President Obama is on Monday expected to announce a new public-private partnership to promote better job training at community colleges, The New York Times reported. The idea behind the program, which would be overseen by the Aspen Institute, is that while some job training programs are effective, many are not, so some public-private effort might help spread information on the concepts in the successful programs, so they can be replicated.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Immigration issues took center stage Saturday in a debate of the gubernatorial candidates in California. The chief issue was the recent allegation that Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, who has called for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, was responsible for having hired a housekeeper without legal documentation to work in the United States. But the issue of immigrant students also came up. A California State University at Fresno student, who is undocumented, asked the candidates about legislation -- supported by Democrat Jerry Brown and opposed by Whitman -- to create a path to citizenship for students like her. Brown then pointed out that Whitman not only opposes the legislation, but has called for undocumented students to be kicked out of the state's public universities, the Los Angeles Times reported. "She wants to kick you out of this school because you are not documented and that is wrong, morally and humanly," Brown said. Whitman defended her stance, saying "I don't think it's fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher university and favor undocumenteds."
Northeastern University, which eliminated football last year, is experiencing increases in the number of applicants and the number of donors since the decision, The Boston Globe reported. While officials there don't claim that the increases are because of the decision on football, they say that the trends debunk the theory that by eliminating football, colleges will undercut alumni or student support.
A new report from the National Academies outlines the reasons why efforts to improve the science and technology work force in the United States cannot succeed without progress at educating more minority students in these fields. For the United States to reach the national goal of having 10 percent of all 24-year-olds holding a degree in science or engineering disciplines, the number of underrepresented minority students in these fields would need to at least quadruple, the report says. The report highlights steps colleges and universities could take -- based on the successes of some institutions -- in attracting and graduating more minority students in science.
Gay students at the University of Rhode Island have ended an eight-day library sit-in following an agreement with the university, The Providence Journal reported. The students said that the university was failing to assure a safe environment for them. Under the agreement, the university will add sensitivity programs to promote tolerance, give gay students "a voice" on several university committees, move up the schedule for adding a chief diversity officer and for a new staff member for the gay center on campus, and turn an existing building into the gay center's new home.
Cecilia Chang, already facing charges of embezzling about $1 million from St. John's University, in New York, is now facing additional charges, of forcing scholarship students to work as personal servants, The New York Times reported. Chang was charged with forced labor and bribery, in response to allegations that she told the students, most of them foreign students, that working 20 hours a week under her supervision was required for their scholarships. The duties included menial tasks at her home and such tasks as driving the dean's son to the airport. A lawyer for Chang said that the students' work was a normal part of work-study programs.
A state budget board in South Carolina on Wednesday imposed a partial moratorium on higher education building projects, in a sign of its members' displeasure with big increases in the institutions' tuitions, The State reported. The board's action comes at a time of turmoil in the political climate for higher education in the state, with the departing governor, Mark Sanford, using a purported summit on higher education Tuesday to lash out at colleges for their prices and perceived inefficiency, following deep cuts in state spending over the last two years that have forced public colleges to slash their own budgets. The moratorium restricts the initiation of new development projects at four-year colleges that raise tuition by 7 percent or more this year and at two-year colleges that boost tuition by at least 6.3 percent, although several categories of projects (those financed with private funds, those with safety implications, etc.) are exempted.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have required foundations and other auxiliary groups tied to California's two main university systems to open their lists of donors to the public, Central Valley Business Times reported. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Leland Yee, a frequent critic of university governance and spending practices, emerged in the wake of controversy over the amount that a foundation at California State University at Stanislaus had paid to bring Sarah Palin to campus, and its refusal to reveal the total. Lawmakers approved the bill, saying it was needed to ensure accountability at California State and the University of California, but Schwarzenegger said the measure, as crafted, would not sufficiently protect the privacy of individual donors.
The student newspaper at Northwest College, which reported on numerous controversies involving the two-year institution's president and carried on despite the firing of its adviser, has won the College Press Freedom Award. The Northwest Trail earned the award, presented by the Student Press Law Center and the Associated Collegiate Press, because "after [adviser Ron Feemster] was fired, the staff did not retreat from pursuing serious and controversial topics” (including about a religion-tinged recruiting campaign by the college's Mormon president), the law center's director, Frank LoMonte, wrote in an e-mail to the Trail's editors. Feemster wrote about his experiences as the newspaper's adviser on Inside Higher Ed last month.
A jury on Thursday convicted Raphael Haim Golb, a real estate lawyer, of impersonating a New York University professor and others who disagreed with the theories of Golb's father about the Dead Sea Scrolls, The New York Times reported. Golb claimed that that e-mails at the center of the case were parodies and not meant to be taken seriously.