Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 24, 2009

While more college athletes who are gay have come out in recent years, they have not included big-time football players. But a survey of 85 football players in ESPN magazine found that just under half know a gay teammate, and that the number increases to 70 percent in the Pacific-10 conference.

August 21, 2009

The University of Texas, which has been criticized for multi-million dollar bonuses for some endowment managers, has revised its system for paying the bonuses, Bloomberg reported. The new plan limits bonuses in good years and also cuts payouts when the endowment loses money.

August 21, 2009

The National Science Foundation on Thursday announced rules that would require colleges and universities receiving funds from some of its programs to certify that they have programs in place to promote "responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.'' The rules do not set up a system for the NSF to review those programs, just a requirement that colleges and universities say they have the programs. However, the regulations say that "institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request."

August 20, 2009

Most college financial aid officers oppose the Obama administration's plan for expanding but significantly altering the Perkins Loan Program, according to a survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The administration's proposal, unveiled as part of the president's budget blueprint for 2010, would turn the program from one that provides about $1.5 billion in loan funds to students at hundreds of institutions to a broader one that provides about $6 billion to students at many more colleges. But several aspects of the proposal -- including ending the practice of the government paying interest on the loans while borrowers in college, and requiring significant matching funds from colleges -- earned opposition from the aid officers surveyed. Nearly four in five said they preferred the current version of the program over the proposed one.

August 20, 2009

Brandeis University has settled a lawsuit challenging its ability to replace a science building. The Wall Street Journal reported that Brandeis has agreed to name a lab after the donor of the building slated for demolition. That donor was the great uncle of a man who sued, arguing that in accepting the donor's funds, Brandeis had agreed to maintain a building named in the donor's honor.

August 20, 2009

Gov. Steve Beshear, Democrat from Kentucky, recently appointed a colleague with a rather checkered past to the Board of Directors of the West Kentucky Community and Technical College, in Paducah. Early last month – and hidden among a long list of appointments – Beshear tapped Larry Kelley, former member of the governor’s commerce cabinet transition team and now real estate agent in Wickcliffe, for board membership. Kelley, however, is a convicted felon and pleaded guilty to three counts of credit card fraud in 1994. At the time, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Kelley, then a lawyer, had “obtained nearly $5,800 in cash and goods” by “fraudulently obtaining, receiving and using a credit card” from a dead woman, of whose estate he was the executor. Following this, Kelley resigned his post as Ballard County Attorney, and he was disbarred by the Kentucky Supreme Court. Currently, the Kentucky Bar Association does not have his name listed as a member. The news of Kelley’s appointment to the community college board was reported yesterday by Page One, a news blog about politics in the state.

August 20, 2009

Despite the economic downturn, 67 percent of parents believe in their ability to meet the cost of their children's college education, according to a poll being released today by Sallie Mae and Gallup. However, there are less encouraging signs too. In the last year, the percentage of parents "extremely worried" that the value of their savings and investments would be low increased to 31 percent from 17 percent. Parents also remain worried about tuition increases, the poll found.

August 20, 2009

The recently rediscovered mental health records of Seung-Hui Cho, the 2007 Virginia Tech killer, were released Wednesday, providing little insight into how he turned into a mass murderer, The Washington Post reported. The records indicate that he was never treated at the university's counseling center, despite a judge's order that he get treatment there.

August 20, 2009

Michael Cox, professor of music theory and composition at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's School of Church Music since 1990, has taken early retirement, rather than ending his membership in Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, as he would have had to do to continue to teach, the Associated Baptist Press reported. The seminary, which requires faculty members to be affiliated with churches that share its faith, recently said that Broadway Baptist did not meet its tests because it was not sufficiently strong in condemning homosexuality.

August 19, 2009

The University of Pittsburgh will not accept a bequest of $225,000 from George Sodini, who opened fire in a health club this month, killing three women and injuring nine before killing himself, The Tribune-Review reported. Sodini was a graduate of Pitt and the bequest became public this week. But Pitt announced that it believed any available funds from the bequest should go to victims of the shootings and their families.

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