Last month, Marshall Drummond somewhat mysteriously left the chancellorship of the Los Angeles Community College District, announcing that he and the board had mutually agreed on the move. Drummond was in his second tenure in the job, having left in 2004 to lead the statewide community college system, but returning in 2007 to what he called the job he was really drawn to. It's still not clear why he left, but the Los Angeles Times reported on his settlement: $428,750 (over 19 months) and lifetime health insurance.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The New Jersey Institute of Technology and its alumni association will be in court this month in a dispute over the use of the institution's name, the Associated Press reported. The two entities have been fighting since 2001, when the university tore down an alumni center to build a new student center. In 2008, NJIT told the association that it was being replaced with a new group, and that led the alumni to sue.
Old Dominion University officials are denying any conflict of interest in hiring a state legislator -- whose amendment created the Center for Teacher Quality and Educational Leadership at the university -- to run it, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The newspaper, which reported on the situation, prompting criticism of the hire, said that university leaders said the lawmaker was hired on the basis of his qualifications, not his connections.
The state panel studying a scandal in which trustees and others sought admission for politically connected applicants is calling for the ouster of all gubernatorial appointed trustees, but is not seeking the ouster of top administrators who were involved, the Chicago Tribune reported. At the same time, the final report being prepared by the panel will include harsh evaluations of President B. Joseph White and the Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Richard Herman, which could be used by trustees in the future to take action against them. The university is not commenting until the release of the final report.
European academic leaders are considering adopting a formal statement on academic freedom, with the idea that professors would benefit from an accepted statement of rights in the way American academics cite the statement of the American Association of University Professors, The Times Higher reported. Among the proposals: Faculty members should have the power to select vice chancellors (those who lead universities).
Authorities last year uncovered a major cheating scandal at the University of Texas at Brownsville--Texas Southmost College in which employees, some of them students, helped other students obtain test answers for themselves or give or sell them to others, The Brownsville Herald reported. The cheating involved gaining access to the Blackboard system used by faculty members for tests and grading, among other uses. The university was vague on how it punished students, saying that university procedures were followed (which would have involved an F for students in courses in which they were found to have cheated). Twenty people -- 6 employees and 14 students -- were involved. The university considered, but decided against, pressing criminal charges. Juliet V. Garcia, president of the university, released a statement to the Herald on why she favored internal handling of the matter. "It’s the job of institutions of higher education to preserve and honor academic integrity. Yes, academic dishonesty is a challenge that all educators must be prepared to handle," she said. "The policies and procedures in place at the university provide the means for the campus to investigate and make informed decisions on courses of action appropriate for each case."
Arizona State University hopes to create a set of lower-priced, undergraduate colleges around the state aimed at commuters and offering the option of three-year degrees, The Arizona Republic reported. University officials detailed their plans -- which they will present to the Arizona Board of Regents Thursday, along with proposals from other universities in the state -- for from 5 to 15 campuses that would offer degrees in a small number of high-demand fields such as education, criminology, and communications. Tuition would be set at the amount of the maximum Pell Grant, Arizona State officials told the Republic, with startup costs for the first campus, envisioned for suburban Phoenix, estimated at $4.5 million to $6 million. Arizona is considering numerous options for cutting what students pay for higher education, including letting more students go to community colleges for three years and enrolling at costlier universities only for the fourth year.
A federal jury on Friday ordered Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University graduate student, to pay $675,000 to four music labels for downloading and sharing music online, The Boston Globe reported. Tenenbaum never denied sharing the music online and the judge ruled that his admission of doing so required a verdict in favor of the music companies, leaving the main question to be the size of damages (which could have been much greater). While record companies have threatened legal action many times over the downloading issue, many times focusing on colleges and their students, this is only the second case against an individual to have gone to trial.
Sallie Mae spent nearly $2 million in the first half of 2009 on federal lobbying at a time when Congress and the Obama administration are contemplating a radical restructuring of the student loan programs, the Huffington Post reported. The article, a product of the Web site's fledgling investigative fund, said that Sallie Mae hired a who's who of Washington lobbyists to fight the Obama administration's plan to end lending through the guaranteed loan program that Sallie Mae has dominated, and to push an alternative proposal that faces an uphill climb in Congress.
Citing the state’s severe budget problems, the University of California at Irvine announced that it will cut its men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s rowing, and sailing teams. The institution expects to save nearly $1 million as a result of the cuts. Mike Izzi, Irvine athletics director, said, “I was hoping to avoid discontinuing any of our sports programs, but the athletics department is not immune to the cuts that are occurring in the state and on our campus.”