Public colleges hide donors who seek to influence students. Will COVID-19 make it worse?

Long before the coronavirus hit the United States, cash-strapped public higher education systems looked to private donors to offset the steady decline in public funding, sometimes with significant secrecy and strings attached.

Critics fear the economic downturn could give donors more leverage to quietly influence curriculum, hiring and scholarships. Open government laws in many states already allow donors to demand that the public – including students and faculty – be kept in the dark.

The pandemic has presented universities a triple whammy: Reduced tax revenues slashing government support, online-only courses gutting dormitory and cafeteria revenues, and – with more students and families out of work – less ability to offset that loss with tuition increases.

“They are going to be desperate for funding,” said Douglas Beets, who teaches accounting at Wake Forest University, and has studied nearly two decades of university donations and donor demands.

Linda Durant, vice president of

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Some keto evangelists believe vegetable oil is worse than cigarettes, but the science behind the theory doesn’t add up

Brownies vegetable oil pour
Brownies vegetable oil pour

Sydney Kramer/INSIDER

  • Advocates of the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diets have warned against the health risks of vegetable and seed oils, claiming they’re a “dirty” fuel source for the human body. 

  • One keto influencer recently claimed vegetable oils are just as dangerous for health as “smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.”

  • But an expert said there’s no evidence for this claim, and cooking oils can have a wide range of health effects depending on how they’re prepared.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Advocates of keto typically encourage a high-fat diet, but some hardcore “keto evangelists” say it doesn’t count if you use plant-based oils.

If you incorporate processed forms of fat — seed oils, non-organic veggies — you’re engaging in “dirty keto,” according to Ben Azadi, founder of the health coaching site Keto Kamp.

“Keto is very popular, and with the buzz comes a lot

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COVID-19 Is Worse for Immigrants

Photo credit: John Moore - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Moore – Getty Images

From Marie Claire

For the past three-and-a-half years, the Trump administration has attempted to make life impossible for immigrants living in the United States, while simultaneously making it harder for people to seek refuge here. It has implemented truly extreme anti-immigrant policies including the Muslim Ban, the detention of children in cages, an increase in funding for immigration enforcement and ICE raids, the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs, and an enforcement of the Public Charge Rule.

On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled against President Trump’s racist decision to end DACA. After massive backlash, the White House was also forced to halt its efforts to deport foreigners with student visas if their university was offering only online classes. Despite Trump’s attacks on DACA since the Supreme Court ruling, immigrant youth

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Opening Campuses Is Risky. The Alternative Is Worse.

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Soaring coronavirus infections have provoked a lot of second thoughts among U.S. colleges and universities that were hoping to resume at least some in-person instruction in the fall. That’s understandable, but troubling.

It’s crucial to engage students in meaningful collaborative experiences that are difficult to achieve on Zoom. The damage to young people and institutions of higher learning will be deep and lasting unless administrators develop creative ways—in concert with both students and faculty—to revive key aspects of campus life.

There’s no doubt that even partial reopenings will entail risks for colleges, though different ones from those facing K-12 schools. For one thing, over one-third of tenure-track faculty are 55 or older, significantly more than the general working population—putting college professors at greater risk of contracting life-threatening forms of Covid-19. Then too, while online education is far from ideal even for college students, young adults are better

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Government data is getting worse. That’s a catastrophe.

The Trump White House has undermined government data for years, through intent and incompetence.
The Trump White House has undermined government data for years, through intent and incompetence.


  • Data is more important than it’s ever been, which is why the latest news out of the White House is so disturbing.

  • The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to stop reporting COVID-19 numbers to the CDC, and instead send the data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would remove this data from public view.

  • The decline in data quality, the loss of government data scientists, and the weakening of public trust in government data will make us poorer and weaker, and can’t be repaired quickly.

  • If you want to receive more of these insights from Henry Blodget and David Plotz sign up now for the Insider Today newsletter.

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“Find something new.” —Ivanka

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