Students, faculty and alumni are objecting to planned eliminations of many language programs at the State University of New York at Albany, packing a faculty meeting Monday, The Albany Times-Union reported. One alumnus, Ronald Bustin, told the newspaper that he was changing his will as a result of the furor, ending a planned donation to Albany. "They're telling students humanities mean nothing," he said. George Philip, president of the university, told the faculty meeting that he supported the humanities but that the university needed to preserve some programs by eliminating others with low enrollments. "Cutting budgets across the board is a formula for mediocrity," Philip said. "What it ultimately does over time is weaken every program on campus."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Oregon is seeking to become the lead plaintiff in a class action, securities fraud lawsuit against Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix. The suit charges that the university misled investors by not accounting for student withdrawals from courses, withdrawals that when exposed caused Apollo stock to drop -- causing a loss of about $10 million to Oregon's state retirement system, the suit charges. A statement from Ted Wheeler, Oregon's treasurer, said: "With this lawsuit, we hope to teach a lesson that businesses like the University of Phoenix cannot take advantage of their students or their investors." Manny Rivera, a spokesman for the company, told The Oregonian that "Apollo Group takes its disclosure obligations very seriously and intends to defend this lawsuit vigorously."
President Obama is expected to issue an executive order Tuesday aimed at strengthening federal efforts to improve the educational attainment of Hispanic Americans. The revised document, which will come on the heels of a summit held Monday by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, is expected to establish a presidential commission that will work with community leaders to gather advice on Hispanic education, and an "interagency working group" to help coordinate the federal government's efforts on a wide range of issues important to Hispanic Americans, including housing, health, finance, employment and education.
National Collegiate Athletic Association investigators have closed their review of possible rules violations in the men's basketball program at the State University of New York at Binghamton, finding no major infractions, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. The Binghamton basketball program has been ravaged by damaging headlines since last fall, when The New York Times described allegations of academic and other misconduct. The letter from the NCAA saying that investigators had found insufficient evidence of major wrongdoing prompted the lawyer for the university's suspended coach, Kevin Broadus, to call for his reinstatement. But given the academic and other breaches uncovered in an audit at Binghamton, such a return would seem unlikely.
Its much-hyped Super Bowl commercials feature buxom young women in revealing clothing (and in one instance, encountering a wardrobe malfunction that got the spot barred from the airwaves). Now GoDaddy.com, the domain name registry, says it is attaching its name to one of the 429 -- oops, we mean 35 -- bowl games certified by the National Collegiate Athletic Association this year for Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams. The GoDaddy.com Bowl will be the new name for the GMAC Bowl, which has been played in Mobile, Ala., since 1999. This is just one of the games with new names this year; others include the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (previously the Emerald Bowl) and the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl (formerly the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, and at least two other sponsors before that). And one other new entrant in the bowl naming game this year is Bridgepoint Education Corp., parent of fast-growing Ashford University and the University of the Rockies. Bridgepoint, a San Diego-based company, announced in April that it would sponsor the Holiday Bowl through 2012. Terms were undisclosed.
Ronald Mason Jr., president of the Southern University System, set off a controversy last week when he suggested that the University of New Orleans be merged into the system. The University of New Orleans is part of the predominantly white Louisiana State University System, while Southern is historically black. Headlines about Mason's comments led some to believe he wanted to merge the UNO campus into Southern's New Orleans campus -- an idea he has since stressed isn't what he was talking about, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. The idea he wanted to put on the table -- likely equally controversial, but different -- was to move the University of New Orleans into the Southern system. Mason has experience with controversial merger proposals and black colleges, having in January, while president of Jackson State University, backed a plan to merge Mississippi's three public black colleges. (That plan didn't advance.)
Although an Arizona law added two seats to the board of the Maricopa Community College District, the seats have been delayed because of a federal review of the civil rights implications of the change, The Arizona Republic reported. The new seats would be elected at large, while the five current seats are all elected by districts within the district. The federal review focuses on whether the creation of at-large seats would dilute minority representation.
President Obama on Friday announced the 10 researchers who have been named recipients of the National Medal of Science. They are:
- Yakir Aharonov of Chapman University.
- Stephen J. Benkovic of Pennsylvania State University.
- Esther M. Conwell of the University of Rochester.
- Marye Anne Fox of the University of California at San Diego.
- Susan L. Lindquist of the Whitehead Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Mortimer Mishkin of the National Institutes of Health.
- David B. Mumford of Brown University.
- Stanley B. Prusiner of the University of California at San Francisco.
- Warren M. Washington of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
- Amnon Yariv of the California Institute of Technology.
Three campuses experienced fatal shootings of students in the last week:
- Police shot and killed Danroy Henry, a football player at Pace University, early Sunday morning after he allegedly tried to drive away from a bar fight, crashing into two police officers, The New York Post reported.
- A student at Lane College, in Tennessee, died last week after being accidentally shot by his roommate, the Associated Press reported.
- A student from Hampton University was shot and killed early Sunday morning at a post-homecoming party at California University of Pennsylvania, and two students were injured in the shooting, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The University of Southern California plans to announce today that it has received two gifts totaling $100 million aimed at showing how technology is transforming academe and industry, the Los Angeles Times reported. The gifts, to be announced on the day that USC inaugurates its new president, C.L. (Max) Nikias, are designed to create a new cancer treatment focused on nanomedical research and a new building for high-tech journalism studies, the Times reported. The donations come from an alumnus and from the Annenberg Foundation, respectively.