Wait, we’re all still here? The Mayans were wrong? Oh, perfect! That means we can still do “Best of 2012” lists! It really is the little things sometimes.
Anyway, 2012 was a hell of a year. Who would have guessed in January that one of the biggest topics of the election season would be Big Bird, Katie Holmes would finally break free of the scientology voodoo Tom Cruise put on her, and YouTube would be dominated by a South Korean pop star with a penchant for tacky tuxes and cheesy dancing? As fun as those stories were to follow, certain pieces of news hit a little closer to home for the college crowd. Here at CM, college news is kind of our life. Check out our top college news stories of 2012:
1.) Barack Obama Beats Mitt Romney In The 2012 Presidential Election
The biggest general news story of the year is also the most important for college students. Imagine life under the Romney regime: everyone would be forced to wear sweater vests, recognize dressage as a sport and stop laughing at Mormonism. Okay, none of that is true, but four years of Romney would be drastically different than four more years of Barack “I’m Not Impressed Either” Obama.
2.) Congress Passes Student Loans Bill
Any college kid worried about paying off his or her loans should have partied harder than he or she did when Bin Laden died when this news broke. In June, Congress passed a bill that, among other things, prevented interest rates on student loans from doubling. As much as we deride Congress for never allowing Obama to get anything done, they really did us a favor with this one.
3.) Maryland Passes DREAM Act
While most ballot discussions this November were dominated by the presidential election and gay rights legislation, Maryland was also concerned with the fate of its state-specific DREAM Act. The proposed legislation would allow children of illegal immigrants who graduated from U.S. high schools to pursue permanent citizenship while forcing them to obtain at least a partial college education. Maryland voted to join Texas, California and nine other states that have passed their own versions of the DREAM Act.
4.) Penn State Scandal Won’t Go Away
As much as we tried to stop talking about CM’s top news story of 2011, we just couldn’t. First, we had to discuss Sandusky’s prison sentence of 30 to 60 years. Then we had to dissect the implications of the Freeh Report on Penn State’s football culture. When the NCAA laid down unprecedented sanctions on the program, we debated the fairness. Luckily, Penn State’s year ended on a sort of high note: the team started the Bill O’Brien era with a surprising 8-4 season.
5.) The University Of Pittsburgh Receives Over 100 Bomb Threats
This one hit close to home for me, mostly because I live 10 minutes away from Pitt. The Nittany Lions may have had a rough year, but at least no one was threatening to blow up their campus on a daily basis. From Feb. 13 to April 21, Pitt received over 100 bomb threats to its dormitories and academic buildings. Dorms were evacuated in the wee hours of the morning, classes were constantly being cancelled and the entire university was on edge for over two months.
6.) Kony 2012 Becomes A Thing
Not to sound too hipster, but I was aware of Joseph Kony and Invisible Children long before the Kony 2012 video awakened the inner activist in just about every college student with a soul. I thought to myself, “Yay! Now everyone understands how cool this cause is!” Then came the backlash, which I will honestly never understand. But for one brief moment, college students were focused on stopping an evil man from kidnapping children. Those were the days.
7.) Conference Realignments Change The Landscape Of College Sports
2012 was the year when college athletics officially became about the money and nothing more. How else can you explain the massive shifts in conferences that no longer make anything resembling geographical sense? Maryland and Rutgers moved to the Big 10, Louisville is joining the ACC and the Big East is completely disintegrating. So much for the love of the games.
8.) Hurricane Sandy Ravages East Coast
Hurricane “Frankenstorm” Sandy put last year’s Irene to shame. The superstorm had college kids scrambling to buy canned food and water and make sure all their electronics were fully charged. Some of the East Coast got lucky and didn’t experience more than a power surge. Other parts, mainly New York and New Jersey, were without power for weeks. Sandy was a bigger bitch than Kristen Stewart in 2012, and that's saying something.
9.) The Great 2012 Harvard Cheating Scandal
So this is how Harvard kids get through school. Well, it’s at least how 125 Harvard students allegedly took a take-home final exam last spring. Punishments ranged from a slap on the wrist to forced withdrawal for up to a year. These kids forgot the number one rule of cheating: it only counts if you get caught. Wait, that can’t be right. Try this one: cheaters never prosper. Yeah, that sounds a lot less morally dubious.
10.) University of Mississippi Protests Obama’s Reelection
It’s one thing to be upset about the election of a president you disagree with politically, but an entirely different thing to be pissed for purely racial reasons. That’s what over 400 University of Mississippi students did upon Obama’s reelection, shouting racial slurs and using Obama/Biden signs as firewood. These students may not speak for the entire university, but they provided a nice reminder that racism is not dead just because we have a black president. In fact, if this is situation is any indication, it’s alive and well.
Photo: at UnboundID
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