Decolonization Day 2014
(photos by Elizabeth Brossa)
Want to attend college for free? It can happen if you learn German.
All German universities are now free to Americans and all other international students. The last German state to charge tuition at its universities struck down the fees this week.
Even before Germany abolished college tuition for all students, the price was a steal. Typically semester fees were around $630. What’s more, German students receive many perks including discounts for food, clothing and events, as well as inexpensive or even free transportation.
In explaining why Germany made this move, Dorothee Stapelfeldt, a Hamburg senator, called tuition fees “unjust” and added that “they discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”
Actually, German universities were free up until 2006 when they started charging tuition. That triggered such a crush of criticism that German states began phasing out this policy. Lower Saxony was the last holdout.
It’s too bad that politicians in the U.S. don’t feel that a college education is worth supporting appropriately. State aid to the nation’s public universities took a nosedive during the 2008 recession and education funding remains well below those levels. The average state is spending 23 percent less per student than before the recession, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Actually, state support has been declining for public universities for a quarter of a century. Using an interactive tool from The Chronicle of Higher Education, you can see how state government subsidies have cratered at individual institutions.
With the average undergrad borrower now leaving school with more than $29,000 in debt, the free ride in Germany can look awfully tempting.
How to handle the language barrier
German is not an easy language to learn. Fortunately, however, there are international language programs in Germany, which have become very popular with international students before they tackle obtaining a degree in a different language.
What’s more, an increasing number of German universities are offering degrees in English. These are often called international studies programs or in some other way have the word international in their title.
This is actually making me cry…it’s one of those times when you realize that your own government just truly, honestly, does not give a shit about your wellbeing in any way.
If Americans don’t reblog this, then y’all need help.
Well I know where I’m getting my MA at, not even playing.
Remembering Hispanic/Latino Victims of Police Brutality In America
Sandra Amezquita, 44 (New York): Injured on September 21st, 2014 By NYPD Officers After Attempting to Assist Her Son, Jhohan Lemos, 17, While Being 5 Months Pregnant, Officers Tackled Her To The Ground Face First, Hit Her With A Baton In Her Belly, And Held A Taser To Her Stomach
For the second time this month, video of a violent confrontation between the police and residents in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has aroused concerns in the neighborhood about arrest tactics.
The latest video emerged after a fight early Saturday morning. According to the police, Jhohan Lemos, 17, was fighting officers who were trying to arrest him for carrying a “gravity knife,” a type of folding knife that can easily be swung open.
The footage shows his mother, Sandra Amezquita, who is five months pregnant, first trying to intervene, then being grabbed from behind by an officer and falling to the street on her abdomen. A second woman, Mercedes Hidalgo, approached the police to tell them that Ms. Amezquita, 44, was pregnant. Moments later, the same officer who grabbed Ms. Amezquita can be seen shoving Ms. Hidalgo, propelling her about 10 feet away as she rolled on the asphalt.
The video was shot by a police watchdog group, El Grito de Sunset Park, that has fanned out in recent months to document what the group describes as an overly aggressive response to quality-of-life concerns in the neighborhood, which has a sizable population of Central American immigrants. Earlier this month, the group recorded an officer kicking a street vendor who was being restrained on the ground, an episode that prompted William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, to suspend the officer.
Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Saturday’s episode is being investigated by the Internal Affairs Bureau, the police said.
Especially on warm nights, residents say, music blares from stereos and residents cool off by drinking beer.
For some, the heavy police presence has been a welcome response to that behavior, promising quieter nights and a departure from decades ago when gang violence overwhelmed local parks.
But for other residents, the actions seen on the videos have heightened fear and mistrust toward the police, who they say have clamped down on minor crimes with an unforgiving hand. People avoid congregating with friends outside and participating in Latin American-themed celebrations because they fear their ethnicity makes them targets.
“There’s excessive force being used to come down on small, qualify-of-life concerns,” said Dennis Flores, the founder of El Grito de Sunset Park. Of officers, he said, “They feel like they’re above the law.”
The police said Mr. Lemos’s family threatened several officers. Mr. Lemos’s father, Ronel Lemos, 50, and another man were arrested after, the police said, they repeatedly punched an officer on the ground, leaving the officer with injuries to his hand.
The younger Mr. Lemos, who is shown in photos after his arrest with scrapes and bruises to his face, also attacked officers, the police said. He ran away from officers after they noticed a knife clip on his pants, the police said, and then fought with officers who were trying to arrest him.
Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, the family’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, who has been involved in several high-profile cases of police misconduct, said that officers struck Ms. Amezquita with a police baton, leaving her with marks on her abdomen. Mr. Rubenstein said she was treated at a hospital, and while she had vaginal bleeding, it was unclear if her injuries had affected the child.
“I am afraid of what might happen to my baby,” Ms. Amezquita said at the news conference, speaking through an interpreter.
Carlos Menchaca, a Democratic City Council member from Sunset Park, said that “all eyes” were on the neighborhood after the release of the two videos.
“The community is gathering on street corners to discuss what is happening,” he said.
Outside the Lemos family’s apartment on Wednesday, a neighbor, who identified himself only as Mr. Ramires because he said he feared retaliation by officers who knew him, said he had stopped hanging out on the sidewalk. Officers routinely searched him for offenses as innocuous as holding a cup of soda, he said. Mr. Ramires, who is gay, also said that gay and transgender Latino residents felt particularly targeted.
“I’m not afraid of the criminals,” he said. “I’m afraid of the cops.”
Other residents praised the police for remaining attentive to quality-of-life concerns.
“They keep things in order here,” said Pedro Duran, 54, a regular customer at a restaurant on Fifth Avenue near 41st Street, the same block where the Lemos encounter occurred. “It’s more peaceful now.” [The New York Times]
"We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas."
— Noam Chomsky