Mitchell College, in Connecticut, is laying off seven professors, 20 percent of the full-time faculty, The Day reported. College officials said that they were forced to take action because enrollment this fall is 720 full-time students, not the expected 760. The faculty members losing their jobs have been at the college for between 2 and 10 years.
Mike McQueary, the former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, is suing the institution for $4 million, saying he was forced out of his job for reporting an incident in which he saw Jerry Sandusky engaged in inappropriate behavior with a boy, The Centre Daily Times reported. Penn State officials have said that the suit is baseless. But McQueary's suit says that he was forced out of his job and that he is unable to get work in football coaching because of the Penn State scandal, and the perception created by some at the university that he was was part of a cover-up.
Moody's Investors Service said Monday that the weak return on Harvard University's $30.7 billion endowment, which the university announced last week had shrunk 0.05 percent in the 2012 fiscal year, is a bad sign for endowment-dependent universities. The rating agency said the results probably won't affect Harvard's rating, but are likely to lead the institution and others to rethink their dependence on endowments. "Based on highly variable investment returns over the past decade, we expect endowment-dependent institutions to make more conservative spending decisions for future fiscal years and to more fully assess their operational vulnerability to investment volatility," the agency wrote. "Budgetary models are increasingly stress tested, and management teams are adjusting to more conservative assumptions about long-term rates of return on their endowment. Many have lowered their assumed annual endowment returns to 7 percent to 8 percent, compared to the higher 9 percent to 10 percent return assumptions that were common prior to 2009."
Only a handful of private universities have announced their returns for the past fiscal year, but Moody's projects most endowments to have returns similar to Harvard's. "Most university endowments likely declined by 1 percent to 5 percent in fiscal 2012, net of new gifts, owing to weak investment performance and 4 percent to 6 percent endowment spending for the annual budget," the rating agency wrote.
Barbara Couture resigned as president of New Mexico State University on Monday, after less than three years in office, The Albuquerque Journal reported. Couture and the university's board described her departure as "mutually agreeable," but no details were provided on why she was leaving.
Southern Methodist University -- facing criticism over its handling of sexual assault reports -- has announced a new task force to study the issue, The Dallas Morning News reported. In the last month, two SMU students have been arrested on sexual assault charges. In one of the cases, the district attorney's office was not informed of the allegations until eight months after they had been made. In that case, a campus disciplinary body found the accused guilty of misconduct over an allegation that he raped another student. An appeals panel overturned that ruling and it was only then that information was sent to the district attorney, who convened a grand jury, which indicted the accused. "We want to make sure victims get their day in court. And eight months is too long. Eight months is way too long," said a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into California law a measure that will require universities that receive more than $10 million in media revenue related to athletics to cover insurance deductibles and pay health care premiums for low-income athletics, and to give academic scholarships to students who lose their athletic scholarships after becoming injured while playing their sport, the Associated Press reported. The legislation also requires universities to pay future medical costs for on-the-field injuries. The four universities covered by the law are Stanford University, and the Universities of California at Berkeley, California at Los Angeles and Southern California. San Diego State University may eventually cross the $10 million threshold and become covered as well. Stanford objected to the bill, saying that it was unfair to only impose the requirements on some colleges and universities.
A report Friday from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy explores changes in the payments colleges, universities and other tax-exempt institutions make to municipalities in lieu of taxes, finding that they are concentrated in the Northeast and focus primarily on higher education institutions, which account for two-thirds of all payments in lieu of taxes. In recent years, as municipalities have struggled with revenue constraints, they have turned to asking local higher education institutions to contribute to the municipal budgets, a request that has sometimes led to confrontations between city leaders and higher education institutions, particularly in Pittsburgh and Providence.
Notable among the report's findings is that the majority of all money given to municipalities through PILOT agreements comes from just 10 institutions, eight of which are universities or academic medical centers: Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Brown University, Boston University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Princeton University. The list suggests that municipalities target wealthy institutions, rather than those that are the biggest municipal burden or own the most land.