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Blog and Media Roundup - Wednesday, May 18, 2016; News Roundup
Topic Started: May 18 2016, 04:35 AM (209 Views)
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May 17, 2016 12:15 PM
Durham district attorney: No charges in police shooting of distraught man

La’Vante Trevon Biggs, 21, was shot by police five times in September

District Attorney Roger Echols says there is no evidence of willful, malicious or criminally negligent conduct

Durham Branch of the NAACP, mother have concerns about police action

By Virginia Bridges


A City Council member called for more police training Tuesday as the district attorney again cleared Durham police of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a city resident.

“We have to do more to make sure we don’t kill folks in this situation if it can at all be helped,” Councilman Charlie Reece said.

Reece was responding to Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols’ announcement that he won’t file criminal charges in the fatal shooting of La’Vante Trevon Biggs, 21, in September.

“The events of September 5, 2015, were extremely unfortunate and undoubtedly tragic,” Echols said in a statement. “However, there is no evidence in the State Bureau of Investigation’s investigative file that rises to willful, malicious or criminally negligent conduct by law enforcement or that the use of force by law enforcement was unreasonable or excessive.”

Now that Echols has released his decision, Reece said, the city must review police training and resources to take preventive measures.

In 2013, police shot and killed two men.

▪ Jose Adan Cruz Ocampo, a suspect in a stabbing, was shot four times after police yelled at him to put a knife down when he pulled it from his back pocket.

▪ Derek Walker, upset about losing custody of his son, was shot after he pointed a gun at police and himself during a standoff downtown.

Police say Biggs was suicidal and holding a weapon when police responded to 911 calls from him and his mother in the 1700 block of Angier Avenue.

Biggs put the gun down three times, but officers could not get him to walk away from it.

“Immediately before the shooting, La’Vante raised the gun at shoulder level towards officers while he took one to three steps forward,” Echols’ statement said. “After those actions by La’Vante, four officers fired a total of twelve shots at La’Vante.”

Biggs’ weapon turned out to be a black plastic airsoft-type pellet gun.

“However, the outer appearances of the gun appear to be visually indistinguishable from a firearm without very close or physical inspection,” Echols’ statement said.

In April, the Durham Branch of the NAACP and Biggs’ mother, Shanika Biggs, said police grossly mismanaged the situation and Biggs’ death could have been prevented.

Police recklessly fired 12 shots, five of which hit her son, the NAACP and Biggs said. Another six shots went into an occupied house behind him.

The NAACP and Shanika Biggs also questioned whether the police responded appropriately to someone in a mental health crisis, and asked why a tactical unit trained to use non-lethal weapons wasn’t present. The department has pepperballs, sponge balls and bean bags for certain crisis situations, but these are only carried by the tactical unit, not patrol officers. The tactical unit was on its way, police have said. Shanika Biggs and the NAACP point out that her son was shot 50 minutes after she made the 911 call.

In response to questions about the tactical unit’s response time, police spokesman Wil Glenn wrote, “each police response is unique.” He didn’t respond to further questions about the process.

Less-lethal weapons are designed to stun or disable someone and are considered “paincompliance weapons,” he wrote. They can be used in response to barricade or hostage rescue situations.

“If someone is mentally disturbed, stressed or under the influence, pain compliance isn’t really a factor – or isn’t as much a factor as it normally would be,” he wrote. “In these instances, less-lethal weapons aren’t very effective.”

Shanika Biggs declined to comment on Echols’ decision Tuesday beyond saying there will be a gathering to remember her son at 6:30 p.m. May 28 – the day La’Vante Biggs would have turned 22 – at CCB Plaza in downtown Durham.

“That is my only focus, to get through his birthday,” she said.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/durham-news/article78070617.html#storylink=cpy
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Duke to convert single-stall restrooms to gender-neutral options
By Staff Reports | Wednesday, May 18

Four single-stall restrooms in the Allen Building and two in the Bryan Center will be designated gender-neutral as part of a new initiative.

The University will be designating some single-stall restrooms on campus as gender-neutral this month.

The initiative aims to place at least one gender-neutral facility in all university buildings that already contain single-stall restrooms, including every residence hall on East and West Campus. According to a Duke Today release Tuesday, only existing single-stall restrooms will receive new gender-neutral signage, so no new restrooms will be constructed and no current restrooms will be renovated for this purpose.

Campus restrooms with multiple stalls will not be designated gender-neutral due to City of Durham code requirements.

Facilities Management will determine the exact number of restrooms that will be shifted to gender-neutral status through an inventory of all single-stall bathrooms across approximately 200 university buildings.

“It’s symbolic of our commitment to inclusivity in a broad sense and recognizing the fluidity of gender and sexual identity," Ben Reese, vice president of the Office for Institutional Equity, in the release.

In mid-May, four single-stall restrooms in the Allen Building and two in the Bryan Center will be designated gender-neutral as part of the initiative.

The project was begun last Fall by Blue Devils United and Duke Student Government who also partnered with Facilities Management, the Center for Sexual Gender and Diversity, the Office of Institutional Equity and the Disability Office.

“Having this option is one step toward creating a more inclusive campus community and reduces a barrier of anxiety for transgender and gender-nonconforming people,” Nick Antonicci, director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said in the release. “It will allow folks to spend mental time and energy on what they’re here for, which is to succeed in research, be a student and support our community.”

According to the release, Duke Health officials are also assessing the designation of gender-neutral bathrooms on the medical center campus.
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Harvard Law profs challenge federal sex-assault ‘guidance’
By Evan Lips | May 17, 2016, 20:22 EDT

CAMBRIDGE – A collection of prominent law school professors, including Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, shot back at President Barack Obama’s Education Department over its practice of using “Dear Colleague” letters to lay down policy mandates that ride roughshod over Americans’ constitutional rights.

A letter from the educators dated Monday asserts that the department’s civil rights office “has unlawfully expanded the nature and scope of institutions’ responsibility to address sexual harassment” through its directives regarding Title IX, the 1972 law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex in providing access to education. Most people know of Title IX through its effects on women’s collegiate athletics, but it has been applied more recently to things like sexual assault and gender-based issues such as access to sex-segregated facilities.

The professors cite “guidance” issued in 1997 that put sexual harassment under the actions barred by the 1972 law, and say that since then the department “has steadily expanded the definition of sexual harassment and imposed a growing range of responsibilities on colleges to curb such conduct. As a result, free speech and due process on campus are now imperiled.”

The lawyers also cite threats of funding losses used to compel administrators to ditch due process policies in favor of taking a “preponderance of the evidence” approach in handling sex assault claims.

Dershowitz joined three colleagues from Harvard Law School in Cambridge to sign the letter, along with 17 other professors hailing from schools scattered across the country. The letter also quotes one of the signatories, Harvard civil rights expert Elizabeth Bartholet, who called the elimination of due process “madness” in 2014.

The letter also points out that the department’s civil rights office, referred to as OCR, requires schools to define sexual harassment to include “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including verbal comments, which it says means administrators must disregard a narrower U.S. Supreme Court definition. They also say the office has effectively voided a Supreme Court ruling that says sexual harassment must involve repeated incidents in guiding schools to act on single instances of harassing conduct.

The professors note that the civil rights office has launched 228 Title IX investigations at 181 universities while “demanding that campus tribunals comply with OCR’s directives.”

Law school professors are not the only professionals questioning the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX, as a cadre of Republican senators have begun to ask about the legality of the civil rights office’s mandates.

The letter also points to the 1999 Davis v. Monroe decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court “defined ‘sexual harassment’ under Title IX as limited to conduct that is ‘severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.’”

“Through a series of directives and compliance enforcement actions, OCR has dramatically expanded the Davis v. Monroe definition of sexual harassment, thereby exerting a direct and deleterious effect on campus free speech and due process,” the letter claims.

The professors in their letter call not only for a restoration of due process to students and others on campus, but also for elected officials and civil rights administrators to clarify whether the “Dear Colleague Letters” and advisories are merely intended to guide school officials or constitute iron-clad requirements.

The civil rights office, the professors say, “characterizes these directives as ‘guidance’ documents, which by definition consist of policy recommendations and suggested actions. Guidances do not constitute ‘administrative regulation,’ nor do they possess ‘the status of law,’” the educators say. “The majority of these directives did not undergo notice and comment procedures, which the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) requires for all proposed regulations.”

The distinction between “guidance” and “requirement” reared its head recently when White House spokesman Josh Earnest answered questions about a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education and Justice Departments regarding Title IX’s role in the ongoing debate over access to sex-segregated public facilities, including bathrooms and locker rooms, based on self-selected “gender identity.”

Earnest repeatedly insisted that the message from the Obama administration equated to “guidance” although the letter itself points out that school districts refusing to adhere to the directives face the loss of federal funding.

Meanwhile, the decision by colleges and universities to strip accused perpetrators of their due process rights is also fueling a surge in lawsuits.

Recently, a federal judge in Massachusetts rejected Brandeis University’s bid to have a lawsuit tied to allegations of sexual misconduct dismissed. The Waltham school had punished a student after a former boyfriend claimed that the student had made unwanted sexual advances at various points during their relationship.

In ruling against the school, U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV ripped Brandeis for “appear[ing] to have substantially impaired, if not eliminated, an accused student’s right to a fair and impartial process.”

At the Education Department, the civil rights office’s new interpretation has prompted other students to sue in federal courts, claiming that their schools failed to follow the government’s directives for handling sex harassment. In March, a Harvard University graduate sued, asserting that school administrators failed to treat her claims of sexual assault at the hands of an ex-boyfriend in accordance with “requirements” laid out in the 2011 Dear Colleague letter from the civil rights office.

At Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, a senior who was expelled after administrators followed the 2011 procedures in handling a disputed sex assault claim, has threatened to sue.
- See more at: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/05/17/harvard-law-profs-challenge-federal-sex-assault-guidance/#sthash.lRtFUZBc.dpuf
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George Will takes on lack of campus due process
By Ashe Schow (@AsheSchow) • 5/17/16 10:50 AM

Washington Post columnist George Will has been one of the most high-profile voices speaking out against the lack of due process for college students accused of sex crimes on campus.

In a new column well worth the read, Will discusses the case of Grant Neal (which I have written about previously), a Colorado State University-Pueblo student who was effectively expelled for sex that even the alleged victim says was consensual. Neal and an athletic trainer engaged in consensual sexual activity, but when she went to work with a hickey, her peer — who had not been present during the activity and had not been told there was a sexual assault — reported the trainer as a victim.

The school rushed to kick Neal out, even after he presented an audio recording of the alleged victim telling him, her mother and a school administrator that there was no assault. When this was brought up, Neal alleges in his lawsuit against the school, he was told the woman probably only said these things because she was "scared" of him.

The Chronicle of Higher Education said this case raises the question of what schools should do about a third-party complaint when the alleged victim herself says there was no assault. Will suggests that "in a calmer time" this question "would have a self-evident answer.

But these are not calmer times. Despite documented evidence there was no sexual assault, colleges and universities like CSU-Pueblo are so desperate to show the Education Department — which has dropped the hammer on colleges as far as this issue goes — that they take sexual assault seriously they are willing to expel innocent students. Because on colleges these days, an innocent man is less of a liability than the uproar that an accusing woman — even a woman who is not an actual victim — can cause against the school.
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Sculpting Public Opinion from Birth to Death: “Schools and Media are Completely Complicit in the Destruction of This Nation”

The biggest problem with the Mainstream Media (MSM) is not just one that is based in objectivity. The powers that be actually “sculpt” the media’s position and craft it to their own making, to end up being their mouthpiece at a minimum. With the majority of news reports (mislabeled as such), the slant is no longer a balance between to opposite spectrums. The newscasters, televised news broadcasts, the radio, and news media (newspapers, magazines, and their ilk) are no longer even platforms for the dissemination of information. They’re product, and their productivity is determined by the handlers and controllers of the media and whether it fits inside of their overall objectives.

There is a famous quote that is often overlooked:

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
-Lord Acton

The interesting thing is this quote has many applications, varied in scope and encompassing a general truism that finds use with many things…reference to power, and also to corruptibility. What Acton was referring to, however, was actually the media. He was heaping subtle derision about the manner in which media and news found itself kowtowing to the powers in charge…allowing those powers – king, prime ministers, and presidents – to influence the media and squelch truth and objectivity. The media (wanting to sell newspapers and still keep a front seat press box and all access passes) traded its objectivity for lucre and position.

The problem also lies within the school system. The public schools (as well as private) are rapidly “losing” the truth in their curriculum, which is being redacted on a daily basis. The founders of the U.S. are portrayed in a negative light: all of their personal problems within their lives are magnified and even exacerbated. The purpose is to destroy the United States of America in terms of perception and education, to create a shift in paradigm and public perception.

We had eight years of a Democratic administration under Clinton in which the attack on the established school curriculum, begun in the 1960’s, took root, and completely metastasized during these Obama years. By destroying the concept of America and how she was founded, the progressives strike at the root and have a completely different tree by the time those inculcated with such fallacies reach the age of voting and earning capacity for taxation purposes. Meanwhile, the stultified parents in the PTA meetings protest the changes in the curriculum that have already been placed in motion by federal legislation. This is not a new concept, as illustrated with the following:

“We must start with the children – the seed corn – in order to grow them into what we wish.”
-Adolf Hitler speaking in the Nuremburg Rallies

This concept is what we are facing now, as we have a generation that hold these untruths to be the norm and factual. It is a forced paradigm shift to change the concept that the youth holds of America and destroy the potential for them to develop creative thought. The curriculum (never truly being perfect, as there is no such thing) introduced children to generalities that could be expanded upon, for the desire of pure education is to introduce evidence and facts and enable someone to draw an opinion on their own regarding the matter.

The concept of creative thought (not in reference to artists and musicians, mind you) is to allow the student to ponder the “why’s” of a matter. Little by little this is being destroyed, but they are replacing it with a canned, sterilized curriculum that only rewards rote memory and the absorption of concepts alien to those originally in the schools.

The media, then, is to feed controlled disinformation to the entire population. This takes the form also of a plethora of useless information, such as who won on “Star Search,” or what some celebrity is wearing in attendance at the Oscars. All useless information that keeps everyone consuming and prevents anyone from seeing the true state of the world as it is. The news itself cannot be used to “dupe” everyone…that is why there are alternative media sites, and other sources of information not corrupted by “the thumb of the Duke” on the reports. Still, take Fox News as an example.

The manner in which Fox News reports is markedly different from the way it was 10 years ago. You can see the capitulation of the newscasters as they begin to echo the platform of the establishment media, and reject objectivity and conservative programming to follow in the overall paradigm shift begun by the administration.

We see it in the schools, as an entire generation is made to not feel any true identity except some “membership in the global community,” let alone the patriotism and pride in the U.S. as a place where dissenting views by the minority is allowed, and (prior to Obamacare) a free nation where you could go about on your own and do your own thing pretty much undisturbed.

They are waiting for the generations that were brought up in an era of conservative actions and critical thought…. waiting for them to either die off or become so hopelessly outnumbered – by the new, sculpted generation, by illegal aliens, and by influx of foreign thought and systems – that the demographics all change in their favor.

The seeds have been planted. The schools and the media are completely complicit in the destruction of this nation, along with their handlers. It is an amazing thing that the country was so free as to allow the very people who are destroying it to come out with and force their socialist and progressive platforms on the country as a whole. This is what is happening, and it is doubtful whether or not we will reverse the tide. It can be done, but until then The-Powers-That-Be sculpt and form the public through the media and schools to make people into their own images, and those images are not good.

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson is also a Gunsmith, a Certified Master Herbalist, a Montana Master Food Preserver, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape). He lives in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with his wife and three cats. You can follow Jeremiah’s regular writings at SHTFplan.com or contact him here.

This article may be republished or excerpted with proper attribution to the author and a link to www.SHTFplan.com.
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How Obama Could Still Fix the Campus Free Speech Problem
It's not too late to rein in OCR.

Robby Soave|May. 18, 2016 7:30 am

During his commencement address at Rutgers University on Sunday, President Obama once again complained that "fragile" students shouldn't silence speakers with whom they disagree.

"I believe that is misguided," he said.

This isn't the first time Obama has levelled such a criticism. But it's difficult to take him at his word—to believe that he cares so much about free speech on college campuses—when his own Department of Education has played a pivotal role in empowering easily-offended students to censor their opponents and beseech university administrators to help them.

Since 2011, ED's Office for Civil Rights has broadly interpreted a federal anti-harassment statute—Title IX—as requiring colleges to investigate the claims of students and faculty who claim to be victims of sexual harassment. OCR has defined sexual harassment in subjective terms, meaning that seemingly harmless—and constitutionally protected—kinds of expression can result in Title IX claims. And OCR has required that adjudication of sexual assault disputes use a preponderance of the evidence standard: a travesty for due process on campus.

It's no accident that students have been increasingly successful at shutting down their opponents in the last five years. It's no surprise that the illiberal left has grown bolder on campus. Federal policy has aided the censors at every turn.

On Monday, 21 law professors representing several different universities penned a letter to the government accusing OCR of exceeding its authority.

"Through a series of subsequent directives and enforcement actions, OCR has steadily expanded the definition of sexual harassment and imposed a growing range of responsibilities on colleges to curb such conduct," wrote the professors. "As a result, free speech and due process on campus are now imperiled."

Does Obama understand that his own government is responsible for the safe-space phenomenon he frequently decries? Is he aware that under Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon, OCR has violated the free speech and due process rights of countless students?

We may never know. But if Obama is aware, and he actually does care about free speech on campus, he still has time left in his presidency to do something about it. The president needs to rein in Lhamon and remind OCR that administrative guidance does not supersede the Constitution. Obama should should instruct his Education Department to inform universities that their federal funding is not at risk—or better yet, that their federal funding is only at risk if they violate students' free speech and due process rights.

Unless and until Obama brings OCR in line with his stated commitment to free speech, said commitment remains hollow.
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The NCHERM Group Introduces the One-Day Title IX Tune-Up

08:35 ET from The NCHERM Group

BERWYN, Pa., May 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Have a consultant from The NCHERM Group visit your campus for a day for our Title IX Tune-Up. There is so much Title IX information floating about, that it can often be difficult to focus in on the priorities. Often, a consultant can be just the catalyst you need to move initiatives forward or to help problem-solve challenges facing your campus. Consider the value of a concerted focus on Title IX for your campus.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160517/368672


Over the course of a day-long visit, one of The NCHERM Group's twenty-two (22) Title IX experts can catalyze change, offer training, increase stakeholder buy-in, help you to improve compliance, or go beyond compliance.

While every Title IX Tune-Up visit is customized for your specific needs, a basic example of a one-day visit schedule might be:

8:30am to 10:00am: Update on the Title IX Legal Landscape - Lawsuits, Litigation and Legislation
10:00am to 11:00am: Training for Mandated Reporters
11:00am to Noon: Title IX and Athletics - Briefing and Update
Noon to 1:15pm: Cabinet-Level Title IX Briefing and Working Lunch - Top Issues to Keep Your Eyes On
1:30pm to 3:00pm: Policy workshop (review of sexual misconduct policies, VAWA, Clery Act ASR, etc.)
3:00pm to 4:30pm: Strategic prevention task force meeting - VAWA, Bystander Intervention, and Beyond

Any of these sessions can be combined and/or changed in length or content as needed.

Additionally, you might substitute any of the following topics to get the customized visit most beneficial for your campus:

Appeals Officer & Hearing Panel Training
Best Practices for Title IX and LGBTQiA Rights
Case-specific Review
Climate Survey Design, Implementation and Assessment
Communication Protocols, Intake and First Response
Designing a Program for Campers
Designing Your VAWA Brochure
Establishing MOUs with Law Enforcement and Outside Agencies
Forming and Managing a Title IX Team
Investigation Report Review Clinic
Prevention Program Assessment
Protocols for Pregnant and Parenting Students
Training for Title IX Deputy Coordinators, Investigators, Advocates and Confidential Employees
Title IX Caseload, Recordkeeping and Workflow management
Title IX Training for RAs/Housing/Residential Life
Title IX Staffing/Resources Assessment
Title IX and Faculty Rights, BIT Intersections and the 1st Amendment

For more information, please contact Ryan McDavis, Vice President for Client and Member Services, at Email or 610-993-0229, ext. 1009.

Media Contact:
Michelle Issadore
Vice President for Operations and Public Information

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