Stop being so judgmental.
Sociology researchers are now insisting that we as a society start accepting people who choose to “identify as real vampires” – so that they can be open about the fact that they’re vampires without having to worry about facing discrimination from people who might think that that’s weird.
The study, titled “Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires’ Fears of Coming out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals” was conducted by researchers from Idaho State University and College of the Canyons and the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles.
“Most vampires believe they were born that way; they don’t choose this,” said Dr. D. J. Williams, the study’s lead researcher and the director of sociology at Idaho State. The study is based on the experiences of eleven “real” vampires – which, by the way, are different from “lifestyle vampires.”
“Lifestylers,” the study explains, are people who just do things like wear fangs and sleep in coffins as lifestyle choices, and although “real vampires” may do these things too, they all also have one major thing in common that distinguishes them from the “lifestylers:”
“The essential feature of real vampirism is their belief in the need to take in ‘subtle energy’ (called feeding) from time to time from a willing ‘donor’ in order to maintain physical, psychological and spiritual health,” the study explains.
“Unlike lifestyle vampires, real vampires believe that they do not choose their vampiric condition; they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation,” it continues.
Some of these “real vampires” prefer to feed on “psychic or pranic energy” while others, called “sanguinarians,” prefer to feed on “small amounts” of human or animal blood.
(Of the eleven “real vampires” interviewed for the study, three said they preferred psychic energy, three said they preferred blood, and five said they got energy from multiple sources.)
Williams explained that no one should be bothered by a person wanting to drink another person’s blood because “it is generally expected within the community that vampires should act ethically and responsibly in feeding practices,” and it’s not their blood-drinking that’s the real problem here – it’s the fact that they have to worry that other people will judge them for their blood-drinking.
After all, the study reported that all of the participants seemed to “function normally” based on questions about their careers and “psychiatric histories” (apparently, believing you need to drink blood in order to function was not taken to be an indicator of a psychological problem) and yet “nearly all participants were distrustful of social workers and helping professionals and preferred to ‘stay in the coffin’ for fear of being misunderstood, labeled, and potentially having to face severe repercussions to their lives.”
Ugh – how unfair!
“The message is to not take things at face value, to be more aware of our stereotypes and our judgments, maybe focus on commonalities that people have,” Williams said in an interview with MTV.
“People understand themselves in very different ways, and that’s OK. We’re all human. We all have a lot of things in common. I think a little more awareness of our own biases and more cultural sensitivity – more compassion – that’s really the important thing underlying all of this,” he said.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is poised to win a huge victory on education as the state legislature passed a budget that repeals state tenure guarantees while also slashing the budget of the University of Wisconsin.
The victory was enunciated by the acquiescence of the university, which recognized its defeat by passing a spending plan that implements Walker’s cuts. All that remains is for Walker to consummate his victory by affixing his signature to the budget.
The two-year, $73 billion budget approved Thursday makes a host of changes Walker has sought in the realm of education. Wisconsin’s school voucher program is expanded, and $250 million in funding is taken from the University of Wisconsin. That’s down from the $300 million cut Walker originally sought, but still a substantial haircut.
Bowing to the fait accompli, later on Thursday the University of Wisconsin approved its own budget, implementing the big cuts expected of it. About 400 positions will be laid off or will go unfilled, and the university’s budgets no money for pay hikes. The school’s situation is made tougher because the legislature has also frozen in-state tuition.
While academics have accused Walker of sabotaging the school’s competitiveness, Walker has refused to yield, arguing that professors should be teaching more classes.
Walker’s push to slash spending at U-Wisconsin has received the most press, but his push to alter tenure may have the biggest long-term implications. Until now, tenure for professors at the University of Wisconsin has been protected by statute (Wisconsin is the only state with such a law). Now, that protection has been eliminated, leaving it up to the school’s board of regents to decide whether professors have tenure.
Not only that, but tenure itself has been weakened so that it doesn’t offer the protections it once did. Previously, only “financial exigency” (an urgent budget shortfall) could justify the firing of a tenured professor. Now, tenured professors may also be laid off whenever it is “deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision regarding program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection.”
The budget also rolls back the principle of “shared governance,” in which faculty are given heavy leeway to control the governance of their own departments. Instead, faculty are assigned a primary advisory role for helping the chancellor.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent a letter to Walker Friday begging him to veto the changes, saying they would drive away current and prospective faculty.
“Over its 165-year history, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has built an international reputation for the highest quality research and teaching,” said Blank. “For us to attract and retain the best faculty in the global higher education marketplace, it is imperative that UW-Madison not be seen as offering a less attractive package than can be found at our peer institutions.”
But given that rolling back tenure is Walker’s idea in the first place, a veto at the eleventh hour is a very unlikely concession.
Angry faculty have directed a great deal of venom toward Blank and the UW board of regents, accusing them of letting the tenure provisions pass by failing to make a loud protest.
Walker is expected to sign the budget by Monday, when he is scheduled to officially announce his presidential campaign.
Al-Shabaab terrorists interrogated students whether they were Christian or Muslim as they went door-to-door during this morning’s early morning massacre at a Kenyan university, killing at least 15 people.
The group raided the Garissa University campus shortly after 5am local time, overwhelming guards and killing anyone the suspected of being a Christian.
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said that only 280 of the 815 students in the college have so far been accounted for.
The terrorists stuck mid-way through Holy Week, the most solemn period in the Christian calendar. Tonight, the Christian students were planning to celebrate the Last Supper in preparation tomorrow for Good Friday.
Kenyan security officials said one of the terrorists has been arrested after he tried to escape the compound.
They have also offered a $220,000 bounty for Mohammed Mohamud, known as Dulyadin, alias Gamadhere, who they suspect of masterminding the attack.
Eye-witness Collins Wetangula, the vice chairman of the student union, said he was preparing to take a shower when he heard gunshots coming from Tana dorm, which hosts both men and women, 150 meters (yards) away.
The campus has six dormitories and at least 887 students, he said.
The remaining terrorists have been cornered in one of the four remaining dormitories according to Kenyan security officials.
He said that when he heard the gunshots he locked himself and three roommates in their room. ‘All I could hear were footsteps and gunshots nobody was screaming because they thought this would lead the gunmen to know where they are.
‘The gunmen were saying sisi ni al-Shabaab (Swaihi for we are al-Shabaab).’
Mr Wetangula said he could hear the gunmen interrogating fellow students hiding inside their rooms about their religion.
He said: ‘If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot. With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.’
The gunmen started to shoot rapidly and it was as if there was an exchange of fire, he said.
‘The next thing, we saw people in military uniform through the window of the back of our rooms who identified themselves as the Kenyan military.’
The soldiers took him and approximately 20 others to safety.
As they were running, al-Shabaab snipers on top of a three-storey building attempted to gun them down.
He added: ‘We started running and bullets were whizzing past our heads and the soldiers told us to dive.’
Fellow student, Augustine Alanga, 21, described a panicked scene as gunshots rang out outside their dormitory.
He said he saw at least five heavily-armed terrorists wearing masks.
He said: ‘I am just now recovering from the pain as I injured myself while trying to escape. I was running barefoot.’
He told journalists he crossed barbed-wire fencing to escape the massacre.
Mr Alanga said any students attending morning prayers at the university’s mosque at 5.30am were not attacked.
It is understood that some of the terrorists have taken sniper positions and have been shooting police officers trying to retake the campus
One policeman said: ‘I have counted 14 bodies of dead people being carried out of the campus by a Red Cross ambulance, and they include two of our officers who were also killed
‘We are finding it difficult to access the compound because some of the attackers are on top of a building and are firing at us whenever we try to gain entry.’
A spokesman for al-Shabaab said it was claiming responsibility for the latest atrocity.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s ‘military operations spokesman’ said: ‘We sorted people out and released the Muslims.
‘There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building. We are also holding many Christians alive. Fighting still goes on inside the college.’
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that a hostage situation had now developed between his men and the remaining gunmen, who are holding the students.
Troops have so far cleared three of the four dormitories.
President Kenyatta said he was going to fast-track the recruitment of 10,000 new police officers to tackle the al-Shabaab menace.
Just last week, the Chief Security Officer at the University of Nairobi feared an attack was imminent and issued a security warning – but it is unclear whether the same information was relayed to Garissa officials.
It’s believed the gunmen attacked in the early hours, ‘during morning prayers’, setting off explosions and exchanging gunfire with security services for several hours, Kenyan media and the Red Cross said.
Witness Milka Ndung’u told NTV that the gunfire was popping ‘like fireworks’ from about 5am local time.
Ms Ndung’u said she and other students ran for their lives and took cover in a nearby field, but when the gunmen took aim, they were forced to flee their hiding spot.
Another student, Augustine Alanga, told CNN he too was woken by the shooting and looked out to see colleagues running for cover.
Musa Yego said gunshots and explosions could be heard from a building on the campus, which is surrounded by police and a military compound.
A press release tweeted by Joseph Boinnet, the second Inspector General of Police of Kenya, confirmed the shooting began at 5.30am when attackers fired at guards at the main gate of the university.
‘Police officers who were at the time guarding the students’ hostels heard the gunshots and responded swiftly and engaged the gunmen in a fierce shootout,’ the statement from police reads.
‘However the attackers retreated and gained entry in the hostels.
Police further stated ‘they are currently engaged in an elaborate process of flushing out the gunmen from the hostels’.
Al-Shabab militants have previously vowed retribution against Kenya for sending troops to Somalia.
The Somalia-based group has carried out several attacks in Garissa and across Kenya, including the 2013 attack on an upscale shopping mall in the capital Nairobi.
Kenya sent its troops into Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabaab militants following cross-border attacks.
Last month, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for attacks in the county of Mandera on the Somali border in which twelve people died.
Four of them died in an attack on the convoy of Mandera County Governor Ali Roba.
Police statistics show that 312 people have been killed in al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya from 2012 to 2014. Thirty-eight people were killed and 149 wounded in Garissa in the same period.
An atheist activist group is demanding an apology from a university chancellor over the contents of a video that he reportedly recently shared with students and staff members.
American Atheists president David Silverman wrote a letter to Dr. Jack Hawkins, chancellor of Troy University in Troy, Alabama, on December 31, on behalf of a concerned student at the school who took issue with the video, which was reportedly included in the chancellor’s end-of-year email to students.
The short clip featured comments from Clay Christensen, a noted professor at Harvard Business School, who discussed his views on religion and morality in American society.
Christensen, a Mormon, said that he had spoken to a Marxist economist from China some time ago who shared with Christensen what he was most surprised to learn about American democracy after spending some time in the United States.
“I asked him if he had learned anything that was surprising or unexpected and without any hesitation he said, ‘Yeah, I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy,” Christensen said in the video.
The professor went on to claim that the Marxist economist expressed his view that democracy works due to the fact that most people voluntarily choose to obey the law and that people have traditionally seen themselves as being accountable not only to society, but also to God.
Christensen also said that he personally shares concerns about where America is headed.
“As religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans, what will happen to our democracy?” he said. “Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they, too, need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws?”
It is unclear in what context the video was shared with Troy University staff and students in Hawkins’ email, though Al.com claims that the clip was attached to a message in which Hawkins’ mentioned “the blessings we enjoy within a democracy which is the envy of the world.”
The inclusion of the video has Silverman and American Atheists demanding a public apology.
Watch the video below:
“The video asserts that religion, particularly Judeo-Christian beliefs, are necessary to be moral, law- abiding citizens, and implies that those who do not attend church will be anti-democracy and anti-social members of society,” Silverman’s letter reads. “Atheists are not a trivial minority.”
The note goes on to chastise Hawkins for using the public university’s email system and his position at the school “to disparage atheists and minority religious groups as well as perpetuating the discrimination and anti-patriotic sentiment against atheists in the United States.”
Silverman goes on in the letter to tell Hawkins that atheists, on average, have fewer abortions, divorces and lower poverty rates, among other indicators, claiming that it is not necessary to be a person of faith in order to be considered moral; sources are not offered in the letter to back these claims.
A representative for the university told TheBlaze in a statement that the email was meant to “spur introspection,” though the response did not directly address Silverman or his letter.
“The purpose of this email was to spur introspection and encourage thoughtful discussion as we transition from the challenges of 2014 to the opportunities ahead in 2015,” it read. “Troy University is an international university that contributes regularly to the global marketplace of ideas. This message and video were shared to provide the university community with information and insights for healthy consideration and debate about our country’s democracy, the role it plays in the world and the challenges America faces going forward.”
The director of public safety at Concordia University Chicago has been charged with two misdemeanors because, police say, he masturbated into a shoe belonging to a female employee of the school.
The alleged masturbator is Tim Margis, reports Oak Leaves, a local suburban newspaper.
Police say the incident occurred on Feb. 10 at approximately 9:30 p.m. somewhere on the campus of the private Lutheran school.
The unidentified female employee saw Margis, 38, leaving her office. He was buttoning up his pants, she said. He was fastening his belt.
The woman told police she asked Margis why he was in her office. He explained that he was merely checking things out because the door had been left ajar.
Later, the woman claimed, she found a mysterious “clear liquid” on the inside of one of the shoes she had left in the office.
Two days later, on Feb. 12, police detectives interviewed Margis at his home and, they say, he confessed to entering the employee’s office and leaving the “clear liquid” there.
Margis faces two charges: public indecency and disorderly conduct. Both are misdemeanors.
He is also out of a job. On Feb. 12, school officials suspended Margis and banned him from campus.
“We cooperated fully with the investigation and he was terminated on Feb. 13 for misconduct, less than 24 hours later,” Concordia spokesman Eric Matanyi told Oak Leaves.
Concordia University Chicago isn’t actually in Chicago. It’s in River Forest, a suburb one suburb over from Chicago that is filled with huge old mansions and the occasional Frank Lloyd Wright house (or Frank Lloyd Wright knockoff).
The highly religious school is affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The campus is dry. Students and faculty members are encouraged to attend a short chapel service each weekday.
On its website, Concordia describes itself as focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The life of Christ is lived-out [sic] in countless ways at Concordia: from the classroom, to the dorm room, to the practice field, to the concert hall, our students are being formed to lead and serve with ‘integrity, creativity, competence and compassion’-all in His name.”
Missouri State University officials are discussing whether to ban nerf guns after a professor confused the toy for a real gun.
CBS Local reported:
Missouri State University officials are discussing whether to limit or ban the use of Nerf guns used in a popular weeklong campus game.
About 500 people took part in October’s “Humans vs. Zombies” game, in which players try to tag other people, who then become zombies. The humans can defend themselves by stunning the zombies with Nerf guns or balled-up socks.
During October’s game, a professor called 911 and put a classroom on lockdown after thinking he saw a real gun. And the university’s safety and transportation department got several calls to its non-emergency number while the game was being played, The Springfield News-Leader reported.
The game is not played inside but it does go on at all hours of the day. The Nerf guns can sometimes look like real weapons, particularly in low-light, said Don Clark, director of the university’s Department of Safety and Transportation.
When we get that call, we have to make the initial assessment that it might be a real gun,” he said.
Several colleges across the country have banned Nerf guns.
School administrators at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) are systematically raising the final grades of African-American students, three ex-faculty members told Campus Reform last month.
Former Director of Academic Technology Shira Hedgepeth, along with two former professors who spoke to Campus Reform on the condition of anonymity, alleged administrators at the historically black college routinely increase the final grades of African-American students in order to raise the school’s standing.
“Some students had their final grades changed based on their race,” Hedgepeth told Campus Reform on June 6. “That was a common complaint of many of the faculty that I worked with.”
“None of the Caucasian or non-African American students… none of their grades were changed,” she added. “The way the grades fell out, there was no other reason for changing.”
Documents provided to Campus Reform by one of the former faculty members appear to validate these claims. Campus Reform has chosen not to publish the records due to concerns that doing so may violate the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act by revealing the names and grades of students.
According to Hedgepeth, and the two former professors who were granted anonymity because of they feared speaking out may jeopardize their retirement, instructors would submit final grades to the school only to have them later revised upwards by administrators as a way to “take care of their African American students.”
“There is no other motivation,” said Hedgepeth. “If you work on that campus you know it. Everything that was done was to make sure we service the African American students.”
WSSU’s spokesman, Aaron Singleton, however, told Campus Reform that the university had received no complaints.
“I checked throughout our administration and the university has not heard of any of those allegations,” said Singleton. “No one has filed any complaints at the university.”
According to one of the former professors, however, several faculty members have filed numerous complaints which were ignored.
“I have reported everything,” the professor said. “I doubt anything was done.”
“I have tried reaching out to our accrediting body but they would not take complaints such as these,” added Hedgepeth. “We have done everything we can to get somebody to start looking.”
Another former professor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the practice is ongoing.
“Oh yes, definitely,” said the former professor. “Oh yes, it is still going on.”
The two professors wished to remain anonymous due to fears the school would retaliate against them.
“All the faculty, white and black are very fearful to speak,” said one of the professors. “The department is run by fear and through retaliation. If you speak out you will be retaliated against.”
Hedgepeth was terminated by WSSU in 2011. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has since ruled she was a victim of racial discrimination when she was terminated. She now has two pending lawsuits filed against the school.
Clashes escalated near Cairo University in the capital’s Giza district late Tuesday night, where supporters of President Mohamed Morsi continue to demonstrate.
According to the latest health ministry statements, 16 people were killed and at least 200 injured.
Those injured included a police officer – Satea El-Nomany – who was shot in the eye, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website.
Security forces have reportedly intervened in an effort to end the clashes.
According to eyewitnesses cited by Reuters, gunshots were heard in the area and police were seen firing tear gas.
Pro-Morsi demonstrators began gathering outside Cairo University late Monday night in response to millions-strong opposition rallies demanding that Morsi step down.
Clashes erupted in the area hours before Morsi’s Tuesday night televised address, in which he defied calls to step down, citing his democratic legitimacy.
More and more accommodation…
REPORT: University of Chicago removed pews from 88-year old chapel to accommodate Islamic prayers Campus Forum, June 10, 2013 (hat tip snake)
University of Chicago (UC) administrators permanently removed pews from an 88-year old chapel on campus in order to accommodate Islamic prayers, according to a local news report.
Photograph of the chapel before its pews were removed last year.
Chicago NPR affiliate, WBEZ news, reported on May 23, the pews, which are now part of display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, were “removed in order to provide Muslim students a place to pray.”
Literature describing the artwork that was created by UC Director of Arts and Public Life Theaster Gates, also describes the removal of the pews as symbol of religious tolerance.
“The pews were recently removed from the chapel in order to offer Muslim students a place to pray, a symbolic gesture of religious tolerance,” according to an official description of the exhibit which includes a “set of repurposed pews from the University of Chicago’s campus church.”
A spokesperson for UC also appeared to confirm the reason for the pews’ removal in a statement emailed to Campus Reform on Friday.
“The benches were removed… to make Bond Chapel a more appropriate comfortable space for its many uses: ceremonial, spiritual, and artistic,” said Susie Allen.
Allen, however, said the primary purpose for the change, which was part of a broader renovation, was to “accommodate the installation of a Boroque-style organ.”
The UC Muslim Student Association (MSA) also announced in its 2012-2013 edition of The Complete Muslims Guide to UChicago that Friday prayers would be held in the chapel once renovation was complete.
“Bond Chapel is where Friday prayers will be held once construction is over,” it says.
“Insha’Allah, Jumuah prayer will be held in Bond Chapel every Friday this quarter,” reads another announcement on the MSA Chicago website.
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) hosted an event in the school’s main chapel last week aimed at preparing students to pursue careers in pornography.
“Have you ever wondered how to get into the porn industry?” asked an online invite for the event. “Have you ever wanted to see your favorite performers in clothing?”
The event, entitled “A Night With the Stars: Life, Love, and Sex in the Workplace,” was held in the college’s Graham Chapel on Feb. 8. It included presentations from porn superstars Tori Black, James Deen, and Lance Hart.
“As St. Francis said, where there is hate f—, let there be love,” Hart said at one point in the event, according to an article in the independent school newspaper, Student Life.
The article also mentioned that when Deen asked those interested in becoming porn stars to stand up, only three students did so.
The porn night was part of a larger sex week, funded with $10,350 of student fees, Megan Lane, vice president of the Student Health Advisory Committee, told Campus Reform.
Those mandatory student activity fee amounts to one percent of tuition, according to information on the college’s website. For the 2012-13 school year, they amounted to $212.50 per student, per semester.
Lane said student funding is distributed based on a vote of the Student Union Treasury (SUT) – and that the administration stands wholeheartedly behind the SUT’s decisions.
“The administration is very supportive of any choice the students make when it comes to funding,” she said on Monday.
Lane added the sex week was aimed at expressing how the college students “view sex as a culture.”
Inviting stars and producers from the porn industry to college campus – using money from student fees – has apparently become a trend on college campuses nationwide.
On Feb. 7, the University of Illinois hosted an “Orgasm Workshop” taught by Annie Sprinkle, a porn star from the 1970s and 80s who starred in adult films such as “Big Busty 3.”
On Feb. 15, Axel Braun – the director of 400 pornographic films – will be flown in from Los Angeles to the University of Chicago campus for a Q & A session as part of the school’s sex week.