Showing posts with label Columbia University. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbia University. Show all posts

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Princeton bars students from leaving Mercer County: False Imprisonment?

You've seen those old crime movies. Detectives wearing fedoras arrive unannounced at some poor schmuck's home and accuse the guy of committing murder.

"Am I under arrest?" the schmuck askes nervously.

"Not yet," a detective snarls, "but don't leave town."

American universities are beginning to act like movie detectives. To stem the tide of COVID, they have become dictatorial and autocratic.  Last December, hundreds of students were quarantined in their dorm rooms and forbidden to walk their campuses due to the COVID crisis.

For example, the Washington Post recently reported on Oscar Lloyd, an undergraduate at Columbia University, who was isolated in a cell-like room for ten days after testing positive for COVID. The university fed him and presumably let him out to shower, but he was not allowed to leave his assigned room to exercise. His life for ten days must have been very much like being in jail.

And at Princeton, the university recently took the extraordinary step of confining all students within the boundaries of Mercer County, where Princeton is located.  

What will happen if a Princeton student breaks out of stir and makes a run for Hoboken? Will the campus police pursue him, sirens wailing and guns blazing, like a scene from a Jimmy Cagney movie?

False imprisonment is a civil offense under the common law. According to the Restatement (Second) of Tortspeople are subject to liability for false imprisonment if they confine a person within fixed boundaries against that person's will and the confined person knows he is confined. 

Can universities be sued for false imprisonment when they quarantine their students? I doubt it.

After all, the detained student can always elect to drop out of school and leave the campus. And a genuine health emergency can sometimes justify draconian measures.

Nevertheless, the COVID pandemic is in its second year, and colleges and universities are becoming increasingly inhospitable and tyrannical. 

In my view, elite colleges can't justify tuition rates at extortion levels while forcing their students to take online classes, submit to being quarantined, or be restricted from moving freely when they are off-campus.

It costs students almost $80,000 a year to study at Princeton. Do you think a student laying out that kind of bread wants to be confined to Mercer County?

You're not under arrest yet, but don't leave Mercer County.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Ivy League's Biggest Scam: Expensive Graduate Degrees That Don't Pay Off

 If you are thinking about enrolling in a pricey Ivy League graduate program, read a recent Wall Street Journal article titled "'Financially Hobbled for Life': The Elite Master's Degrees That Don't Pay Off." 

Reporters Melissa Korn and Andrea Fuller report on a WSJ analysis of student debt owed by people who graduated from prestigious schools like Harvard, NYU, and Columbia. Two years after getting degrees from these toney joints, a high percentage of elite-school graduates were not working in jobs that would allow them to pay off their student loans.

For example, a New Jersey guy got a master's degree in Fine Arts in film at Columbia. Two years after graduating, he owes nearly $300,000 in student loans (including interest) and earns between $30,000 and $60,000 a year. Will this man ever pay off his student loans? Not bloody likely.

And this is not an isolated example. The WSJ reported that the median student-loan debt for Columbia's film program graduates was $171,000 in 2017-2018.  How many of those people are earning $171,000 in their current jobs? How many will ever pay off their student loans?

What attracts bright people to expensive Ivy League graduate programs? As one Columbia film graduate said, "We were told by the establishment our whole lives this was the way to jump social classes."

But we were told wrong. I got an essentially useless doctorate from Harvard, thinking the degree would erase Oklahoma from my vita. But it didn't. I still have range dust in my diction, and I still see the world much like my hard-scrabble ancestors saw it--the ones who lived through the Dust Bowl.

The WSJ analysis focuses mainly on Columbia University's film program and its graduate program in theatre arts. But there are other unindicted co-conspirators.  

Harvard's master of education degree, for example, is a scam.   You can get a master's degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education in only nine months, but the total cost of that experience is $85,000 (including room and board). 

I picked up a Harvard master's degree as I went through Harvard's doctoral program. I was proud of it at the time. I went to the graduation ceremony (very posh) and even framed the diploma.

But I no longer put that degree on my vita, and I lost the diploma somewhere along the way.  Thinking back on that experience, I wonder at my naivete.  I sat in packed classrooms containing as many as 200 students, and most of my teachers were nontenured instructors.  

One of my Harvard professors enjoyed rock-star status while I was there. She gave one two-hour lecture a week for a four-hour course. Her graduate students taught the other two hours.  Office hours? If you wanted to see this professor, you had to submit a written petition to one of her graduate students explaining why your appointment was worth this professor's precious time.

I say again. If you are thinking about taking out loans to get an Ivy League master's degree, read the WSJ article first.  If you still want to pursue that path, consult a good therapist--because you are delusional.

If you are from Oklahoma, a Harvard degree won't take the range dust out of your diction.