The University of Montana must make numerous, comprehensive changes to its sexual assault policies and procedures, under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. The resolution agreement ends a year-long investigation into whether the university and its campus safety department had a systemic problem in responding to sexual assault allegations promptly and effectively.
The resolution agreement -- which officials said was tailored to Montana but should be heeded by other colleges as a model for sexual assault prevention and response -- indicates that the university, while it has made some progress, still must take several steps to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibit sex discrimination and sexual assault and harassment in education programs. Those steps include educating students, employees and public safety officers on what constitutes sexual harassment, and how to report it; implementing a system to track sexual harassment complaints from initial report to final resolution; conducting annual student climate surveys and evaluating whether remedies are effective or more changes are needed; ensuring that campus safety officers, as first responders, meet victims’ needs immediately and make sure the justice system is known, open and available to them; and increasing efficiencies in the Office of Public Safety.
Federal officials acknowledged the positive work that Montana has already done. Last summer, it began requiring all students to take a sexual assault tutorial before registering for second-semester classes. The investigation followed nearly a dozen sexual assault reports at Montana, the most high-profile of which (and the one that prompted federal officials to enter the fray) involving athletes, and a university-commissioned report that determined Montana had “a problem” and should be investigated further. The Justice Department is still investigating city law enforcement in Missoula, and encouraged better cooperation between campus and local police.
Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York, has halted the search for a new president of Nassau Community College, pending a review of allegations of problems in the search. An editorial in Newsday outlined a range of concerns that were expressed prior to Zimpher's action, including charges of racial bias and of scheduling search committee meetings at times some members could not attend. The editorial also questioned the quality of the candidates that have emerged thus far.
Students at Cooper Union took over the office of President Jamshed Bharucha on Wednesday, while he was not there. Students say that they are angry not only at the move to start charging tuition, but their sense that they have been left out of decision-making at the university. A spokeswoman for Cooper Union said that the protest was "a peaceful non-violent action and we continue discussions with students."
Here is a video made by students in the protest outlining their views:
The students are also documenting the protest on Twitter.
WASHINGTON -- At a hearing Wednesday afternoon on the Internal Revenue Service's recently issued wide-ranging report on tax compliance at colleges and universities, lawmakers said they were disturbed that the report found a high degree of noncompliance on unrelated business income, revenue earned by nonprofit organizations in ways that are not directly related to their missions. The IRS told lawmakers on the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee's oversight subcommittee that the 34 colleges -- half public, half nonprofit private -- examined most closely during the audit shouldn't be considered a representative sample, and that there are plans to continue looking into how unrelated business income is handled across the sector.
Wealthy American universities are cutting way back on their endowments' holdings in U.S. debt,Financial Times reported. In some cases, Treasury securities represented as much as 30 percent of endowment holdings in 2008-9 and that figure is now down to zero in some cases, or very small percentages in others.
Higher One, a company best known for streamlining the process by which colleges channel federal aid funds to students, said Tuesday that it has agreed to purchase the Campus Solutions arm of Sallie Mae that two years ago sought to compete with it. Higher One valued the purchase of the Sallie Mae business -- which works with campus business offices on billing payment solutions, refund disbursement services, and tuition payment plan administration -- at $47.25 million. Higher One has been growing; last year it bought Campus Labs, a student affairs analytics company.
James F. Jones Jr. announced Monday that he will retire next year -- a year earlier than planned -- as president of Trinity College in Connecticut, The Hartford Courant reported. Jones has been under sustained criticism from many alumni since last year, when he announced that all fraternities and sororities would be forced to become coeducational. College officials characterized the retirement decision as unrelated to the Greek uproar, but the Courant reported that many alumni critics are dubious, given the extent of anger over the Greek decision.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, has vetoed legislation that would have allowed students with a permit to carry concealed weapons on campus, the Associated Press reported. The bill also would have allowed students -- with their roommate's permission -- to keep guns in dormitory rooms. Higher education officials lobbied against the bill, arguing that it would endanger students, not protect them. Currently Montana allows students to keep hunting weapons on campus, but they are kept in special lockers where students can get them when they want to go hunting.
Some legislators and civil liberties groups are asking why Governor Chris Christie's administration in New Jersey is planning to award $10.6 million in funds from a voter approved bond issue for college facilities to Beth Medrash Govoha, an all-male, orthodox rabbinical seminary,The Star-Ledgerreported. The article notes increasingly close ties between the college's leaders and the Christie administration. The bond vote explicitly included private colleges, and many private colleges in New Jersey have religious affiliations. Critics say that Beth Medrash Govoha -- unlike the Roman Catholic colleges in New Jersey -- appears to have religious tests for admission. College officials deny any religious tests. But critics say that requirements -- such as knowing Hebrew, knowing sacred Jewish texts and agreeing not to date for the first six months enrolled -- suggest a strong religious orientation for all students.