Oxford Faces Anger over Failure to Improve Diversity Among Students

Oxford’s glacial progress in attracting students from diverse backgrounds has been revealed in figures showing that more than one in four of its colleges failed to admit a single black British student each year between 2015 and 2017.

Several of the most prestigious colleges, including Balliol, University and Magdalen, each admitted two black British students as undergraduates during the three-year period.

The worst figures belonged to Corpus Christi College, which admitted a single black British student in those three years and attracted a dozen such applications.

Overall, white British applicants were twice as likely to be admitted to undergraduate courses as their black British peers – 24% of the former gained entry and 12% of the latter.

David Lammy, the Labour MP who has repeatedly criticised Oxford and Cambridge universities for failing to improve their track record on admissions, said the latest data released by Oxford showed little had changed.

“The university is clearly happy to see Oxford remain an institution defined by entrenched privilege that is the preserve of wealthy white students from London and the south-east,” he said.

“If Oxford is serious about access, the university needs to put its money where its mouth is and introduce a university-wide foundation year, get a lot better at encouraging talented students from under-represented backgrounds to apply and use contextual data when making offers, not just when granting interviews.

“The underprivileged kid from a state school in Sunderland or Rochdale who gets straight As is more talented [than] their contemporary with the same grades at Eton or Harrow, and all the academic evidences shows that they far outshine their peers at university too.”

The figures show marked variations between colleges, including wide gaps in the proportion of state-school and female students admitted.

Across the three years, less than 40% of Balliol’s British undergraduate intake were women, while Trinity College admitted three students from independent schools for every two they admitted from state schools.

Samina Khan, the university’s head of admissions and outreach, denied that the variation in admissions by colleges was hampering Oxford’s efforts to widen access. “I think the admissions process here does work, it’s fair and it’s transparent. It’s a strength of our undergraduate admissions,” she said.

In a press release accompanying the figures, the university said it “recognised the report shows it needs to make more progress”. It said it was adding 500 more places to its spring and summer school programme for students from under-represented backgrounds.

The expansion is to be part-financed by a £75m donation from the philanthropists Sir Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman, which will also be used for Moritz-Heyman scholarships for British students eligible for free school meals or from households earning £16,000 or less each year.

The summer schools allow prospective A-level students from disadvantaged backgrounds to spend a week at the university and receive advice in making their applications. Students who attended the programme, known as Uniq, have a 34% chance of a successful application, compared to 20% for UK-wide applicants.

The data shows Oxford has struggled to recruit black and minority ethnic students to some of its most famous degree courses. PPE, the influential course in politics, philosophy and economics that has trained generations of politicians and policymakers, had 10 black British students enrolled between 2015 and 2017.

Oxford’s highly regarded course in English literature and language, taken by literary figures such as JRR Tolkien and Jeanette Winterson, admitted six black British students in the space of the three years.

Seven of Oxford’s 25 largest courses received fewer than 10 applications each from black students in 2015-17 and admitted only very small numbers.

In the three years to 2017, not a single black British student was admitted to theology, biomedical sciences or earth sciences courses. None of the 30 black British students who applied to study computer science or psychology gained entry.

Khan said Oxford faced particular challenges in convincing students from minority backgrounds to widen their aim away from law and medicine, where the majority of black British applicants applied, to pursue less competitive subjects.

“It’s less of a challenge in terms of the students, because the students want to do English literature or want to do theology and religion. It’s usually the parents or the community that say: ‘what job are you going to get after that?’” Khan said.

“So it’s the parents we really have to convince and turn around. But what we are working on is to show them that a degree from Oxford opens doors to so many careers, and that we have an excellent progression route from our degrees on to graduate employment.”

The figures are the first tranche of detailed data on admissions to be voluntarily released by Oxford. The university said it planned to release further spreadsheets offering more detail on Wednesday, and to make the release an annual event.

The post Oxford Faces Anger over Failure to Improve Diversity Among Students appeared first on American Renaissance.

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How Will They End ‘The Americans’?

Margo Martindale as KGB handler Claudia, in one of the best scenes from this season of ‘The Americans’

Next Wednesday will be the series finale of The Americans, the great FX drama about a married couple living undercover as KGB spies in 1980s Washington. Boy, am I ever going to miss that show and its characters. If you’ve never seen it, I encourage you to give it a try — though of course you’re going to have to start at the beginning. It’s violent, and sexually explicit at times, but the show — created by a former CIA agent, Joe Weisberg — is not only excellent drama, but morally penetrating too in the way it forces you to confront what it means to be loyal, and what you would do for your country.

Because I don’t want to ruin the show for those who haven’t seen it, I’m going to put my answers to these questions below the jump. If you think you will ever watch the show, don’t read my answers or the comments thread. As for my fellow Americans fans, I’d like you to answer the following:

  1. How would you like the series to end?
  2. How do you think they will end the series?

My answers below. If for some reason the coding doesn’t work, and you can see what follows, STOP READING RIGHT NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!

How would I like the series to end?

With Philip and Elizabeth caught. If they escape back to Russia, I will be really disappointed. There has to be justice.

Really, that’s all that matters: that they’re caught. I want to see the scene where Stan confronts them, and they’re made to see in his trusting face the full cost of their betrayal. I want to see the look in Paige and Henry’s faces when they understand what their parents did.

I want Burov to go back safely to his wife and children in Moscow.

How do I think it’s going to end? 

For years I’d figured that Philip was going to end up going over to the US, not only because he had come to love our country, but because he wanted a better life for Paige and Henry. I thought that their marriage would ultimately fall apart irretrievably, and that would be the impetus for him to betray Elizabeth for the sake of their children and his own future.

Clearly that’s not going to happen. So what will? This thing could end so many ways, but I think that having introduced the cyanide pill in an earlier episode, Elizabeth is somehow going to choose to take it. This week’s episode ended with Elizabeth having received a signal from Philip, who is on the run, that she should clear out. The word “topsy-turvy” must have been the “abandon ship” code. She now knows that she’s running for her life, and no doubt headed to meet Philip at a safe house. They will be arrested at that safe house. The final act will be how they negotiate their futures.

Whatever happens in that coming exchange between the FBI and Elizabeth, it will end with her taking the cyanide pill. She really does love her country, and I think that having lost her children (Paige has turned on her, and Henry hasn’t loved her in a long time), she will find herself in a situation where she fears betraying under interrogation the only thing she has ever really loved: Mother Russia.

What will Philip do?  will strike a deal to go into witness protection in exchange for secrets. The possibility of living as a normal American would be the thing he wants more than anything.  More than that, he wants to cleanse his tormented conscience.

Burov will be sent home. About Paige and Henry? Dunno. It doesn’t really matter, does it? They’re Americans; they can’t be sent to Russia. Hard to see the government punishing Paige. Their parents were spies, yes, but now they get to be normal Americans.

I am sorry that we’re probably not going to get to say goodbye to Martha. Poor Martha is the reason above many others that I do not want Philip and Elizabeth to escape. I don’t see how the showrunners can allow them to.

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Soldier seeks custody of baby wife said died then tried to sell on Facebook

A soldier serving in South Korea is fighting for the custody of a newborn child that his wife attempted to sell on Facebook after saying the baby had died.

Sgt. Steven Garcia, 24, a patrol supervisor with the 142nd Military Police Company in Seoul, was told in January that his wife, Marina Garcia, gave birth to a child that died during childbirth, the Star Telegram reported.

“When my sister called me about that, it was pretty emotional,” Steven Garcia told KVOA. “We cried quite a bit together over the phone. It was devastating.”

Steven Garcia soon learned that he was lied to after finding out the baby had not died during childbirth, and that he was not the father of the child, authorities said.

The baby was born on Feb. 2 at Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Three days later, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer pulled over an out-of-state vehicle for speeding. Inside the vehicle was a couple and a 3-day-old infant.

It turned out that neither Alex Hernandez, 33, and his wife, Leslie Morin Hernandez, 41, were the biological parents of the infant in the vehicle.

Alex Hernandez, 33, pleaded guilty to forgery in April for signing the child’s birth certificate to be the father after Marina Garcia arranged to hand over the child to them. Leslie Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit forgery.

The couple received four years of supervised probation.

Marina Garcia pleaded guilty to an attempted scheme to defraud and will face sentencing next month.

According to Arizona Range News, the arrangement for the sale of the child was made via Facebook Messenger.

Garcia planned to travel to Texas to sign away her parental rights to the couple.

Steven Garcia, planning to divorce his wife, is now fighting for custody of the child.

“My adoptive father completely changed my life. Without him, I would not be where I am today,” Steven Garcia told KVOA. “For the opportunity to do that for someone else, it’s important. I believe it could change the child’s life.”

A GoFundMe page was set up by Garcia’s cousin to help fund legal and travel fees as Steven Garcia fights for custody of the baby.

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