Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

An op-ed in the student newspaper decrying "illegal babies" (born in the United States to those lacking U.S. citizenship) has set off debate and protest at Rollins College. The essay in The Sandspur is illustrated with an image of an alien (as from outer space) and opens as follows: "How would you feel if a stranger broke into your home, began to eat your food, wear your clothes and watch your television? I am assuming you would not be the slightest bit welcoming to this intruder. Your home and all its contents were purchased with the finances you strenuously worked to obtain. Under the 14th Amendment, birthright citizenship allows a pregnant foreigner to waltz right over our borders, have a baby, and the baby receives the benefits of being an American citizen."

The Orlando Sentinel reported that more than 200 people turned out to discuss and critique the op-ed, many of them angry that it had been published. Jamie Prizzi, the freshman who wrote it, said she's bothered by all the criticism, but stands by what she wrote.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Although Loyola University in New Orleans has been calling its teams "Wolfpack" for more than 50 years, North Carolina State University has insisted that the institution stop doing so, or pay a licensing fee, The News & Observer reported. North Carolina State says that it has legal trademark rights that bar others from using the name. Loyola officials have been talking to North Carolina State about a possible resolution of the dispute. The Maroon, Loyola's student newspaper, on Monday ran an editorial saying that it was "ridiculous" for North Carolina State to claim, as it has, that Loyola's use of Wolfpack could result in confusion between the two institutions. "Loyola is a private Jesuit liberal arts institution with an undergraduate population of less than 3,000. NC State, on the other hand, is a public research institution with over 23,000 undergrads," the editorial says. "Athletics are a similar study in contrasts. NC State is a NCAA Division I school and part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, sporting 24 varsity teams. Loyola, in comparison, is a NAIA Division I school in the Southern States Atlantic Conference, with a mere 10 sports teams (including men's and women's teams). Can one believably say that they purchased Loyola Wolfpack basketball tickets in the mistaken belief that they were buying NC State Wolfpack basketball tickets? The probability seems low."

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Many states and state universities have been citing the rising cost of retiree health benefits as a key financial challenge. A Boston Globe analysis suggests that the problem may be equally significant at leading private universities. Last year, for the first time, Harvard University's liability for retiree medical benefits ($812 million) exceeded its pension liability ($763 million). While universities are required to set aside funds for pensions, they are not required to do so for medical benefit liabilities for retirees, and some institutions face significant gaps. Yale University, the Globe reported, has set aside $700 million for its $1.1 billion pension liability. But the university has set aside only $274 million for its $820 million retiree medical benefit liability.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Colleges and universities that are highly prestigious tend to have high yields (the percentage of accepted applicants who enroll). But U.S. News & World Report has just published an analysis suggesting that, for law schools, the institutions with the 10 highest yield rates include institutions that are identified by the magazine as the 42nd, 71st, 79th and 140th best law schools, and four that aren't ranked. The data suggest that mission may matter more than typical measures of prestige. Three of the law schools with highest yields are affiliated with religious colleges (Brigham Young, Liberty and Regent Universities). Two others are historically black institutions (Southern and North Carolina Central Universities). The others are the flagship universities in Oklahoma and New Mexico, Harvard and Yale Universities and the University of Memphis.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Tik Root, a Middlebury College junior studying at Damascus University, is missing, and his father said that Syrian officials have confirmed that he is in custody. Middlebury has posted statements from Root's father and from the college's president. Middlebury students have also created a Facebook group to encourage people to push for Root's release. Root's father believes he was watching the protests and was detained along with other observers.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Michigan's universities increased spending on administrative positions by an average of 30 percent in the last five years, with the number of administrative jobs up by 19 percent, The Detroit Free Press reported. Both state enrollment levels and state support were relatively constant during that period, and faculty salaries increased by an average of 22 percent, the newspaper found. University officials noted that even if enrollment is flat, credit hours are up, showing the need for more personnel.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Cortright of the University of Notre Dame provides some context for understanding U.S. and U.N. intervention in Libya. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

New York University late Sunday announced plans to launch a full campus -- described as "a comprehensive research university with a liberal arts and science college" -- in Shanghai. The campus will be the first American university with full, independent authority in China -- a legal status approved by the Ministry of Education. Following the creation of a similar outpost in Abu Dhabi, the new campus is part of NYU's idea of becoming a "global network university." The admissions system for the Shanghai campus will be the first in China to include a range of factors beyond the country's national college admissions test. NYU expects to enroll the first students in the fall of 2013, with half of the students coming from China and half from the rest of the world.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

Lecturers at the University of Washington Extension program, which offers a range of English instruction, have voted to unionize. The new bargaining unit will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Monday, March 28, 2011 - 3:00am

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders on Sunday announced a budget deal that appears likely to include significant cuts to the City University of New York and State University of New York systems. Some additional funds were added that will lessen cuts to the the community colleges in both systems and to SUNY hospitals. More details are expected in coming days.

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