasted past 1,000 Twitter followers!

At this rate it will only take 136 years to catch Professor Sprankle.

Disturbing Enrollment Trends in the Minnesota State University System
by Silence Dogood

A post last fall to the SCSU Discussion list gave the enrollments for the seven Minnesota State Universities and the projected enrollments for FY2019, FY2020, and FY2021. NOTE: The current 2018-2019 academic year is FY2019.

Except for Metropolitan State University, enrollment for all the universities is clearly trending downward. However, the data shows some universities are declining a lot faster than others.

The data contained in the table above can be overwhelming to process making it somewhat difficult to see the whole enrollment picture. If we take the actual enrollment for FY2010 as the starting point and compare it to the projected FY2019 enrollment (for which summer is in the books; at the time the projection was made in October, fall semester was essentially complete and registration for spring was almost finished), the data is graphically presented in the following figure.

Additionally, SCSU’s enrollment drop is larger than the total enrollment of either Bemidji State University or Southwest State University. If the current trend continues for another 667 FYE, the enrollment drop at SCSU will exceed the total enrollment at Minnesota State University Moorhead as well. Since SCSU likes to compare itself with MSU—Mankato, it is also interesting to note that SCSU’s enrollment drop is more than seven times larger than Mankato’s.

In FY2010, SCSU’s FYE enrollment was 758 larger than MSU-Mankato. In FY2019, MSU-Mankato’s FYE enrollment is 2,525 larger than SCSU’s! The differential is 3,283 FYE, which is nearly equal to the total enrollment of Southwest Minnesota State University!

Since the universities in the Minnesota State University System are not the same size, using percent measures may give a relative comparison but not accurately illustrate the magnitude of the problem of declining enrollment. The following Table shows the numeric decline in enrollment at each university and how much of the university system’s enrollment decline is due to each university as a percentage of the total decline. NOTE: Metropolitan State University is omitted from the Table because its’ enrollment increased.

The sum of the third column in the Table shows that from FY2010 to the anticipated FY2019 enrollments, the Minnesota State University System’s universities enrollment declined by 8,631 FYE, which corresponds to a decline of 16.45%. From the data in the Table, nearly, 52% of the Minnesota State University system’s enrollment decline is due to St. Cloud State University! That needs to be said again. More than half of the enrollment decline in the Minnesota State University system’s universities is due to one university alone—SCSU! Perhaps, SCSU should not try to be so ‘AMAZING.’

Sometimes a picture is helpful to see the ‘Big Picture.’ When depicted as a pie chart, the enrollment decline in the Minnesota State System Universities attributed to each university is quite spectacular.

Metropolitan State has shown an enrollment growth over this period of 10.37%. Bemidji (-5.02%), Minnesota State University, Mankato (-5.62%), and Southwest Minnesota State University (-8.27%)–all show declines less than 10% over this same time. Winona State University is next with a decline of 17.36%, followed by Minnesota State University, Moorhead with a 23.69% decline. However, St. Cloud State University stands out from the pack with a whopping decline of 29.62%!

In a nine-year period, St. Cloud State University has lost nearly 30% of its FYE enrollment!

The big red section in the Figure is the percentage of the enrollment decline in Minnesota State System Universities due to St. Cloud State University.

Some see this as a problem. Others just call it ‘Fake News.’ The administration of the Minnesota State System and SCSU’s administration has explained SCSU’s enrollment decline over the past few years by first saying it wasn’t real. Then, saying that it was due to “Right Sizing.” This was then followed by blaming “Demographics.” This are just the ‘big three’, the actual list of excuses, however, is much longer.

The first step in solving a problem is to admit that you have a problem. Otherwise, you are just reacting and blaming external forces for what is happening—both of which have happened a lot at SCSU over the past nine years. Secondly, unless you understand how you got into the situation in the first place, it is very difficult to develop a plan to successfully solve the problem. Rebranding (Unleashing Amazing), “Right Sizing” or reorganizing will not likely solve St. Cloud State’s problems. Essentially, one might just see these efforts as putting ‘lipstick on a pig,’ with apologies to pigs.

Several of the plans by the administration have sounded a lot like the overly optimistic plans of the former Soviet Union. Plans are great. However, unless you assess how your plans have achieved their goals, all you are doing is ‘spin.’ Consider, President Potter repeatedly calling the loss of more than 10 million dollars on the Coborn’s Plaza Apartments a ‘SUCCESS.’

What is needed to solve SCSU’s enrollment decline is a detailed plan with built in assessment AND buy in from the faculty and staff. Simply cutting staff positions, increasing class sizes and teaching loads will not likely accomplish what will be necessary to turn the university around.

It seems that the comics often provide a relevant way to see the logic behind certain actions. The Wizard of ID Comic recently had the following exchange:

Unfortunately, it seems like the administration is continuing denying the reality of the enrollment decline, which for FY2019 may be higher than 7% as well as the significant financial strain that such an enrollment decline places on the financial resources of the university. But more importantly, it seems that the administration is working their ‘alternative math’ to show that the enrollment decline is a good thing. Maybe all the people who have lost their jobs at the university since the reorganization in 2011 might disagree about how good it is. Additionally, the landlords and businesses that were supported by the students that make up those 4,471 FYE that are no longer enrolled might also not see it as a good thing.

At least no one seems to be complaining about not being able to find a parking space! Maybe this enrollment decline is a good thing after all!

I first started writing about the upcoming pilot shortage in this post in 2011. Of course, Earl Potter and Steve Rosenstone ‘knew’ better. Potter shut the program and Rosenstone kept it shut. What a pair of idiots.

This article highlights how disastrous their decisions were when it says “Boeing, for example, is estimating that over the next 20 years, North America will need about 117,000 more pilots. With this growing need, colleges and universities are starting to ramp up their aviation programs. Most recently, Rochester Community and Technical College announced they are looking at starting an Aviation Pilot Education Program. If the program is approved, the college says it will be designed for students to get an associate’s degree in aviation and then transfer to Minnesota State University, Mankato to finish their bachelor’s degree.”

Minnesota doesn’t need another aviation program. It needs at least 2 more aviation programs at the universities. In addition to training pilots, there’s room for training drone operators and aerial fire rescue programs. Let’s not forget that we’ll need air traffic controllers, too.

Wright Aero is the only flight school in Central Minnesota and a former partner to the SCSU aviation program. Bill Mavencamp is the owner of Wright Aero. He says they currently have four flight instructors, about 10 less than they had at their peak in 2009.

“You can see what we’ve gone down to, it’s going to be difficult to build back up with the lack of new pilots in the industry. Especially new local pilots, it’s difficult to talk to a new flight instructor, who lives in Florida, to move to Minnesota.”

Dave Kleis has campaigned for a regional airline here in St. Cloud. What airline is stupid enough to move here when there’s such a half-hearted effort to maintain their workforce? We can now see that answer — none.

Christmas banned
Rambin’ Rose

PC = Plain Crazy
Over several decades, leftists have worked unceasingly to remove Christ from Christmas. What is –mas? There is no Christmas without Christ. (-mas comes from “mass” and that is also unacceptable to non-Christians.) Even atheists and members of non-Christian beliefs have happily celebrated the season for whatever personal pleasure that affirms their creed.

The majority of public schools (preschool through postsecondary) have banned “Christmas” from their annual concerts and programs for the last four or five decades. That has meant the name, the content, and the message. The majority of the parents and teachers may not have agreed but did nothing to oppose those authoritarian decisions.

This year the attacks have multiplied and reached a new level of insanity. Now even the symbolic colors of Christmas are vilified. White is racist, and red and green are “Christmas colors.” Principal Jennifer Sinclair of Manchester Elementary School in the Elkhorn Public Schools District near Omaha, Nebraska, imposed her personal hatred for everything Christmas by banning anything red or green, the carols, trees, reindeer, Santa, candy canes, Elf on the Shelf, all books with the Christmas theme…some of the items she prohibited by administrative mandate. Those items that were not banned by this grinch were hot chocolate, polar bears, penguins, yetis (bigfoots), Olaf, gifts, snowmen and gingerbread people.

Sinclair declared that candy canes were “Historically, the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ and the white is a symbol of his resurrection.”
With the intervention from Liberty Counsel, the First Amendment was again clarified as not a requirement to eliminate Christmas symbols in an injudicious attempt to eliminate the traditional aspects of a federally- and state-recognized holiday. The act was labeled Orwellian—as it should have been. Liberty Counsel explained that it is completely legal to have a mix of sacred and secular in school programs and decorations. It further interpreted the rights of parents who object to the inclusion of the Christmas traditions to allow their children to opt out of the Christmas activities without denying the opportunity for others to participate in the Christmas traditions.

Liberty Counsel reported that the Elkhorn Public Schools reversed the principal’s unconstitutional directive following an investigation. The First Amendment prohibits censorship, not the elimination of religious practices.

Christmas favorites are under attack. Even Rudolph was claimed to demonstrate bullying, social misfits, shallow relationships, parental abuse, mental health issues, etc. Critics state that children who have bad childhoods will feel even more negative about themselves. On the other hand, commentators who admit to troublesome childhoods declared that this Christmas classic provided a Christmas escape.

Just a moment, was not the point of the Rudolph movie to celebrate diversity (a hallmark of the left)? Rudolph is different and marginalized until he gains his confidence and becomes “the leader of the pack.” He is a role model for those who are different (aren’t we all?). Should that not be celebrated instead of attacked? Even by the left? Oh, yes, he has another defect—he works for a white, Christian male. Yes, Santa is SAINT Nick.

A recent monthly columnist in the Times attacked the Hallmark Christmas classics as unrealistic. That may be true, but who does not enjoy a novel or a movie for a fancy-filled escape and does not assume that the plot is based on reality that should be attainable by all? The writer did not attack Star Wars. How many times has that movie had a sequel and great success at the box office? Who has seen Darth Vader at Crossroads or Tech HS lately?

The left seems out to destroy the entire cultural base of this country while embracing cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and sharia law of more recent arrivals that contradict our Constitution and identity.

Being a Minnesotan, I think I am familiar with snow—it’s white as it falls from the sky and a blanket of pure brilliance as it covers the ground. It turns yellow and brown after animals and vehicles contaminate it. NO, not according to the left—it’s racist. Let’s examine a list (found on FB without a listed source) of the rejected and forbidden carols of the season.

So far in this year’s War on Christmas, I have not heard/read that Frosty the Snowman will be banned for any reason than his gender. But I fear that someone soon will complain that he wears only a hat and smokes a pipe. But yet gender does not seem to be an issue in sports, public restrooms or even our schools.

The media have reported on community nativity scenes with two Josephs and another in Massachusetts with the Baby Jesus in a cage to protest the conflict on our Southern border (immigration). There is also a fence between the Magi and the Holy Family (deportation).

In both the Illinois Rotunda and the Cesar Chavez Park in San Jose, California, there are satanic displays in an attempt to legitimize the satanic-themed invasion of a Holy Christian celebration. They hope to minimize or even deny Christ’s birth and victory over Satan.

Christ is and will be eternally triumphant. But the war and its ugly battles will continue until the Return of Christ. Until then, the world will endure attacks from the left.
PC = Progressive Chaos

Just when you thought people couldn’t get more illiterate about the Constitution, this gets reported. The article reports that “Assistant Dean LiDell Evans informed Joseph Cortese, a fourth-year student, that he was required to attend a meeting on Friday concerning an investigation about a photo he posted on Instagram of himself dressed as a Border Patrol agent for Halloween.”

According to the article, Evans told Cortese “This letter serves to put you on notice that pursuant to section 9.2 of the Student Conduct Code and Discipline Procedure for the Main Campus of West Virginia University, you are the subject of an investigation regarding alleged prohibited conduct.” Here’s hoping FIRE gets involved in this case. Let’s hope that a lawsuit gets filed against WVU seeking damages for violating Mr. Cortese’s First Amendment rights. If that lawsuit were to get filed, WVU would be well-advised to quickly settle before it gets to trial because they’ll lose. Here’s the picture that WVU is complaining about:

The email also informed Cortese that if he did not contact the office or attend the meeting, his student account would have a “hold” placed on it. “I received this email Wednesday and have had awful anxiety since,” Cortese told The Daily Wire in an interview. “While I was trying to study for finals, this was looming on the back of my mind. I know I didn’t do as well on my finals as I should have due to this,” Cortese added.

I admit that I hadn’t read the whole article when I started writing this post. As I read the article, I read this:

Cortese, who is also the Communications Director for Students for Trump, said that during the meeting, Assistant Dean Evans told him the costume could be “misinterpreted the wrong way” but acknowledged that it was Cortese’s “constitutional right” to wear the costume.

In other words, WVU sought to harass a student whose political views it likely disagreed with. That’s breathtaking. Then there’s this:

Pro-civil liberties non-profit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) told The Daily Wire in a statement that they are “aware of this case and looking into it. Public universities enter treacherous terrain when they investigate expression protected by the First Amendment,” said FIRE.


“The West Virginia University Office of Student Conduct received a complaint claiming the student was posting ‘vulgar hateful Instagrams’ but did not single out what was ‘vulgar’ or ‘hateful’ about them,” WVU said in a statement to The Daily Wire. “The Office followed standard procedure, including the timing, to follow up on the complaint and talk with the student. The Office tries to wrap up any matters before students leave campus at the end of each semester. No charges or disciplinary action was taken and the matter is now closed.”

Did this investigation get wrapped up because Mr. Cortese contacted FIRE and other civil liberties organizations? Would Mr. Cortese have been investigated if he was the Communications Director for ‘Students for Elizabeth Warren’ or ‘Students for Kamala Harris’? I’m betting he wouldn’t have been.

Last week, I received an email from Sarah Anderson talking about the state budget surplus. Rep. Anderson wrote “Dear Neighbors, today the state budget forecast was released showing a whopping $1.54 billion surplus.” We have another $2.45 billion in the State’s rainy day fund. Despite all this money sitting in Minnesota’s coffers, it’s stunning that the DFL is pushing tax increases.

It’s time to ditch Minnesota’s ‘business model’ and establish new priorities. The achievement gap isn’t closing, at least not compared to what they should be for all the money that’s gotten spent.

Minnesota’s economy isn’t terrible but it isn’t exactly hitting on all cylinders, either. The DFL spent most of the last decade building Minnesota’s government instead of building Minnesota’s economy. In 2013, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature passed the biggest tax hikes in Minnesota history. Since then, the middle class of all age groups have left Minnesota. The only income group that’s increasing their percent in the state are the lowest incomes.

It makes sense. From an education standpoint, Minnesota is mediocre. From a taxes and regulations perspective, Minnesota isn’t competitive. It isn’t close. If the DFL doesn’t admit that their blueprint isn’t working, we’ll quickly turn into a cold California. Why does the DFL think that raising taxes will strengthen the economy?

In 2007, the DFL insisted that spending should be indexed to inflation. Now Melissa Hortman insists that, because spending isn’t tied to inflation, the $1.54 billion surplus is really only $382,000,000. According to Hortman, that’s justification for additional tax hikes.

The moral to this story is that the DFL doesn’t understand a thing about economic competitiveness. They want their tax hikes regardless of whether it hurts or not. This move hurts badly. Throughout the state, people from all income groups (except the poor and the working poor) are leaving for lower-tax states. That’s what’s driving the worker shortage.

Let’s hope Hortman and Walz don’t kill Minnesota’s economic competitiveness entirely. BTW, this is how socialism kills economies. When people lose the ability to make profits, they either leave the state or they stop making what they’d been making.

At a time when there’s major distrust of institutions of government, you’d think that government closest to the people would hold themselves to a higher level of listening to their constituents. That certainly isn’t what’s happening at the ISD742 monthly meetings.

A loyal reader of LFR sent me an email highlighting the fact that the school board welcomes people to their meetings but doesn’t want the public’s input. Contained in the email is a sentence that says “This is a public meeting and any residents are welcome to attend and listen, but there is not a public input session scheduled at this meeting.”

BTW, here’s the email:

I’m not a constitutional law professor but I can’t see how this isn’t a violation of the First Amendment. This judge’s ruling seems to strengthen that belief:

A section of a Virginia school board’s bylaws violates the First Amendment and results in stifled speech, according to a ruling by a federal district judge on April 27. U.S. District Court Judge Henry C. Morgan Jr. held that the Virginia Beach School Board’s rule banning personal “attacks or accusations” during public comment periods at board meetings was a form of prior restraint.

The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed last July by David and Nicole Bach, who are parents in the school district. The Bachs claimed that school district officials enacted the provision in retaliation for the Bachs’ criticism of the district’s gifted education program. After the school board imposed the restriction, the Bachs argued that the bylaw stifled their free speech rights. The judge ordered the school board to strike the contested provision from the bylaw, but also allowed the other rules for the public comment portion of meetings to remain.

This is directly on point. Most importantly, it’s an attempt to stifle speech that the school board doesn’t want to hear.

That’s tough. If these politicians don’t want to hear from their constituents, they should resign. If they can’t stand the heat, they shouldn’t be in the kitchen.

The next time that the St. Cloud School Board meets, citizens should insist on giving input. If the board doesn’t permit it, the citizens should notify the school board that they’re filing a lawsuit in federal court claiming that their practices violate their First Amendment rights.

Citizens shouldn’t be stifled by the ruling class. It’s clear that they don’t see themselves as public servants. How sad is that?

Saying that Dr. Eric Sprankle is a totally sick puppy is understatement. Dr. Sprankle is an associate professor at Minnesota State, Mankato. He’s also the subject of this article, which highlights Dr. Sprankle’s tweet that God didn’t get Mary’s consent when He impregnated her. Here’s Dr. Sprankle’s tweet:

A brief scan of Dr. Sprankle’s Twitter feed shows that he’s quite interested in Satanism. In my estimation, that makes his accusations about God more than a little questionable. Consider this passage in the Gospel of Luke:

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; [e]blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Nowhere in this passage does Mary object. Mary asked a simple question. The angel Gabriel answered Mary’s question. Once the angel answered Mary’s question, Mary replied “Let it be to me according to your word.”

Further, though it’s difficult to explain, Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin. I fully admit that I can’t explain it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t the truth. It simply means I can’t biologically explain how Mary got pregnant. It’s something I accept as an article of faith.

If Dr. Sprankle wants to say it’s crazy for me to accept things I can’t see as an article of faith, I have this simple reply: I’ve never seen Dr. Sprankle’s brain. Does that mean that trusting he has a brain mean I’m crazy? I rest my case.

Gonzaga University’s ‘leadership’ rejected that school’s College Republicans’ chapter to invite Ben Shapiro to campus. According to Gonzaga University’s vice president of student development, Judi Biggs Garbuio, “Mr. Shapiro’s appearances routinely draw protests that include extremely divisive and hateful speech and behavior, which is offensive to many people, regardless of their age, politics or beliefs.”

Garbuio added that “Gonzaga University is committed to the human dignity of every individual. This is the core of our mission based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, and the foundations of the Society of Jesus. We stand in solidarity with vulnerable members of our community who may be targeted for discrimination, ridicule, or harassment by others.”

This is an old topic. This isn’t the first time so-called intellectuals have cited a ‘hecklers veto’ in preventing Shapiro or other conservatives from appearing on campus. These intellectuals are lightweights who are frightened by the thought of defending their ideas on a substantive basis. Put in more blunt terms, these intellectuals are a bunch of sissies.

What’s funniest to me is that the liberals who started the free speech movement at Berkeley would laugh at them for rejecting the opportunity to debate. Today’s progressives aren’t like yesteryear’s liberals. Can you picture Alan Dershowitz or Christopher Hitchens turning down the opportunity to debate? I can’t.

“Gonzaga’s events policy requires us consider whether an event would pose substantial risk to the safety occurred to any member of our campus community,” Biggs Garbuio said. “In light of what has occurred on other campuses, our security team has raised questions about whether we can adequately secure a campus venue.”

TRANSLATION: We’re too stupid to figure out how to have a clash of ideas while protecting our students. That’s too complex for us.