Archive for April, 2011

April 4th 2011
And now, from the department of the bloody obvious. . .

Posted under American history & childhood & students & the body & unhappy endings

Via The Daily Beast:

A study presented this week found that, next to time spent studying outside the classroom, time spent drinking was the most reliable predictor of a student’s grade point average. Todd Wyatt, a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, looked at how today’s busy college students allocate their time between different activities. The research surveyed about 13,900 incoming freshman at 167 schools, and found that certain activities could reliably predict academic success. He performed the study along with his colleague Bill DeJong and presented it this week at the American College Personnel Association conference.

Wyatt found that, after time spent studying, the amount of time a student spent drinking was the strongest predictor of that student’s GPA – even more so than time spent in the classroom. “The more time spent partying with alcohol, there’s a significant decrease in GPA,” said Wyatt. This was true even though various other non-studious activities, like wiling away hours on Facebook, had virtually no effect on grades.

The study’s findings hold true even when narrowed to include only elite schools – big-name universities where students are famous for studying hard and partying hard. Continue Reading »


April 3rd 2011
Manning Marable, dead at 60

Posted under American history & race & unhappy endings

Tragic.  Sixty seems far too young in the lifetime of a scholar.  From the New York Times obituary: 

At nearly 600 pages, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” to be published by Viking, presents a hefty counterweight to the well-known account “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”

The autobiography, long considered a classic of the 1960s civil rights struggle, was an “as told to” book written with Alex Haley and published in 1965.

Mr. Marable, drawing on new sources, archival material and government documents unavailable to Mr. Haley, developed a fuller account of Malcolm X’s politics, religious beliefs and personal life, as well as his role in the civil rights movement and the circumstances of his assassination. Continue Reading »


April 2nd 2011
Wisconsin’s response to FOIA request for Cronon e-mails

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs

Via Shakesville and Scholar as Citizen, I saw yesterday afternoon that University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin has responded with a letter that says they have complied with the request, but she concludes the letter with a strong defense of academic freedom.  If you read the letter from the university counsel’s office, it stands up for William Cronon and his use of his e-mail account.  (It also explains why they’re not turning over a lot of his e-mails:  FERPA, privacy rights, etc.)  Read the whole thing hereCronon’s takeaway:

The second is an eloquent statement by UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin articulating the principles at stake in this case. In it, she affirms the university’s commitment to honoring the Wisconsin Public Records Law while making the strongest possible argument that academic freedom must be taken into account when responding to open records requests lest the freedom of inquiry and freedom of thought at a great public research university be threatened or eroded. 

I will be writing more fully in a future post concerning what I’ve learned about the challenge of balancing freedom of information with freedom of inquiry, but I don’t want to waste any time in encouraging everyone to read these two documents carefully.

I could not be more grateful for the thought and care that Biddy Martin and UW-Madison attorneys have put into crafting these responses–and I am very proud of this university for continuing to defend the great traditions of the Wisconsin Idea and of the “sifting and winnowing” plaque that I discussed in my earlier blog entry (the “sifting and winnowing” section is toward the end). Continue Reading »


April 1st 2011
Goldbricking teacher’s unionist feeding at the public trough

Posted under American history & bad language & childhood & jobs & unhappy endings & women's history

Here’s one who sucked at the government’s teat for nearly 40 years!  What an a$$hole.  Clearly, we need more productive, private-sector workers, like corporate lobbyists and hedge fund managers.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  Continue Reading »


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