Starting out the new year with a change..so to speak. How Black Lives Matter saved higher education http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/12/how-black-lives-matter-saved-higher-education.html Okay, so the title is a quite hyperbolic, but... I too began to despair, wondering if the socially conscious students I was surrounded by in college and dreamed of teaching as I worked toward my Ph.D. simply did not exist any more? Had the university become too conservative, prioritizing college-ranking lists over teaching real critical engagement? Had students, understandably concerned about the rise of college tuition and mounting debt, become wary of rocking an already leaky boat? And what did the retreat of the university from taking on social issues, as it did in the 1960s in the midst of Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement, mean for the role of the university in American society itself? Had the dream of the liberal arts education, to turn students into informed citizens capable of participating fully in a democratic society, finally lost out to the cynical view that the degree is merely an overpriced piece of paper, a one-way ticket to a cubicle and a 401(k)? Just when the answer to all these questions looked as if it would be in the affirmative, a massive sea change occurred. What made this year different? Black Lives Matter. I will say it is as much the fear of finding a job as it is colleges/universities prioritizing. The activism occurs when life is threatened - that is why the Vietnam protests were so strong. And we know that POC, and Blacks in particular, are at a higher risk of having lives end via violence (police or otherwise), and that there is still racism in the workplace. Thus, it matters more to the Black population to be active, to point out that Black Lives, do indeed, Matter.