The University of Kentucky fire marshall is calling for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house to be closed for the rest of this semester and next semester following an unusual and unsafe fire incident, The Herald-Leader reported. According to authorities, they found multiple fire code violations after responding to an incident in which a fraternity member set fire to a friend who was wrapped in toilet paper.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A group of major corporations in Britain says that the government's push to expand access to higher education has devalued university degrees there, The Guardian reported. The British government has set a goal of having 50 percent of all citizens under 30 attain a college degree, and that effort "driven down standards and devalued the currency of a degree and damaged the quality of the university experience," says a report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, which represents 800 companies.
Federal authorities have charged a California man with a massive visa fraud scheme in which he is alleged to have attended 10 different colleges in Southern California, sitting in class, writing papers and taking exams -- all while pretending to be other people who needed to pass the courses to keep their student visas, the Los Angeles Times reported. Daniel Higgins is alleged to have helped about 120 students, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. He pleaded not guilty on Monday and declined to comment on the case.
New enrollment projections suggest that California's colleges need to find room for another 400,000 students by 2019, and that the state could be on a path of turning away many of them. The findings come from the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The enrollment demands will be especially strong for Latino students, whose numbers could go up by more than 40 percent over the decade.
Jonathan Spence, a Yale University historian who is one of the leading experts on China, was named Monday as the 2010 Jefferson Lecturer, the highest honor given by the federal government to a humanities scholar each year. Spence's lecture, to be delivered May 20 in Washington, will be called “When Minds Met: China and the West in the 17th Century."
A student organization at the University of Nevada at Reno, UNR Students for Liberty, held a rally Monday to call for the abolition of student government. With balloons, ponies and pizza, the rally cost about $3,000. KOLO-TV News reported that the group got that money from ... the student government.
Business schools are seeing some improvements in what has been a dismal job and internship market for their students, The New York Times reported. At the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, for example, the number of banks doing interviews is up 20 percent and the number of job offers is up 33 percent.
An unusual clash between a professor and student at Portland State University is examined in an in-depth article in The Oregonian. The professor has been suspended, amid allegations that he violated the privacy of the student by suggesting that he was a government informant and could be dangerous. While some believe the professor went too far, without evidence, others think he was trying to point out a potential danger to students and the university, and is being unfairly punished.
Virginia's attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, last week sent a letter to the leaders of public colleges and universities, telling them that they lack the authority to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the letter, Cuccinelli says that only the General Assembly can ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, and that college policies doing so "create, at a minimum, confusion about the law and, at worst, a litany of instances in which the school's operation would need to change in order to come into conformance." The attorney general did not release the letter and his office declined to comment on it, but The Washington Post obtained a copy and wrote about it. The attorney general's stance could create problems for many colleges in Virginia because they do in fact include sexual orientation among characteristics on which they bar bias. And in many states with legislatures that have not barred such bias, public colleges have done so. Among the Virginia colleges with policies that run afoul of the attorney general's thinking are the College of William and Mary, George Mason University and the University of Virginia. Officials of all three colleges declined to discuss Cuccinelli's letter. The Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement saying that the attorney general was overstepping his authority and calling on the colleges to keep their anti-bias policies as they are.
More college basketball players -- men and women -- are suffering concussions, the Associated Press reported, based on data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. While concussions are more commonly associated with sports like football and hockey, head injuries are on the rise in basketball, in part because larger athletes are playing. As one coach told the AP: “Guys are so big and so strong, the collisions are going to be bigger. If a Volkswagen hits a Volkswagen, it’s a big deal. But if a dump truck hits a dump truck, there’s more damage.”