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Quick Takes: Faculty Call Strike at Eastern Michigan, Regis College to Admit Men, Aid Policies Criticized, Class Ranks Considered in Colorado, Welfare Proposals Questioned, Is Chief Illiniwek on the Way Out?

September 1, 2006
  • The faculty union at Eastern Michigan University has called a strike, to begin this morning, after negotiations on a new contract fell apart late Thursday. The administration and the union, an affiliate of the American Association of University Professors, are divided on wage and benefit issues. The union says that the combined impact of a small salary increase and changes in health insurance would lead to a net cut in professors' compensation. The university has said that its offers have been as generous as possible, given the limited availability of state appropriations. A statement from the university late Thursday accused the union of having engaged only in "surface bargaining," while being "intent on striking." Negotiations are scheduled to resume this morning.
  • Regis College, outside Boston, announced Thursday that it would admit men to its undergraduate residential program. citing "the reality of the higher education marketplace," where relatively few women seek a single-sex education. Regis already admits men to its graduate programs and offerings for adult students. While some of the more competitive women's colleges have been thriving in recent years, many others have struggled for enrollment, and some of those that have responded by admitting men have had surges in enrollment.
  • A report released Thursday by the Education Trust criticizes the government and colleges for choices on aid policy that hinder the enrollments of low-income students. The report says that while colleges complain about the lack of aid funds, they contribute to the problem by using their own resources to recruit students who may help in prestige or rankings, rather than focusing financial assistance on those most in need.
  • Hank Brown, president of the University of Colorado system, wants to bring back class ranks, as a means of combating grade inflation, The Rocky Mountain News reported. "Grades no longer reveal how you really did," Brown told the newspaper.
  • College groups are criticizing proposed federal regulations that would bar welfare recipients from counting time they spend getting ready for college classes as required work time. The American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities have submitted a joint statement objecting to the proposal.
  • This academic year is likely to be the last in which Chief Illiniwek will perform at University of Illinois athletic events, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. University officials insist that no decision has been made on the chief, whose appearances violate National Collegiate Athletic Association rules on the use of mascots and images that demean Native American groups. According to the Sun-Times, the university does not want to sue the NCAA, as some have suggested it should, so it will turn over ownership of the symbolic chief to an alumni group that could decide on the chief's appearance at non-official events. Many professors at Illinois have long pushed for the elimination of the chief, whose performances are seen as offensive by many groups. But alumni leaders for whom the chief is a beloved tradition have resisted any change and have exerted considerable influence on the issue -- at least until the NCAA got involved.
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