Wandering Eye: New safety measures for baseball?, 'the next wave of Title IX activism,' and more

It's no secret that some for-profit colleges are a scam, fleecing hopeful students with promises of lucrative careers that never happen. The schools are set up to harvest a public subsidy—federally backed student loans—but they need to have actual students take the loans out, much as mortgage fraudsters need to recruit straw buyers to stand in for them. Hence the boiler rooms, the cable TV come-ons, the whole sordid infrastructure of false hope. Mostly this is an academic lament, but every so often the Department of Education gets an easy chance to do something right about it, and now that that time has come, the department has blown it. As David Dayen at Salon explains in Salon, Cornintian College, one of the more notorious abusers, recently declared bankruptcy. Now its students own thousands of dollars in debt with no chance for even a shitty, worthless degree. Some students have gone on a debt strike, and now the Department of Education has announced a debt relief program. The problem?  "The vast majority of student borrowers will need to prove they were defrauded through a documentation process that forces them to become both private investigators and lawyers." Dayen writes. "This burdensome hurdle will limit any forgiveness the Education Department will have to make." At her blog, "Because Finance is Boring," Alexis Goldstein adds this: "What's perhaps even worse, is that the Department is creating fertile ground for scam artists to thrive. Even before today's announcement, websites had been cropping up touting to offer 'loan forgiveness' or 'closed school discharges,' for a fee, despite the fact that these are all options available for free." (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

After a woman was struck in the head with a broken bat in Boston's Fenway Park and suffered what police said were life-threatening injuries, Major League Baseball says it is looking into ways to improve fan safety. Sun columnist Peter Schmuck suggests extending the protective net behind home plate to the ends of both dugouts. That may seem like common sense to people who don't care much about baseball, but not all purists of the sport are thrilled with idea. Schmuck talked to season-ticket holder Mitchell Anest, who said: "I do not want the net. I do not want a screen. What you need to do, if you have a kid with you, is sit on the outside and make sure they only text between innings." He's certainly not alone in that opinion. Something especially interesting in Schmuck's column were quotes from two Orioles, Chris Davis and Steve Pearce. Both had vivid recollections of times a bat of theirs flew into the stands or they hit a screamer into the seats that hit someone or came close. "I know one thing,'' said Pearce. "Me being a father with a daughter . . . I'm not going to be sitting there." (Brandon Weigel)

 

City Paper is full of articles this week about sexual assault on college campuses and how Title IX, a federal statute, is meant to protect students from sexual assault. But as BuzzFeed points out, relationship violence is also protected under Title IX, and is just as common on college campuses, but is rarely as talked about. Reporter Katie J.M. Baker talks to students and activists (including my friends Olivia Ortiz and Dana Bolger, both of whom work for Know Your IX, an advocacy organization that I also used to work for) about the issue, and as Bolger tells her, "schools are totally lost on how to respond to violence when it occurs in the context of a dating relationship." Baker writes, "Activists have long felt frustrated that physical, emotional and psychological abuse is seen as secondary to sexual assault, unless a student is seriously injured or killed." These types of abuse will probably be the "next wave of Title IX activism." (Anna Walsh)

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