UC Students Struggle to Access Mental Health Services

Health services directors at the University of California are raising alarms that students throughout the system cannot access mental health services in reasonable time periods. A typical student who calls in complaining of mild anxiety and procrastination in the first weeks of the semester could be waiting until finals to get a regular therapy appointment.

UC Takes 'Zero Tolerance' Approach to Sexual Assault and Violence

University of California President Janet Napolitano says she wants the system to be a national leader on curbing sexual assault and violence on campus. A special UC task force released seven key recommendations at a Board of Regents meeting on Wednesday. Topping the list is the creation of an independent and confidential office at each campus for these cases.

PBS NewsHour

Fraternity reforms, from inside and out, seek to curb sexual assault

WASHINGTON — Eight college fraternities announced Tuesday an effort to work together on new training aimed at combating sexual misconduct, hazing and binge drinking.

The focus is on learning to recognize, diagnose and intervene in potentially harmful situations. An estimated 35,000 undergraduates are anticipated to participate in the first year of the Fraternal Health and Safety Initiative consortium, according to the announcement.

The participating fraternities include Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Triangle — groups with a combined 75,000 undergraduate men at more than 550 college campuses. The consortium plans to use training that organizers say is based on research and created for retreat-like settings.

“If you think of the power of having all of these fraternities on a particular campus going through similar programming and similar messaging, it could definitely impact the culture on that campus fairly quickly,” said Marc Mores, executive vice president of the James R. Favor & Company. The insurance company insures campus fraternities and organized the effort.

Last week, the White House started the “It’s On Us” campaign, which is focused on encouraging people to consider stopping sexual assault to be part of their personal responsibility and to intervene when they suspect a potential victim can’t or won’t consent. A White House task force on campus sexual assault, in a report issued earlier this year, said that one of the most promising prevention strategies is bystander prevention.

Within higher education, there has been growing pressure to curb sexual assault and better protect victims.

In another effort to reform fraternity culture, Wesleyan University in Connecticut announced Monday that the school’s two residential fraternities will have to become co-ed within the next three years to continue operating on campus, according to the New York Times.

“The trustees and administration recognize that residential fraternities have contributed greatly to Wesleyan over a long period of time, but we also believe they must change to continue to benefit their members and the larger campus community,” President Michael Roth and Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger wrote in a statement explaining the decision.

Student leaders first called for the change this spring, according to Inside Higher Ed, after the school’s Psi Upsilon chapter was sued by a student who alleged she was raped in the fraternity’s house during a pledge event.

The national organization of the school’s other residential fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, told the New York times their leaders disagree with Wesleyan’s move. In a statement, they said it “insults the intelligence of Wesleyan’s students, alumni, and other constituencies, who deserve more than vague references to ‘equity’ and ‘inclusion’ when explaining why the university feels it must break a 150-year-old tradition, one that, as the statement says, has ‘contributed greatly to Wesleyan.’ ”

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Twitter Chat: What do today’s high school graduates need to know and how can this be measured?

On Saturday, September 27, American Graduate Day will return for its third year. This national television broadcast, produced by WNET, highlights the efforts of individuals and organizations working across the U.S. to help at-risk students reach graduation.

What should American public schools teach students to prepare them for college and for adult life? How can schools and educators ensure students are competitive candidates for college admission? How do the educational needs of students across the country differ, and is it possible to design a national curriculum? Is standardized testing an effective means of measuring kids’ knowledge? If not, how should students and schools be evaluated?

We will address these questions and more on Twitter from 1-2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, September 25. Anthony Cody (@AnthonyCody), a retired educator and editor of the blog Living in Dialogue, which addresses issues critical to public education will join the conversation. Veeko Lucas (@veekolucas), a former educator and consultant for the nonprofit TNTP will also weigh in. Michael Roth (@mroth78), president of Wesleyan University, will share his insights into how high schools can best prepare students to succeed in college. Follow along and chime in using the hashtag #NewsHourChats.

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Black college grads face greater student loan burden than whites

The more than $1.1 trillion in outstanding student debt is not distributed evenly among the country’s college graduates.

In a poll done earlier this year, Gallup and Purdue University found that 78 percent of black college graduates took out loans to pay for their education, compared to 61 percent of white and 63 percent of all grads.

While 35 percent of all college grads and 34 percent of white grads borrowed at least $25,000 in student loans, 50 percent of black grads had borrowed as much.

The financial payoff of getting a college degree has only grown during the last 30 years, as wages for those with associate’s degrees and high school diplomas has stalled or dropped. And the time it takes to recoup the cost of tuition and the earnings a student loses while they’re in school is near all-time lows, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

What the Gallup-Purdue poll shows is that those average calculations that mask the financial rewards of college education may not be equally accessible to all grads.

A recent report estimated every $250 paid toward student loans each month reduces a household’s home buying budget by $44,000. That lost buying power could cost the housing market $83 billion this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. If black college grads have heavier debt loads on average, their home buying power is taking a disproportionate hit.

Census data already shows the net worth of black and Hispanic families dramatically lags that of white and Asian families and that the gap is growing. Unequal debt burdens could mean a college degree won’t necessarily close that gap for any given family.

A look at the Survey of Consumer Finances by the Pew Research Center found college grads who did not have student debts had accumulated about seven times the wealth of their indebted peers.

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Should our sports heroes also be our role models?

We asked students from around the country: should our sports heroes also be our heroes in real life? Laryssa Wills of Pflugerville High School in Pflugerville, Texas, says professional athletes should be held accountable as role models. See all the student videos here.

In light of the recent domestic abuse issues plaguing members of the National Football League, we asked our student journalists to consider whether professional athletes should be considered role models.

Our Student Reporting Labs network from around the country answered our callout. Watch their video responses.

Videos were created with mentor support from Detroit Public Television, KLRU, South Carolina ETV, Vegas PBS, East Tennessee PBS, KCPT and WHYY.

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