Kent State University is marking the 40th anniversary of the May 4, 1970 shootings with a new walking tour -- with audio narrated by civil rights leader Julian Bond -- of seven stops that relate to the tragedy. The university is also honoring the placement of the site on the National Register of Historic Places.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities on Friday issued a statement denouncing a new Arizona law that authorizes police to seek identification papers from anyone who may be in the country illegally -- a measure that critics say will result in widespread ethnic profiling of Latinos, citizens and non-citizens alike. "This law will turn Arizona into a police state," said Antonio Flores, the president of HACU, in a statement. "It goes against our best traditions of welcoming and embracing people from all corners of the world who seek to contribute to our national prosperity and to achieve the American Dream." HACU had been considering holding an upcoming conference in Phoenix but will not consider the city as a result of the new law.
Just as the University of Missouri at Columbia took some ribbing for its Ken Lay Chair in Economics, so Harvard University may now get some grief. As Inside Higher Ed blogger University Diaries noted, Harvard has a Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History. David Armitage, who holds the chair, declined to comment on how it feels to have a chair named for the Goldman Sachs CEO.
The U.S. Education Department on Friday announced the formal (if still tentative) resuscitation of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the education secretary on accreditation issues and grants federal recognition to accreditors. Congress killed the last iteration of the panel in the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, but planned for its re-creation in different form, with appointees by both branches of Congress as well as the Education Department. The panel now has not met since 2008, but the department's announcement Friday said that the committee would meet in mid-September -- if the House of Representatives makes its appointments to the panel, to which Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the U.S. Senate have already made theirs.
San Francisco State University had issued a "clarification" of its handling of a December protest that essentially admits that the university broke a deal that an administrator made with students, but the university isn't honoring the deal, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The students made a deal with an assistant dean that they would face no more than $50 in fines if they accepted the idea of university sanctions. Subsequently, the university fined each student $744 -- and told them they would be forced to leave if they didn't pay. The students have been complaining about the apparent change of punishments, and on Friday the university issued a statement indicating that the assistant dean now remembered the promise he made about the $50 fines. The university still isn't reducing the fines to $50, but it is now allowing the students access to an appeals process.
Under fire for promoting sex tourism in Thailand, a California State University professor has taken down a controversial Web site partly devoted to the subject. Kenneth Ng, an associate professor of economics at Cal State Northridge, “reluctantly” took down the site Friday, Provost Harry Hellenbrand said in a statement. Ng said he was discontinuing the site because of the impact it was having on the campus’s reputation, not because he thought its content was inappropriate. Highlighting the complexity of the debate that unfolded over the site, Hellenbrand said “We are trying to balance two principles that, in this case, clashed. Our commitment to gender equity compels us to see the site as offensive; our commitment to expression urges us to tolerate words and pictures we find intolerant.” The site, BigBabyKenny.com, now features a few posts about the controversy that proved its undoing.
The Alabama Legislature reached a deal Thursday that will keep the state's prepaid tuition program functioning, the Associated Press reported. With the 2008 collapse of stock values, the funds invested by the state on parents' behalf no longer appear sufficient to pay the tuition of those who paid to join the plan. Some in the state have worried that the bailout would amount to a large infusion of funds to a program that largely benefits the middle class or wealthy who participate at a time that colleges that primarily serve low-income students are short on funds. In the end, the deal will provide $548 million over 17 years to maintain the program. And in a move that is being criticized, the deal requires public universities to limit tuition increases for program participants, but exempts Auburn University and the University of Alabama systems.
The national leadership of the Kappa Alpha Order has banned members from wearing Confederate uniforms to "Old South" parties that have been a tradition for many chapters, the Associated Press reported. At some campuses, the parties and uniforms have been seen as racially insensitive. A statement from the executive director announcing the rule said: "In today's climate, the order can ill afford to offend our host institutions and fend off significant negative national press and remain effective at our core mission, which is to aid young men in becoming better community leaders and citizens."
California needs to revise its famous master plan for higher education by admitting many more students to universities, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California. The report argues that the relatively small percentages of students the plan envisions receiving a bachelor's degree are insufficient in today's economy. The analysis calls for the University of California to serve the top 15 percent of the state’s high school students (compared to today's goal of the top 12.5 percent) and for the California State University campuses to serve the top 40 percent (as opposed to the top 33 percent today). The report also calls for stricter rules to assure smooth transfers from the state's community colleges to its universities.
The University of Oregon has "reassigned" its general counsel to teach at the law school, The Eugene Register-Guard reported. University officials aren't commenting on the reasons behind the switch, but it follows a controversy over the departure package negotiated by the university with its athletic director.