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New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on billionaire Robert F. Smith’s offer to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College, saying that while she applauded the gesture, college students shouldn’t be forced to rely on the generosity of others.

“It’s important to note that people shouldn’t be in a situation where they depend on a stranger’s enormous act of charity for this kind of liberation to begin with (aka college should be affordable), but it is an incredible act of community investment in this system as it is,” she tweeted Sunday.

Smith, a billionaire investor who founded Vista Equity Partners, made the surprise announcement during the historically black college’s 135th commencement service.

“We’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the graduates. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

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The extraordinary move comes as calls grow about the mounting burden of student loan debt across the country.

“Every Morehouse Class of 2019 student is getting their student debt load paid off by their commencement speaker,” the freshman lawmaker said. “This could be the start of what’s known in Econ as a ‘natural experiment.’ Follow these students & compare their life choices w their peers over the next 10-15 years.”

Source: Fox News Politics

A few Taylor University students walked out during Vice President Pence‘ commencement address Saturday but he also got a chance to meet with a group that wanted to show him the majority of students on campus are fans of the former Indiana governor.

David Muselman, an incoming sophomore at Taylor, started an “I Like Mike” T-shirt campaign after reports in April that some students and alumni were upset, writing online they were “physically shaking” and “personally attacked” by the outspoken Christian leader’s invitation to the small evangelical school located in rural Indiana. The administration stood by its decision and, besides a few students walking out, the vice president was met with a standing ovation.

TODD STARNES: DISGRUNTLED SNOWFLAKES PITCH HISSY FIT OVER PENCE SPEECH

When Pence found out about the “I Like Mike” campaign, he wanted to meet the students and thank them for their support.

“It was an honor and inspiring to meet with the second most powerful person in the free world who shares our same beliefs,” Muselman told Fox News Monday. “What’s better than that?”

Vice President Mike Pence met with "I Like Mike" supporters after his commencement address Saturday at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

Vice President Mike Pence met with “I Like Mike” supporters after his commencement address Saturday at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. (Courtesy of David Muselman)

Pence urged the students, not as vice president or fellow Hoosiers, but as a brother in Christ to live out their Christian faith “because America needs men and women of integrity and faith now more than ever.”

MIKE PENCE WARNS CHRISTIAN GRADS TO PREPARE FOR RIDICULE FROM ‘SECULAR LEFT’

He told them “it’s become acceptable, even fashionable, to malign traditional Christian beliefs,” urging them to “be prepared to face opposition. But be confident. For the Bible says, ‘God has given us a spirit not of timidity, but of power and love and self-control.’ So go show the world every day that we can love God and love our neighbor at the same time. Our nation and our world needs it.”

After Pence shook each graduate’s hand, he then met with the “I Like Mike” student supporters.

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Muselman, after starting the campaign, got to end it on a high note, telling the vice president: “Taylor really does like you, Mike!”

Source: Fox News National

The Westboro Baptist Church protested outside of the country’s only all-male historically black college over the school’s new admission policy that accepts transgender men.

WXIA-TV reports the demonstrators from the Kansas-based church appeared outside Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday ahead of the school’s graduation ceremonies. The school announced in April that transgender men would be allowed to enroll at the school for the first time in 2020.

The station says the group also protested outside Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. The church says it protested at Spelman because of a student group that supports anyone in the LGBTQ community. The church says it protested at Clark Atlanta because one of the school’s graduation speakers lied about “Jesus Christ and His Word.”

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

Source: Fox News National

Oprah Winfrey tells college graduates in Colorado small steps lead to big accomplishments.

Winfrey gave the commencement speech Sunday at Colorado College. The small liberal arts college in Colorado Springs awarded 590 undergraduate degrees.

Winfrey quoted black activist Angela Davis, who said: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically change the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

Winfrey says change doesn’t happen with big breakthroughs so much as day-to-day decisions.

The television personality and philanthropist once gave away a car to everybody in the audience on her show. Winfrey didn’t give the college graduates cars but copies of her book, “The Path Made Clear.”

She told them to expect failure in life but know that everything will be OK.

Source: Fox News National

The keynote speaker at Morehouse College’s commencement ceremony announced a grant Sunday wiping out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class.

Billionaire Robert Smith’s surprise gift in front of nearly 400 graduating seniors may be worth about $40 million, officials said.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith said, according to WXIA-TV. “You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity.”

12-Year-Old Reporter Gives Commencement Speech At University

Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III is a member of the Class of 2019, estimated that his student loans total about $70,000, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she said.

The announcement elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

“When Dr. King said that the ‘arc of the moral universe bends toward justice,’ he wasn’t saying it bends on its own accord. It bends because we choose to put our shoulders into it together and push,” Smith told the ceremony, according to WXIA.

MOTHER, SON GRADUATE COLLEGE TOGETHER IN SURPRISE CEREMONY

Smith was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Morehouse during the commencement.

Morehouse College is an all-male historically black college located in Atlanta.

Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data and technology-driven companies.

He is a graduate of Cornell and Columbia Business School.

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Morehouse announced in January a $1.5 million donation from Smith for student scholarships and a new park on campus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

College Board CEO David Coleman defended the SAT “adversity score” on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Friday, saying  the messaging behind the new criteria is to say “we can see you” to students from low-income or “demanding circumstances.”

“If you distinguish yourself by performing extraordinarily well in demanding circumstances, we can see you, you’re not counted out from the beginning,” Coleman said.

The “adversity score” uses 15 factors to determine the level of difficulty and strife the applicant has faced that has shaped or impacted their performance on the SAT (Standardized Admissions Test), and through their high school career to provide “context” to the applicant’s social and economic background, Coleman said.

SAT TO USE ‘ADVERSITY SCORE’ FOR STUDENTS APPLYING TO COLLEGE

Students won’t be able to view this score but colleges and universities can weigh this criterion when making a selection.

Coleman said college admissions boards are “looking for people who distinguish themselves,” and this “general background information” — in addition to a personal statement or college essay — helps board members evaluate students.

He explained that 50 colleges have used this new scoring criterion in admissions decisions but the College Board intends to expand the effort to make it more widespread by 2021.

Coleman, who is also the creator of the Common Core, a baseline K-12 curriculum standard which has drawn harsh criticism from parents and educators alike, explained the purported use of the newest addition to the SAT.

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As colleges seek to diversify their student body, the issue of fairness reignites, as many universities have come under fire for alleged discrimination.

Most recently, Harvard University was sued by the Students for Fair Admissions group in 2014, alleging that Asian-Americans who have the highest academic records have the lowest admission rates at ivy league universities.

Source: Fox News National

Administrators of the SAT college admissions exam on Friday detailed plans to provide test scores in the context of a student’s high school hardships as a way to help colleges identify resourceful students they might otherwise overlook.

The College Board said the “Environmental Context Dashboard” being piloted at 50 colleges uses a combination of data points and sources to assign a disadvantage level to be considered along with the test’s academic results.

Neighborhood factors like median family income, crime rate and education level of residents are factored in, along with high school traits like geography, the size of the senior class, the percentage of households with food stamps and the advanced course offerings. The dashboard also shows a student’s SAT score in relation to classmates. It does not consider race.

A high score indicating more adversity could help offset less than stellar academic scores.

College Board Chief Executive David Coleman described the project to The Associated Press in March as a way to level the playing field for students who don’t have the same access to advantages like private tutors and college-level classes as more affluent peers.

The College Board, which began offering free online test preparation several years ago, expects to make the dashboard broadly available to colleges for free next year.

“Free test prep was a good step but the wealth inequality … is so profound that we have to go further,” Coleman said.

But plans for the so-called “adversity score” seem to have done little to sway opponents of SAT and ACT scores in college admissions, which have faced renewed scrutiny in the wake of the recent “Varsity Blues” cheating scandal in which authorities say wealthy parents bribed coaches and rigged entrance exams to game the admissions system.

Bob Schaeffer, who leads National Center for Fair & Open Testing, said the addition of the dashboard “concedes that the SAT is really a measure of ‘accumulated advantage’ which should not be used without an understanding of a student’s community or background.”

“Schools do not need the SAT or ACT — with or without ‘adversity scores’ — to make high-quality admissions decisions that promote equity and excellence,” he said in a statement.

Most U.S. colleges still require standardized test scores from applicants, but in recent years the list of institutions that no longer ask for them has grown to about 1,000, according to Schaeffer’s group. Administrators cite efforts to promote equity and diversity applicant pools.

Last year, about 2.1 million students took the SAT, and about 1.9 million took the ACT.

Source: Fox News National

Kentucky’s flagship university failed to obey the state’s open-records law when it refused to provide a campus newspaper with documents pertaining to a sexual misconduct investigation, an appeals court ruled Friday.

The case pitted the University of Kentucky against the campus newspaper and involved records from an investigation of a professor accused of sexual misconduct by two students. The professor denied the accusation but resigned as part of a settlement agreement with the university.

In an unusual twist, the university sued the newspaper — the Kentucky Kernel — in 2016 after the state’s attorney general determined the school had violated the state’s open-records law. UK said its dispute was with the attorney general, not the campus newspaper, but state law exempts the attorney general from being named in a party in a lawsuit.

On Friday, the Kentucky Court of Appeals sided with the newspaper and Attorney General Andy Beshear in ruling the university failed to “procedurally comply” with open-records law.

“In this instance, the university has not yet made any attempt to comply with the Open Records Act in any meaningful way,” said Judge Kelly Thompson, who wrote the three-judge panel’s majority opinion. “It has taken the indefensible position that the records are exempt because it says they are and it must be believed,” the judge added. “That position is directly contrary to the goal of transparency under the Open Records Act.”

The appeals court stopped short of requiring UK to turn documents over to the newspaper.

“While we could affirm the AG’s result and order that the records requested be disclosed in redacted form to the Kernel, we refrain from doing so because that could result in the public disclosure of exempt records,” Thompson wrote.

UK will review the ruling before deciding its next steps, spokesman Jay Blanton said.

“The university declined to provide redacted documents to the Kernel because the university believed that no amount of redaction would protect the student’s privacy,” Blanton said.

Thomas Miller, the student newspaper’s lawyer, said the appeals court ruling was “absolutely right” and represented an important open-records victory for the news media.

“Going forward, educational institutions cannot hide behind a non-relevant federal law when asked to provide records about employees who are abusing students,” he said.

UK argued the documents were exempt from public disclosure under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Blanton said Friday that other parts of the ruling reaffirmed UK’s obligation to protect students’ privacy.

“We continue to have grave concerns about the chilling effect any breach of a student’s privacy will have on the willingness of victim-survivors to come forward and seek support and justice,” he said.

The campus newspaper has already published details of the investigative documents after receiving them from a source, news outlets have reported.

The article detailed the allegations against the professor but did not identify the students who made the allegations.

The panel sent the case back to a lower court with instructions that UK show that each requested record is exempt from disclosure. The lower court had previously ruled in UK’s favor.

The appeals court also ruled that the university violated open-records law by refusing to allow the attorney general to review redacted records requested by the Kernel.

Beshear on Friday called the ruling a “win for all Kentuckians who want a more open and transparent government.” The AG’s office has the authority to issue legally binding decisions in disputes involving open records and open meetings laws.

Beshear is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary election.

Source: Fox News National

A college baseball game was postponed in Tennessee on Tuesday evening after an 8-year-old boy allegedly shot his mother in what police are saying was an accident, according to reports.

The unidentified woman was transported to a hospital in critical condition but her condition was later upgraded to stable, FOX 13 of Memphis reported.

The owner of the gun has been detained and police are conducting an investigation to determine if they will press charges, authorities said.

The shooting happened at USA Stadium in Millington, where the University of Memphis Tigers were playing the University of Tennessee at Martin.

TENNESSEE AUTHORITIES CHARGE MAN IN CONNECTION TO 7 MURDERS

Police said the child found the gun inside an antique car being displayed at the stadium and accidentally shot his mother during the first inning of the game, around 6:45 p.m.

“The juvenile believed it was a toy gun. He picked the gun up, pulled the trigger, and accidentally shot his mother,” Millington police Chief Mark Dunbar said, according to WMC-TV in Memphis. The game was then halted, according to FOX 13.

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The University of Memphis issued a statement after the incident.

“We are saddened by the unfortunate accidental shooting at the baseball game at USA Stadium in Millington,” the university’s Athletic Department said in the statement, according to the Commercial Appeal of Memphis. “The University of Memphis is cooperating fully with authorities in the investigation. Our deepest thoughts are with the family.”

Source: Fox News National

Just two days after formally stepping aside as Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein delivered a commencement address Monday at the University of Baltimore School of Law quoting Robert Mueller and urging graduates to stick to “principles” even when they find themselves “standing alone.”

Rosenstein, who oversaw Mueller’s Russia investigation and drew bipartisan fire — at one point, House Republicans introduced articles of impeachment against him — specifically pointed graduates to Mueller’s comments at the College of William & Mary in 2013.

“You will face pressure to compromise on things that matter most, perhaps even to trade virtue for the appearance of virtue,” Rosenstein said. “But, you should exercise caution when uncomfortable circumstances tempt you to disregard principles.”

He continued: “As Robert Mueller once said, ‘There may come a time when you will be tested. You may find yourself standing alone, against those you thought were trusted colleagues. You may stand to lose all that you have worked for, and it may not be an easy call.'”

Mueller was hardly the only notable figure Rosenstein opted to cite. His speech also included quotes from and references to Abraham Lincoln (“Let reverence for the laws”), William Shakespeare (“Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends”), and author Robert Fulghum (“The lesson is that with proper care, the roots will grow broad and deep, and the plant will grow tall and strong.”)

ROSENSTEIN SLAMS OBAMA ADMIN IN REMARKS JUST DAYS AHEAD OF DEPARTURE FROM DOJ

Rosenstein, 54, also offered a rare window into his personal life — and the stresses his job placed on his family.

“Before I went to Washington in 2017, my daughter asked whether I would get my picture in the newspaper,” Rosenstein said. “I said no. I told her that ‘deputy attorney general’ is a low-profile job. Nobody knows the deputy attorney general.”

Rosenstein added: “I realize that the modern media often seems to foster incivility, but lawyers have a special responsibility to practice and promote civility. The fundamental purpose of law is to provide a peaceful means to resolve disagreements, so if civility seems to be lacking in public life, that is all the more reason for lawyers to step into the breach.”

Attorney General William Barr, left, pausing as he brings Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to the podium to ask who has the more stoic face during a farewell ceremony for Rosenstein in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice in Washington last week. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Attorney General William Barr, left, pausing as he brings Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to the podium to ask who has the more stoic face during a farewell ceremony for Rosenstein in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice in Washington last week. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

In previous remarks late last month, while he was still deputy attorney general, Rosenstein lamented what he called the difficulty of his position, and suggested he had done the best he could under the circumstances.

“The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” Rosenstein said at the Armenian Bar Association’s Public Servants Dinner. “The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers. Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI director announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then, the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred. So, that happened.”

Rosenstein compared his tenure to “the story about firefighters who found a man on a burning bed. When they asked how the fire started, he replied, ‘I don’t know. It was on fire when I lay down on it.'”

Attorney General Bill Barr last Friday said he named Ed O’Callaghan to temporarily serve as acting deputy attorney general in the wake of Rosenstein’s departure from the Justice Department.

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Congressional Republicans have accused Rosenstein of intentionally withholding documents and information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

A DOJ watchdog review of the department’s FISA practices, among other issues, is expected to be completed within weeks.

Source: Fox News Politics


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