Global Pulse: Trump wants less diverse campuses, Jordan’s marry-your-rapist law to end

Trump doesn’t want too much diversity on campuses

The Trump establishment could now sue universities for their efforts to bring more minorities to campus. According to an internal announcement to the Justice Department, universities could be investigated and sued for “intentional race-based discrimination,” which effectively refers to affirmative action admissions policies adopted by universities perceived to discriminate against white applicants.

The project would hit programs that give Black and Latino students an edge over other applicants with similar test scores. In a break from earlier practice, the program would be run out of the division’s front office, where the Trump administration’s political appointees work, and not the career civil servants-run Educational Opportunities Section. “The fact that the position is in the political front office…suggests that this person will be carrying out an agenda aimed at undermining diversity in higher education without needing to say it,” Ms. Vanita Gupta, who ran the civil rights division under the Obama administration, said.

Marry-your-rapist law soon to be tossed out in Jordan

Proposing to a victim for marriage after raping her may no longer be a legally viable option for rapists in Jordan. In a move that comes as a huge relief to women’s rights organizations in the region, the Jordanian parliament has voted to outlaw Article 308, a controversial clause, which allows rapists to escape prosecution if they married and did not divorce the victims for at least three years. The Senate and King Abdullah II are expected to endorse the repeal.

In societies where family honour is inextricably linked with women’s chastity, marrying the rapist is seen as a legitimate way to keep the family honour intact. An increased number of countries in the region, including Morocco and Tunisia, are, however, beginning to thrust aside these laws, which they are recognising as deeply unjust.

Xi Jinping’s unwavering faith in the gun

The Chinese military seems to be at the forefront of any discourse in China of late. Behind the fresh momentum in the army, is the Chinese president’s long-held belief that political dominance is bound to be short-lived without an unquestioned, invincible and revered military. Xi Jinping’s push to boost the army’s spirit hinges on a potent mix of national rejuvenation, military modernisation, ideological purity and a crackdown on graft. The anti-graft campaign is a vital tool for Xi to reform the military, but also to weed out political rivals in the army, as he simultaneously enhances his personal prestige.

“To build a strong army, we must unswervingly adhere to the party’s absolute leadership over the army,” Xi said as he delivered a speech marking the army’s 90th anniversary. The son of a first generation revolutionary, Xi has always understood the reciprocal relationship between the barrel of a gun and the might of a party regime.

Sexual harassment is the norm on Australian campuses

While Australia may be one of the most coveted destinations for higher education for students from across the world, the female students in the country are hardly safe. A new landmark report on sexual harassment and assault on university campuses in the country has found that young women are facing “shocking levels” of sexual harassment.
An appalling 51 percent of all university students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016 and another 7 percent were sexually assaulted in the same time frame, the report has revealed. While students have consistently raised the issue of sexual harassment on campuses and complained of apathy from authorities in this regard, the report is the first formal nationwide and statistically significant documentation exposing the gravity of the issue. Women, who have in the past spoken out on harassment, reported further retaliation in a society with a disturbingly hypermasculine culture. “Universities have helped rape culture flourish on and off campus,” said a student at Monash University.

Unpopular and weak, Trump is still causing damage to American democracy

Mired in scandals and divided by infighting, the Trump administration looks beleaguered and weak. But it may well be progressing towards a full-blown constitutional crisis, which would do deep, lasting damage to the country’s democratic institutions.

In the last few days, Trump and his allies have ratcheted up their attack on the special counsel investigating the campaign’s connections to Russia, tried to push the Attorney General out of office, and publicly weighed the option of the president pardoning himself. This is in addition to Trump asking an audience consisting of military members for “a little hand” to get his budget passed, and suggesting that the police should rough up arrested suspects. While most of these developments get enough attention separately, looking at them holistically betrays an attempt to undermine democratic institutions on the whole. If Trump succeeds in firing the special counsel Robert Mueller just to end the independent investigation into his Russia ties, it would become imperative for the Congress to communicate to the president that these types of violations cannot be tolerated.

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