A judge on Thursday ordered a Virginia Beach businessman held without bond while a grand jury considers a range of charges against him for providing women with college "scholarships" in return for, among other things, being spanked by him, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The women described being forced to submit, and other unusual provisions of the awards, including exercise and diet requirements. A lawyer for Henry Allen Fitzsimmons, who is facing the charges, told the judge: "He's providing money to these so-called victims. Who's the victim here?"
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Education Department, citing a diminished budget, has called off the competition for new awards in the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award program, which supports dissertation research abroad. In September, the department invited applications for the program, expressing the hope that it might have $5.8 million, but last week the department announced that no funds would be available for new grants.
California Governor Jerry Brown last week proposed -- as part of a new round of state budget cuts -- that the California Postsecondary Education Commission be eliminated. The governor's budget proposal states that the elimination "would have little programmatic impact as the functions it performs are either advisory in nature or can be performed by other agencies." California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, noted concerns by some analysts that California's three massive higher education systems can't be expected to coordinate among themselves without some additional body charged with reviewing new campuses or major programs, and analyzing statewide trends.
The U.S. State Department announced Friday that it was changing the visa rules for Iranian students that have limited them to "single entry" visas, which have forced any Iranian student who travels outside the United States to reapply for a new visa. The multiple-entry visas for which Iranian students can now apply will allow them to travel abroad and return to their studies in the United States. "This change will allow Iranian students and exchange visitors to travel more easily, furthering our goal of promoting the free flow of information and ideas. This important decision is being taken as the global community witnesses the Iranian government’s increasing censorship and isolation of its own people," said a statement from the State Department.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, named a Tea Party activist to a student seat on the Texas A&M University Board of Regents, and bypassed the official system to do so, The Bryan/College Station Eagle reported. State regulations require the appointment of regents who applied through the student government, but Perry's choice applied directly to his office.
The University of Florida has withdrawn its directive to students at its study abroad program in Italy not to socialize with the "Jersey Shore" cast filming in the area, MSNBC reported. “Generally speaking, students may participate in activities outside their study abroad program, as long as they meet the academic and living requirements of that program," a spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, a University of Chicago student has won funding for a one-day academic conference on "Jersey Shore," The Huffington Post reported. "I think it's very important for academics not to restrict their work to so-called 'high culture,' but to seriously engage with popular culture as well," said the student, David Showalter.
Students from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education have started a sit-in outside the dean's office to protest the recent tenure denial of Mark Warren, The Boston Globe reported. Warren, whose research focuses on community organizing in the schools, is seen by the students as the latest of a series of tenure denials or departures of professors who are focused on social justice issues.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling has released "Best for Whom?" a report summarizing previously released surveys by the association on the skeptical attitudes of high school counselors and college admissions officers about the rankings of U.S. News & World Report. The report notes that both counselors and admissions officers see the rankings as highly questionable in value to prospective students, but influential nonetheless not only with applicants but with those making decisions at colleges.