Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama - Columbia Years A Mystery

Obama's Years at Columbia Are a Mystery

He Graduated Without Honors
By ROSS GOLDBERG, Special to the Sun | September 2, 2008

Senator Obama's life story, from his humble roots, to his rise to Harvard Law School, to his passion as a community organizer in Chicago, has been at the center of his presidential campaign. But one chapter of the tale remains a blank — his education at Columbia College, a place he rarely speaks about and where few people seem to remember him.

Contributing to the mystery is the fact that nobody knows just how well Mr. Obama, unlike Senator McCain and most other major candidates for the past two elections, performed as a student.

The Obama campaign has refused to release his college transcript, despite an academic career that led him to Harvard Law School and, later, to a lecturing position at the University of Chicago. The shroud surrounding his experience at Columbia contrasts with that of other major party nominees since 2000, all whom have eventually released information about their college performance or seen it leaked to the public.

For better or worse, voters have taken an interest in candidates' grades since 1999, when the New Yorker published President Bush's transcript at Yale and disclosed that he was a C student. Mr. Bush had never portrayed himself as a brain, but many were surprised to learn the next year that his opponent, Vice President Gore, did not do much better at Harvard despite his intellectual image. When Senator Kerry's transcript surfaced, reporters found that he actually had a slightly lower average at Yale than Mr. Bush did.

Some political observers cite such disclosures as proof that candidates' intelligence cannot be judged solely by their political careers or the schools they attended. Grades provide a rare measure of intellect that is immune to political spin, proponents say.

"We like to pretend IQ doesn't matter, but it really does with a lot of jobs, including the presidency," a professor at Smith College who studies the effects of human intelligence on the economy, James Miller, said. "We can't trust the information that candidates give us, so it's important to look for objective data that they can't falsify or distort."

Mr. Miller acknowledged that Mr. Obama displayed academic achievement at Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude and led the Harvard Law Review. Still, Mr. Miller said, he would like to see information about how Mr. Obama performed in various subjects at Columbia.

That view is not shared by other election observers, including some who have themselves indulged the public's interest in candidates' academic records. One of them is Geoffrey Kabaservice, a political historian who in 2000 published Senator Bradley's relatively low score of 485 on the verbal SAT. Mr. Bradley, a Rhodes Scholar who was a star basketball player at Princeton, was running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"It's awfully hard to correlate anything, really, about a person on the basis of their grades," Mr. Kabaservice said, explaining that he published Mr. Bradley's score to highlight limitations in intelligence testing. He said he doubted that candidates' grades have affected the outcome of any recent presidential elections.

"For people who didn't like George W. Bush, for example, the grade aspect only confirmed what they thought about him," Mr. Kabaservice said. "And for everybody else, it made him more of a regular guy."

The Obama campaign declined to comment for this article and did not offer an explanation for why his transcript has not been released. But observers speculated that one reason might be the racially charged nature of the election. Mr. Obama has acknowledged benefiting from affirmative action in the past, and details about his academic performance might open him up to critics eager to accuse him, probably unfairly, of receiving a free ride, Mr. Kabaservice said.

"Anyone who is a minority and who's come up partially through the meritocracy — getting into good colleges, and subsequently good law schools — is going to come under suspicion that there was some kind of affirmative action boost," he said. "I suspect this is an area of discomfort for Obama."

In contrast with the rest of Mr. Obama's life story, little is known about his college experience. He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia in 1981. The move receives only a mention in Mr. Obama's 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father," which instead devotes that chapter to his impressions of race and class struggles in New York.

An article in a Columbia University publication, Columbia College Today, reported that Mr. Obama has portrayed Columbia as a period of buckling down following a troubled adolescence. He did not socialize much, he has said, instead spending a lot of time in the library, "like a monk." He has also stated that he was involved to some extent with the Black Students Organization.

Federal law limits the information that Columbia can release about Mr. Obama's time there. A spokesman for the university, Brian Connolly, confirmed that Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science. He did not receive honors, Mr. Connolly said, though specific information on his grades is sealed. A program from the 1983 graduation ceremony lists him as a graduate.

More is known about Mr. McCain's experience at the United States Naval Academy, where he was a self-described troublemaker and graduated in the bottom 1% of his class. The McCain campaign has declined to release his transcript, saying that his performance at the academy can only be viewed in the context of his larger military career.

"His record stands on its own," a McCain spokesman, Peter Feldman, said. "His time spent in college was part of the transformative years that made him who he was."

1 comment:

Jack Reylan said...

If securities rules applied to federal research grants, half the professors would be in jail! Obama's constituencies are universities, lawyers and unions. The universities are in it for the grants. Any Republican that votes money for universities is a traitor.

UPI June 6, 1992 Sovern took over at Columbia after student protests of 1968 and New York's fiscal problems in the '70s resulted in less financial support for the school, a situation made more dire by recent federal government budget cuts. . . But Columbia will be looking for a new president in a period troubled by criticism for destroying records that were being reviewed for improprieties. Universities in general have been under greater scrutiny for how they charge the government for federally sponsored research.

They love third world students because they don't expect the professors to work for the tuition! Surely You Are Joking Feynman p 215 "If I ask you a question during the lecture, afterwards everybody will be telling me, 'What are you wasting our time for in the class? We're trying to learn something. And you're stopping him by asking a question'."

When Obama falls in 2010, we should go through the grant-grubbing Ivy Leagues that produce commie-nutty organizers with a flame thrower! Ivy League universities are not good at getting students jobs, only grants to be commie nutty organizers. If you are liberal, anything you do is inherently ethical for the cause, but if you are a conservative, and believe in GOD, family or business, your very moral fiber, even down to trivial autonomic responses, is subject to persecution as either dangerously criminal or the result of clinical illness. Bush 43 had two Ivy degrees and they treated him as stupid because he was conservative even though he had better grades and entrance scores and took a lot tougher courses than Gore. Professors are the ultimate molestor high priests because they extort and control your transcripts and your grants if you turn them in. Like a cult, they will make your children denounce you and everything you stand for as unworthy. The lowest level university bureaucrats actually suffer the worst affectations and are likey to be the most vicious persecutors of your children. No business ever trusts such left wing graduates who don't believe in capitalism and become crooks because they are taught the only way business makes money is crooked so they seek to avenge their unemployability through their own crookedness. The universities consider real jobs and competition beneath them, so they want their little sissies to live off grants, even in the hard sciences or business. How many of their engineering professors have Professional Engineering certification? Almost none! They love foreign students because they slave up and don't expect professors to actually work for the tuition, like American students do. No middle class parent should consider sending their kids there, because these schools will destroy your entire family. The only schools that understand middle-class values are for-profits. Middle class parents foolish enough to buy into the Ivy League dream die way too young.