Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State University's football coach on Monday, ending weeks of steadily mounting pressure on both him and the university in the wake of revelations that Tressel failed to act despite knowing that players had violated National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. Ohio State announced in March that it had suspended and fined Tressel for failing to tell administrators or the NCAA that players had sold team memorabilia and received free tattoos worth thousands of dollars. Although Tressel's two-game suspension grew to five to equal the penalty the NCAA imposed on players, Ohio State had come under increasing pressure to dismiss the coach for his role in the embarrassing scandal. And it appears that it was about to get much worse for Tressel, as Sports Illustrated reports that it had informed Ohio State officials Saturday of a pending investigation showing that the violations at Ohio State were much broader and went on for much longer than the university has acknowledged. In a videotaped statement Monday, Gene Smith, the athletics director, said that Tressel had emerged from a discussion between the two Sunday night persuaded that resigning was in his and Ohio State's best interests.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate at Cornell University voted this month to stop releasing median grades in courses, as the university has done since 1998. The vote followed research finding that students were using the information to select courses with higher median grades. Median grades will still be available to deans, department chairs and those doing research requiring the information.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Backlash continues against the news that some colleges are paying big bucks for graduation speakers. Legislation has been introduced in New Jersey that would deduct from a state appropriation to a public college or university the size of any fee paid to a graduation speaker, The Star-Ledger reported. The move follows criticism of Rutgers University for paying author Toni Morrison $30,000 and Kean University for paying the singer John Legend $25,000 to appear this year. The universities say that students want big-name speakers. One of the legislators sponsoring the bill said that it should be "honor enough to be asked" to attract speakers.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Jeanine Meyer of the State University of New York at Purchase explains the everyday importance of a basic understanding of mathematical concepts. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Five weeks after a tornado forced Shaw University to end its spring semester early, the institution started a summer session on Monday, The News & Observer reported. Student housing on campus is still not available, but Saint Augustine's College is offering housing to Shaw students, and Shaw is providing shuttles between the two campuses.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Amid reports that legislators were not willing to back a plan for the University of Wisconsin at Madison to become independent of the Wisconsin system, Chancellor Biddy Martin acknowledged Friday that the idea -- which had her strong backing -- was unlikely to pass this year, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Martin backed the plan, arguing that Madison needs independence to thrive in an era of limited state funds. The rest of the university system, however, strongly objected, saying that the system functioned better for the state with Madison as a key part.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

Spending on "529" savings plans for college is up 75 percent in the last two years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state-sponsored plans provide tax breaks for contributions to various investment funds. The article attributed the surge to continued concern among families about college costs, but also to renewed confidence in the possibility of making money through investments.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

The leaders of the University and College Union, the primary faculty union in Britain, are backing the right of students to wear burqas, The Independent reported. Union leaders argue that this right will assure that the universities are welcoming to people of all faiths.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 3:00am

A local district attorney has criticized Marquette University for its handling of two allegations of sexual assault by athletes in which the D.A. has now determined that it cannot go ahead with prosecution, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In one case, the accused athlete had a meeting with coaching staff before authorities were notified that the allegations had been made. In both cases, delays from when the university learned of the allegations to when the police learned of them hindered efforts to build a case, officials said. Stephanie Quade, Marquette's dean of students, issued a statement following the criticism: "We're not proud of these incidents or the way in which they were handled. There have been some blunt and direct conversations with offices throughout the university, and we're working on ways to address the issues that have been raised."

Friday, May 27, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Philip Fernbach of Brown University reveals that when it comes to proving a point, weak evidence is often worse than no evidence at all. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

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