Bernie Sanders unveils 'revolutionary' student loan debt proposal...and its price tag

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Monday a new plan that would cancel Americans' student loan debt and make tuition free at all public two and four-year colleges. 

According to The Washington Post, Sanders is proposing that the government eliminate all $1.6 trillion in student loan debt that is owed by 45 million Americans. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) joined Sanders on Monday at his announcement. Omar and Jayapal are expected to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives, which would cancel all student loan debt in the U.S. 

“Today we are, in fact, offering a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders said, "a proposal that will transform and improve our country in many, many, ways in a highly competitive global economy when we need the best-educated workforce in the world, this proposal would make possible for every person in America to get all of the education they need, regardless of their financial status."

[RELATED: FREE, FREE, FREE: 2020 Dems dish up higher ed policies]

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According to a fact sheet released by Sanders' office, the estimated cost of the bill, $2.2 trillion, would be paid for by creating a Wall Street speculation tax of .05 percent on stock trades, a .005 percent fee on derivatives, and a 0.1 percent fee on bonds.

Interest rates on future student loans would also be capped at rates no higher than the federal government pays for its debt.

Forty-eight billion dollars per year would be provided to states and tribes in order to eliminate tuition and fee costs associated with college.

In addition to canceling all current student loan debt and making two and four-year public universities tuition-free, the bill “eliminates or reduce” tuition and fees for low-income students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). According to the document, around 200 schools would be included in this.

[RELATED: Bernie Sanders' home state could soon offer 'free' college tuition]

The bill would also lessen the burden on room and board expenses associated with attending a university, as low-income students would be allowed to use the Pell Grant for housing, books, transportation, and other costs.

For students coming from families that make less than $25,000, states would be required to cover the “full

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13375

EXCLUSIVE: Gibson's Bakery lawyer accuses Oberlin College of pushing 'alternative facts'

In an exclusive Campus Reform interview, Ohio attorney Lee Plakas, who represented Gibson's Bakery in its defamation lawsuit against Oberlin College, said that in the aftermath of the jury's verdict, the college is continuing to push "alternative facts," which, he says, suggests the college believes it is "above the law" and that the judicial process "shouldn't be respected." 

An Ohio jury recently sided with Gibson's Bakery, awarding the small business and the family that owns it $44 million in damages after it determined Oberlin College employees used school resources to defame the bakery over a 2016 shoplifting incident involving three minority students. 

According to documents obtained by Plakas and shared with Campus Reform, Oberlin College employees stated that the bakery racially profiled the minority students and that the small family-owned business, which relies heavily on the college community for its business, had a history of racial profiling and other racist activity.

[RELATED: Oberlin College newspaper editorial blames 'increasingly authoritarian country' for school's legal trouble]

The three minority students all pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and later admitted that the 2016 incident was, in fact, not racially motivated, as previously claimed. Despite the three students admitting guilt and correcting the record, however, Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar refused to accept the jury's verdict. 

"Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome," Ambar said.

"We will take the time we need to thoughtfully consider the course that is in Oberlin’s best interests. I will update the community as we make these decisions. I am confident that when we resolve this matter, it will look substantially different than it looks today," Ambar added. "We are disappointed in the jury’s decisions and the fragmentary and sometimes distorted public discussion of this case. But we respect the integrity of the jury, and we value our relationship with the town and region that are our home. We will learn from this lawsuit as we build a stronger relationship with our neighbors."

In an exclusive interview with Campus Reform, Plakas blasted the college's response, accusing it of pushing "alternative facts." 

[RELATED: Oberlin College just learned a $44 MILLION lesson]

"The fact that the college is doubling down and trying to send out its own alternative

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13374

Montana legislators fail to override Dem governor's campus free speech veto

Montana legislators failed to revive a free speech bill that was vetoed by the governor after passing both the state Senate and House.

House Bill 735 would have banned free speech zones on public college campuses in Montana, which would make every outdoor area open to all speech. The legislation received 28 override votes in the Senate and 56 in the House, which was short of the 67 House and 34 Senate votes it needed to pass, according to KRTV.  

Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock, a 2020 presidential candidate, had previously vetoed the bill, arguing that public institutions already follow the First Amendment.

The legislation would have required that every public institution of higher education in Montana have policies protecting the freedom of expression.

Bullock said in a letter to the Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton that he has been “assured” that “[public colleges’/universities’] policies are entirely consistent with -- and, indeed, promote -- our constitutional values of free speech and free assembly.”

[RELATED: 2020 Dem presidential candidate OPPOSES free speech legislation]

The governor said in his veto letter that the legislation would “restrict how a student can vindicate her rights where they have been violated.”

"Any American who believes their federal constitutional rights have been violated can file suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983," Bullock noted. "This landmark statute has protected and enhanced our American system of ordered liberty for decades. It is the tool behind the biggest civil rights victories of the past generation. There are similar tools in state law."

However, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) disagrees with his assertion, and lists on its website that multiple schools have constitutional issues with their free speech policies.

For example, one of Montana’s largest public universities, Montana State University, operates a “free speech area” on its campus, where speakers can “speak on any subject of interest.”

Montana’s largest public institution, Montana State University (MSU), has a “yellow light” rating on free speech and operates a bias policy that states that MSU can take action “when a student’s speech or expression has impacted another student, faculty or staff’s ability to work and learn in an environment free

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13372

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Sen. Tim Scott on campus anti-Semitism, free speech, and more

Earlier this year, Sen. Tim Scott (R- SC) sponsored the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bill that seeks to fight the spread of anti-semitism on college campuses. 

Campus Reform’s Emma Meshell joined Scott in his Washington, D.C. office for an exclusive interview to discuss the bill and get his perspective on the state of higher education today.  

Citing a sharp increase in anti-Semitism on college campuses in the past three years, Scott explained that his legislation seeks to establish a consistent and detailed definition of anti-Semitism at the federal level. 

[RELATED: Senators aim to crack down on campus anti-Semitism, of which there is plenty]

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“If you look at the last three years, there’s been a 100 percent increase in anti-Semitism on college campuses. We’re trying to combat that, and hopefully this sends the message on who we are as Americans, which starts on our college campuses,” he said, referencing the legislation’s purpose.  

Scott also spoke to the importance of students understanding our nation’s history. He said, “understanding the founding principles that have guided us for 243 years is incredibly important,” continuing on to say that "if you build the foundation on the rock, it withstands the storms that come...Knowing your foundation and your history is an important part of the equation.”

“The concepts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness start with the fact that we have to respect people who are not like you. That’s a fascinating concept that is unique to the American psyche and identity,” he said, in reference to a need for civility in America. 

Calling for increased dialogue and discourse on our campuses, Scott said, “we don’t have to agree with one another, but we do have to respect each other.”

[RELATED: Nearly a dozen U.S. senators sponsor campus free speech resolution]

Touching on the future of America, Scott called for students to learn about our history as a nation, saying, “this human experiment in America has proven to be the most amazing transformational experience the world has ever seen. For it to continue, we need our college students and future leaders embracing the concepts that were a part of our foundation.”

“We are starving for civility in th

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13371

Oberlin College newspaper editorial blames 'increasingly authoritarian country' for school's legal trouble

Oberlin College's student newspaper editorial board blasted national media coverage of the Gibson’s Bakery trial, saying that it “misses the mark,” and that the ruling is part of an “increasingly authoritarian country.”

The Oberlin Review’s editorial board published an editorial Wednesday, titled “Media Coverage of Gibson’s Verdict Misses the Mark,” in which it strongly criticized how national media covered the case resulting in the college being ordered to pay Gibson's Bakery $44 million. 

“Earlier this month, a jury awarded Gibson’s Bakery $11 million following a month-long trial stemming from the bakery’s lawsuit against Oberlin College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo,” the editorial board wrote. "Then, last Thursday, it added $33 million in punitive damages. This stunning decision — which strikes a serious blow against free speech on college campuses across the country — has garnered significant attention in major media outlets such as CNN and The New York Times, as well as on social media and various personal blogs.”

[RELATED: Oberlin College just learned a $44 MILLION lesson]

In 2016, three African American students were in a physical incident directly outside of the bakery after the son of the store’s owner accused one of the students of shoplifting, according to the report. Oberlin students then claimed that they had been racially profiled, which  prompted boycotts and protests of the bakery. A year after the incident, Gibson’s sued the college for coordinating a smear campaign.

The editorial board takes issue with the national media and claims “much of the coverage and commentary has either inaccurately represented the lawsuit and the events that led up to it, or has only presented parts of the larger story.”

Members of the editorial board “identified three of the key ways that existing coverage has skewed of misrepresented events leading up to the trial.”

First, the board claims that Gibson’s employees have had a pretty good amount of control in the media because the initial police report was “wildly prejudiced in favor of Gibson’s.” They claim that there was no perspective from any of the three African Americans in the police report.

“This omission is meaningful — particularly in a country with

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13370

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