The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Wednesday rejected as unconstitutional several parts of the code of conduct for students at the University of the Virgin Islands. Specifically, the court rejected bans on "offensive" speech and on language that causes "emotional distress," finding that such regulations were far too broad, and could easily limit legitimate freedom of expression. The ruling was consistent with other federal appeals courts rulings, which have generally barred public universities from regulating similar categories of speech.
Higher Education Quick Takes
New regulations proposed by the National Institutes of Health in May to restrict conflicts of interest in biomedical research sponsored by the agency would significantly increase universities' administrative burden and their costs of complying with federal research rules, four higher education groups argued in jointly submitted comments Tuesday. In their formal response to the proposed regulations, the groups -- the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities -- recommended that the NIH alter several provisions that they argued would require excessive, unnecessary reporting. They also argued that to help institutions meet the costs of the rules, which will require them to "add personnel and expand their infrastructure to meet [their] unfunded federal mandates," the government should provide direct "implementation" grants and increase the rates at which institutions are reimbursed for the indirect costs of research awards.
The Obama administration is planning to ease travel restrictions to Cuba -- and specifically to make it easier for academic and research programs to take place, The New York Times reported. Many American education groups have argued for years that the limits are so severe that they inhibit programs that could benefit both countries.
Like many states, Texas gives car owners to option of paying extra for customized license plates honoring various colleges and universities. Some are even out-of-state institutions. But as The Dallas Morning News reported, a proposed additional option -- a plate saluting the University of Oklahoma, an arch-rival for the University of Texas at Austin -- is generating opposition. One critic posted a comment saying: "In no shape or form. ... Not ever."
A growing number of business schools are creating doctoral programs for business executives, Business Week reported. The programs are typically three years, non-residential and designed for business leaders who already have an advanced degree and considerable work experience.
King's University College, in Alberta, has found itself drawn into the military tribunal in Guantanamo considering murder and terrorism charges against Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail reported that the defense has indicated that a college dean has offered admission for Khadr to the institution. While the dean acknowledges reaching out to him and offering to help, she and the university deny that any offer of admission has been made.
In the United States, public and private universities are trying to recruit in California, thinking that budget cuts and resulting enrollment limits there may create more interest in enrolling elsewhere. With British universities facing budget cuts that will limit spaces, a Dutch institution, Maastricht University, is recruiting those who will be rejected in the U.K., Times Higher Education reported.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
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Nelnet announced on Friday that it had agreed to settle a federal False Claims Act lawsuit that accused the company (along with other student loan providers) of taking advantage of a loophole in federal law to derive hundreds of millions of dollars in excess federal subsidies. The company, without admitting liability, tentatively agreed to pay $55 million to settle claims by a former federal worker that Nelnet, Sallie Mae, and others had illegally profited from a provision in federal law that allowed them to continue to make loans for which they were guaranteed an interest rate return of 9.5 percent. It was not clear as of Sunday if other lenders in the case had reached similar settlements, but the Journal-Star of Lincoln, Neb., reported that the judge in the case had issued an order Friday canceling a trial that was set to begin tomorrow.
The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday ordered raises of 7 percent for the past academic year (awarded retroactively) and 4 percent for the new academic year for faculty members at Chadron State, Peru State and Wayne State Colleges, The Omaha World-Herald reported. The court ruled because of an impasse between the faculty union, affiliated with the National Education Association, which has been pushing for the raises, and the state college system, which said that they couldn't be afforded. The Supreme Court ruling upheld findings of the state's Commission on Industrial Relations, which had called for the raises to be awarded. State college officials said that paying for the raises could lead to serious budget cuts, potentially including layoffs.