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The College That Became a Prison

The College That Became a PrisonAs Yankton College’s only full-time employee, Jan Garrity knows how tough running a postsecondary institution can be. There are students to educate and degrees to confer; faculty and staff to hire and pay; a campus to maintain and a mission to uphold.But the college Garrity runs—in the once-booming, now-sleepy Missouri River town of Yankton, South Dakota—is different than most postsecondary institutions in that it doesn’t do any of those things. That’s because the school—the Dakota Territory’s first college—closed down in December 1984, following decades of financial instability compounded by a decline in enrollment.The U.S. Bureau of Prisons ended up buying the college’s property a few years after the closure, and the onetime campus—with its astronomical observatory and garden-terrace theater, its buildings bearing the names of school leaders and donors, and a dining hall that once served imported-oyster dinners—has housed a federal prison ever since. Khaki-uniformed…

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Trump’s Assault on Somali Refugees Goes Way Beyond Just Ilhan Omar

Trump’s Assault on Somali Refugees Goes Way Beyond Just Ilhan OmarDuring President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday, the crowd chanted, “Send her back! Send her back!” in response to his criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Trump stood back and listened for more than 10 seconds before continuing, although now he insists that he rejects the racist sentiment of the crowd.  The president’s tweets and comments about Omar speak to more than racism in language; they also reflect the explicit racism of his administration’s overall refugee policy. “The share of admitted refugees who are Muslim has dropped from 48 percent at the end of the Obama administration to 11 percent in recent months,” wrote Mother Jones‘ Noah Lanard in 2018. And this policy has especially affected refugees from Somalia, among the poorest and most desperate countries in Africa. Millions of Somalis have fled a civil…

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