Tag Archives: opportunity

Prison Inmate Debate Team Whups Harvard

So much for only the stupid go to prison…Further evidence that America’s system of mass incarceration is also a complete waste of intellectual resources…


This Is How A Prison’s Debate Team Beat Harvard

Three men currently incarcerated at the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in Ulster County beat Harvard University in a recent debate.

How they did it, though, is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Almost everywhere in the United States, time spent in prison is at best wasted, at worst spent in a swirl of violence and humiliation. But prisoners fortunate enough to be situated near Bard College have a chance to participate in a program founded on a radical insight: Prison need not be only about punishment, but can also be a place where people grow and blossom into the educated, responsible citizens they will need to be when they’re released.

The men who stomped Harvard were part of the Bard Prison Initiative. “The most important thing that our students’ success symbolizes is how much better we can do in education in the U.S. for all people,” BPI founder Max Kenner told The Huffington Post. “Our program is successful because we operate on a genuinely human level.”

Beating Harvard wasn’t the first time the Bard team had tasted success. Their first debate victory came last year, when they defeated the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

The program aims to rehabilitate inmates and help them return to their communities productive members of society — among the formerly incarcerated Bard students, less than 2percent have returned to prison.

Studies show that prisoners who enroll in educational programs behind bars are much less likely to return to prison than those who don’t.

In 1999, when Kenner was a Bard College student he encouraged the small, liberal arts school to provide education for prisoners. In 2001, BPI graduated from being a student organization to become a legitimate extension of the college. Today, inmates who are part of the program have the opportunity to earn a Bard College degree.

The BPI is the largest prison education program in the U.S. Almost 300 incarcerated men and women are currently pursuing degrees in six prisons across New York State. Yet, gaining admission to the program is no small feat. Applicants are required to write an essay and go through a rigorous interview process.

“It’s a very difficult, very grueling process,” Kenner noted. “But it’s one that rewards student initiative. And something that we take very, very seriously.”

In July, BPI was awarded a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation to help support its work for higher education in prisons and innovations in criminal justice reform.

The successes, however, don’t end after inmates are released from prison. Graduates of the BPI program go on to work in various fields, ranging from human service organizations to private business, and many take up managerial positions.

Some graduates decided to further their education by working towards other academic and professional degrees, Kenner said. He pointed out that leaders in education need to be “more optimistic, more courageous and more curious.”…

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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in American Genocide, The Post-Racial Life


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New Scholarship for White Men

A man in Texas has formed a non-profit to distribute scholarships to white men. While well to do, or “connected” white men get a lot of breaks – poor guys have to pretty much claw and scratch for themselves. So no, in my view it isn’t racism – in that unlike conservatives it isn’t trying to tear anyone else down. Seems like a good idea – poor white guys need a hand up, too. Interesting what the groups definition of “white” is!

Texas Group Offers Scholarships to White Men Only

A new nonprofit group in Texas is offering college scholarships to a demographic it says has fewer scholarship options than other groups: white men.

The group, called the Former Majority Association for Equality, was started by Colby Bohannon, a student at Texas State University. He’s an Iraq War veteran who decided to return to school and said he had trouble finding college scholarships for which he qualified. He found many programs willing to grant money to female or minority students, but not white males like himself.

“I felt excluded,” Bohannon told The Austin American-Statesman. “If everyone else can find scholarships, why are we left out?”

So Bohannon and some friends founded the FMAE group, which plans to begin handing out $500 scholarships this summer. Only white men with at least a 3.0 grade point average can qualify.

“We know that we’re going to be receiving some vicious attacks from people claiming that we are racists or promoting some bigotry-filled agenda,” Bohannon also told Reuters. He said he’s just trying to help students who may have been a majority in the past, but are no longer as America’s demographics change.

“If you’re not a male, and if you’re not white, you’re called a minority,” Bohannon said, but “I’m not sure white males are the majority anymore.”

He’s correct about his home state of Texas, at least. Non-Hispanic whites are now a minority there, according to U.S. Census figures released earlier this month that show they make up about 42 percent of the state’s population, down from more than half 10 years ago.

Bohannon has since been forced to qualify his group’s scholarship requirements after receiving requests from some students who are of mixed race or ethnic backgrounds. He now says students are eligible if they’re a quarter non-Hispanic white.

“We’re not looking for blond-haired, blue-eyed, stereotypical white males,” he told Reuters. “My feeling is that if you can say you’re 25 percent Caucasian, you’re Caucasian enough for us.”

The group was formally incorporated in Texas last March, and is currently accepting applications for fall 2011 scholarships. It “has no political aspirations, financial agenda, or radical social philosophies whatsoever,” the group said in a statement on its website.

“I believe in equality for everyone, as well as being a strong believer that everyone should have an opportunity to attend college no matter who they are or where they come from,” Calysta Spence, FMAE’s fundraising coordinator, told The University Star, a student newspaper at Texas State, where Bohannon is a student.


Posted by on February 28, 2011 in The Post-Racial Life


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