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May 25, 2016
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Students at Oberlin College are asking the school to put academics on the back burner so they can better turn their attention to activism. More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay.

The students say that between their activism work and their heavy course load, finding success within the usual grading parameters is increasingly difficult. "A lot of us worked alongside community members in Cleveland who were protesting," Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin's student government, said, referring to the protests surrounding the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer in 2014. "But we needed to organize on campus as well — it wasn't sustainable to keep driving 40 minutes away. A lot of us started suffering academically."

The student activists' request doesn't come without precedence: In the 1970s, Oberlin adjusted its grading to accommodate student activists protesting the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings, The New Yorker reports. But current students contend that same luxury was not granted to them even though the recent Rice protests were over a police shooting that took place just 30 miles east of campus.

"You know, we're paying for a service. We're paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it," student Zakiya Acey told The New Yorker. "Because I'm dealing with having been arrested on campus, or having to deal with the things that my family are going through because of larger systems — having to deal with all of that, I can't produce the work that they want me to do. But I understand the material, and I can give it to you in different ways."

Read the full story on the ongoing battle at Oberlin over at The New Yorker. Becca Stanek

1:23 p.m. ET
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Actor Tom Hanks will make his debut as an author on Oct. 24. Publishing company Alfred A. Knopf first announced the book in 2014 — shortly after Hanks published a story in The New Yorker — but it wasn't until Tuesday that the short-story collection's title was revealed.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories will revolve around typewriters, and each of its 17 stories will involve the increasingly obsolete machines that Hanks collects. The Hollywood Reporter noted the book ranges from stories "about an immigrant just arriving in New York City after leaving his civil war-torn country to a man who bowls a perfect game to an eccentric billionaire."

Hanks has been working on the collection since 2015, and he said in a statement he's taken his work with him as he's "made movies movies in New York, Berlin, Budapest, and Atlanta." "I wrote in hotels during press tours. I wrote on vacation. I wrote on planes, at home, and in the office," Hanks said. "When I could actually make a schedule, and keep to it, I wrote in the mornings from nine to one."

Alfred A. Knopf's editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta praised the book as an "accomplished debut." "I am thrilled by the narrative range on display in this collection, and by the humor and humanity Tom brings to his work," Mehta said. Becca Stanek

1:09 p.m. ET
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Tennessee lawmakers have proposed making it legal for drivers to run over protesters who block public streets. The Republican-sponsored legislation would protect motorists from civil liability if a protester were injured, provided the driver exercised "due care," The Huffington Post reports. The bill was introduced 10 days after a car ran into people at a Nashville protest against President Trump's travel ban. Similar driving laws have been proposed in at least four other states with Republican-led statehouses, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota. The Week Staff

12:46 p.m. ET

On Tuesday, President Trump outright denounced anti-Semitism while speaking at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. After dodging questions from reporters at two separate press conferences last week regarding rising anti-Semitism — only offering that he is "the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen" — Trump was less equivocating Tuesday, saying "the anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

But the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the U.S. branch of the worldwide organizations founded in Frank's name to fight prejudice and hatred, was not impressed by the president's statement, deeming it a "pathetic asterisk of condescension" after his administration's track record:

On Monday, a Jewish community center in Wisconsin was evacuated after receiving its second bomb threat in three weeks. The Wisconsin center was reportedly one of at least 10 Jewish facilities that received similar threats Monday. Kimberly Alters

12:25 p.m. ET
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On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security released documents briefing its agencies on the Trump administration's expanded guidelines for tackling undocumented immigration and deportation. The documents, which Time described as "essentially instruction manuals for the sweeping executive orders issued by President Trump in late January," eliminate Obama-era guidelines that prioritized recent border crossers, undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes, or those who may have posed a serious threat to national security. Trump will call for the deportation of any immigrant that is "convicted, charged, or suspected of a crime, which could include traffic infractions," The Associated Press reported.

A DHS fact sheet was succinct: "All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States." Becca Stanek

12:19 p.m. ET
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Jessica Sharman fell in love with the same man twice. When the 20-year-old Briton woke up in the hospital last March after an epileptic attack, her memory was wiped clean. She didn’t recognize her parents, or her doting boyfriend, Rich Bishop. She tried to end their relationship, but Rich vowed to win back her heart. He took her on walks in familiar parks and revisited their favorite restaurants. Eventually, Rich won her over — again. "I don't remember the first time I fell in love with Rich," says Sharman. "But I do remember the second." Christina Colizza

11:41 a.m. ET
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Women played the leading role in a record 29 percent of the top-grossing films of 2016, a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film revealed. That marks a 7 percent increase from 2015 and the highest percentage ever since the study started in 2002, thanks to last year's female-fronted films including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Ghostbusters, Hidden Figures, and Arrival. "While audiences were still more than twice as likely to see male characters as female characters in top grossing movies, females fared better as protagonists and major characters in 2016," Martha Lauzen, executive director of the center, said in a statement.

Progress wasn't made across the board though. While more women took the spotlight than ever before, the overall number of female speaking roles dropped by 1 percentage point. The percentage of Asian female characters doubled and the percentage of black women increased slightly, but the percentage of Latina characters in films dropped from 4 percent to 3 percent.

That's why, while some of the numbers may appear promising, the center isn't getting its hopes up just yet. "It is possible that this is something of a quirk that we will not see repeated in the future,” Lauzen said. "It is also possible that introducing female protagonists is somehow an easier, less threatening fix than hiring women directors and writers." Becca Stanek

11:39 a.m. ET
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Ever dreamed of running a food-truck business? Realize your barista fantasies with the Wheelys 5, a high-tech coffee cart created by Wheelys Café, a Stockholm-based company whose mobile café business has spread to more than 60 countries in just three years. The bike-mounted cart costs $8,999 and has running water, a refrigerator, a gas stove, a solar roof, a stereo system, integrated Wi-Fi, and even a miniature greenhouse for growing organic coffee beans. Its customizable layout can accommodate a juicing station, a creperie, and an ice-cream bar, and it can brew anything from espresso to nitro coffee. The Week Staff

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