The vice president of a Los Angeles community college co-owned a company that gained half a million dollars from her college through a construction program she oversaw on her campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. Karen Hoefel, who co-owns the company with her husband, was vice president of administrative services at Mission College. She quit last year after the Times asked questions about a possible conflict and the district told her that she had to quit or the company she and her husband own would be excluded from future business. The Times has been running a series raising numerous questions about the management of a massive construction project in the Los Angeles Community College District, and the district has been highly critical of the series.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Faculty members at the Rhode Island School of Design voted no confidence last week in President John Maeda and Provost Jessie Shefrin, The Providence Journal reported. Of 194 faculty members who attended the meeting to discuss the proposed vote, 147 voted in favor it. Faculty members argue that the administration's new strategic plan places so much emphasis on interdisciplinary work that key disciplines -- especially in the fine arts -- are losing their essential role. The president and provost issued a statement after the vote saying that they have "heard the point of view of the faculty and take it very seriously."
Adjunct faculty members at Manhattanville College voted last week -- 221 to 50 -- to unionize. The adjuncts will be affiliated with the New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.
Students at Dickinson College ended a sit-in Saturday after college officials pledged some changes and to discuss others with regard to the handling of complaints of sexual assault. Protesting students questioned whether the college was strict enough with students accused of rape and sexual assault. The college said that, going forward, expulsion would be the only punishment from Dickinson for rape and that the college would not consider appeals of such a sanction on grounds of "excessive harshness."
St. Cloud State University has taken the unusual step of ending homecoming, The Star Tribune reported. Officials said that relatively few alumni participated in homecoming events, and that the university will try to cultivate alumni by encouraging them to "come back anytime," not just for an annual football game.
California legislators are moving toward a compromise on eligibility for Cal Grants, the state's student aid program, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Some lawmakers originally wanted to reduce the maximum grants for students at for-profit colleges to the levels for those attending public colleges and universities. That approach has been replaced with one in which all colleges will need to meet certain standards on default rates and other measures for students to be eligible.
"The University of Redwood," an unaccredited college that seems to be no more than a website with content taken from that of Reed College, was taken down Wednesday by Go Daddy, the website's Internet host. Officials at Reed had been trying to remove the website, which they believe was used in a scam to collect college application fees, since the fall. Reed was successful in November in removing the site for 10 days, but Go Daddy reinstated the website. After Inside Higher Ed reported about the struggle to disable the copycat website two weeks ago, Reed's lawyers sent additional requests to Go Daddy to remove the site, citing provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Ben Butler, Go Daddy's director of network abuse, issued this statement as to why the "University of Redwood" site is down again: "After Go Daddy re-enabled URedwood.com, we received a complaint about potential fraud on the website. After conducting an investigation and discussing the situation with the customer, the website has been taken offline."
Senate leaders on Friday released their version of a bill to set federal spending for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year, which would reject virtually all of the cuts proposed in the legislation that passed the House of Representatives last month. The Senate measure -- which, if passed, would set up a sharp contrast and a potential conflict that could lead to a government shutdown -- would keep the maximum Pell Grant at its current $5,550, largely shield spending on other student aid and academic research programs, and sustain programs that the House would eliminate, such as the AmeriCorps national service program.
University presses need to consider new business models, and share information on successful new approaches, but no one model should be assumed to be correct for all, according to a report being released today by the Association of American University Presses. "[T]he simple product-sales models of the 20th century, devised when information was scarce and expensive, are clearly inappropriate for the 21st-century scholarly ecosystem. As the report details, new forms of openness, fees, subscriptions, products, and services are being combined to try to build sustainable business models to fund innovative digital scholarly publishing in diverse arenas," the report says.
The report stresses the role of university presses in vetting and improving scholarly writing, not just publishing it, and that emphasis turns up in several recommendations. "Open access is a principle to be embraced if publishing costs can be supported by the larger scholarly enterprise. University presses, and nonprofit publishers generally, should become fully engaged in these discussions," the report says. Another recommendation: "Proposals and plans for new business models should explicitly address the potential impact of the new model on other parts of the press’s programs, as well as explicitly address the requirements, both operational and financial, for making the transition to a new model."