My last day will at Western will be Friday, August 10th, 2018. It’s been a great four years here in the PNW, but I’m ready to move on to some new adventures. I plan to travel, visit with friends and family, and embrace the new adventures and opportunities that emerge.
Working with the faculty, staff, and students at WWU has been a privilege. The experiences, challenges, and friendships will be forever a part of me as I go forward.
“In the United States, we require the registration of every child between the age of five and seventeen. Each week, we select one or more schools at random. From those schools, some number of these registered children are executed at gunpoint to preserve our freedom to own guns.”
This statement seems like exaggeration, but it’s the current state of affairs in the United States. The details vary slightly with each event, but to properly understand our culture, this truth must be acknowledged. The absurdity of child sacrifice to prevent an imagined forfeiture of 2nd amendment rights will be immediately obvious to whomever excavates the USA’s future remains. To remain willfully ignorant of the dangers of gun culture is a staggering act of contempt towards every American child.
To end this madness, we must reject the central conceit of the Constitution, which is that the majority must be kept in check. The primary function of the Constitution is to establish the rule of law as an agreement. However, a secondary function of the Constitution was to enshrine the right to slavery. To protect slavery, the basic tenet of majority rule had to be rejected in favor of super-majority. In the case of slavery, we did not achieve a peaceful resolution. Only through civil war were we able to end that national nightmare. If we can first amend the constitution to eliminate the cap on the number of representatives, then follow that amendment with a second eliminating the senate, we’ll take a big step towards a more perfect union in the United States.
No matter the issue, we must directly, constitutionally end the second amendment right to personal ownership of firearms. We can honor our tradition of an armed citizenry through the creation of intentional militias. The weapons systems of today are simply too dangerous to be distributed among the general population without oversight.
We have to pursue these changes bravely. It will cause dissent in our families. It will estrange us from those who’s principal allegiance is to personal gun ownership. However, the ongoing sacrifice of children to gun violence is the stark cost of our INACTION. Each delay in restricting or eliminating access to guns is paid in lives: the lives of our friends, the lives our family members, or the lives of school children. We must find the sense of urgency to not only advocate and pursue action, but to reject those who work against that end.
“Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” by Jon Krakauer
The legal system is a common venue for dramatic story-telling. It’s where the messy details of life intersect with the need for a rigorous dispute resolution system. Centuries of practice documented in libraries of written texts strain to address rapid changes in our society. Krakauer’s review of rape and sexual assaults in the college town of Missoula puts this tension between legal custom and contemporary culture on display. The book provides context for the invigorated Title IX changes and stands as an example of why the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter was necessary and long overdue.
Most of us who work in housing have responded to students who’ve been sexually victimized. I have personally witnessed victim’s support systems and friend groups unravel when they report their rape. This book lays bare the way in which well-meaning people victimize and scrutinize those who report sexual assault in ways that would be unthinkable in any other reported crime. This book will certainly be added to my recommended readings list for Resident Directors. I would also recommend that any parent of a teenage male read this book. It provides a window into the ways young men often fail to grasp the importance of establishing affirmative consent and misinterpret women’s responses to male sexual aggression. Empowering our culture to raise young men who proactively understand and respect their partner’s physical and sexual boundaries is among our most crucial tasks. This “Missoula”contributes to our shared understanding of how we often fail victims and what we can do to improve.
Read more here.
What a wild ride since my last post on the changes to FLSA overtime exemption rules. A Texas judge granted a national injunction at the request of 21 states and business organizations, stating that the new salary threshold specified in the law was “executive overreach” and required a change in the law from Congress.
The late announcement poses an interesting choice to employers: rescind announced salary changes or leave them in place? It seems likely that, at most institutions, salary increases will not be sustained if the FLSA rule change is nixed. Higher Ed professionals should expect some very thorough “dialogues” with “stakeholders” that will ultimately return the almost-non-exempt back to their status quo at current salary.
Terminating FLSA overtime expansion is the first shot in what’s shaping up to be four years of political warfare over the new status-quo on a host of social and workplace issues. The electoral college is giving us a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 2 million voters; slim Republican majorities in the House and Senate exacerbate the uncertainty.
The social and economic agendas of the progressive majority is on a collision course with the politically-empowered minority coalition of corporate barons and Culture Crusaders. Those of us in Higher Ed should be surveying our institutional landscape, identifying vulnerable students and programs, and preparing to support and defend them in hostile climate.
The recent changes to FLSA overtime regulations have significant implications for those of us in the Housing and Residence Life profession. The rules go into effect on December 1st, 2016, and you can bet there will be no shortage of discussion on this topic at every local, regional, and national association meeting.
The topic of labor costs has received the lion’s share of professional attention from Continue reading →