Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Monday, November 22, 2010 - 3:00am

The 32 American students announced Sunday as winners of Rhodes Scholarships included the first-ever winners from Ursinus College and the University of California at Irvine. Three winners each were named from Harvard and Stanford Universities and the University of Chicago.

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 3:00am

Monty Cook, a faculty member hired by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to lead a new digital media program, has resigned after being confronted with racy text messages about his relationship with a female student, The News and Observer reported. The text messages were reported by the student's former boyfriend. Cook could not be reached, but admitted the relationship, university officials said. Students in the digital media program Cook led joined in reporting on the controversy.

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 3:00am

Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Rep. Rush Holt, both New Jersey Democrats, have introduced legislation in Congress that would require colleges receiving federal funds to designate cyberbullying as a form of harassment, and to ban and have programs to prevent harassment based on a variety of factors, including sexual orientation. The legislation -- similar to measures being considered in New Jersey's legislature -- was prompted by the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student whom other students allegedly filmed while he was intimate with a man in his dormitory room.

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 3:00am

Madison Area Technical College announced Thursday that a state judge had lifted an injunction on course assignments -- giving the college a win in a legal battle with its adjunct union. The adjuncts objected to a plan to give more courses to full-time faculty members -- a shift the college said was motivated by a desire to have more students taught by full-time faculty members, but that adjuncts said was unfair to them.

Friday, November 19, 2010 - 3:00am

Facing criticism for conflicts of interest, the former president of the Arkansas State University system has requested unpaid leave from the university, while he works for an online education company that sells its services to Arkansas State, officials announced Thursday. Les Wyatt, a professor of art and higher education and the former system chief, had been collecting a $115,000 salary from the university, while at the same time working as a consultant for Academic Partnerships, LLC, formerly known as Higher Ed Holdings. Critics have questioned how the company secured a lucrative contract without any input from non-administrative faculty, and Wyatt said he is turning down his pay from the university to “put an end to speculation about my motives and make clear that I am standing for the university’s best interests.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The national job market for new college graduates is likely to be a little healthier this year, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. While overall hiring is expected to increase by 3 percent, bachelor's level and M.B.A. level hiring both are expected to go up by 10 percent. Even with these gains, however, new grads should expect a tough time -- and nothing like the relatively healthy markets of the 1990s and early part of this decade.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday rejected a new attempt by the Christian Legal Society to challenge the rules of the Hastings College of Law of the University of California requiring student organizations to abide by the institution's anti-bias rules. The U.S. Supreme Court this year upheld the right of the university to enforce its rules, but left open the possibility of a legal challenge if the law school were found to be treating the Christian Legal Society in a different way than other groups. (The society bars gay people and others who do not share its religious views --- and that violates the Hastings rules). The appeals court found no evidence or argument had been made that Hastings is using a pretext to deny recognition to the Christian Legal Society.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The Food and Drug Administration warned the makers of four alcoholic energy drinks popular with college students that adding caffeine to malt beverages is unsafe and that the drinks could be seized if they continue to be marketed improperly to the public. The warnings came on the same day that the maker of one of the drinks, Four Loko, which has been implicated in several recent incidents on campuses, announced that it would remove caffeine and other stimulants from its product.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Nancy Rudner Lugo has sued the University of Central Florida, charging that her contract as a tenure-track nursing professor was not renewed when she objected to using a textbook that she and her students believed contained ethnic and racial stereotypes, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The suit charges that the textbook included stereotypical comments about black, Italian-American, Jewish and Japanese people. University officials declined to comment on the suit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Wednesday that four student loan providers had agreed to pay $57.8 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit that accused them of abusing a loophole in federal law to derive hundreds of millions of dollars in excess federal subsidies. The four lenders are Nelnet ($47 million), Southwest Student Services Corp. ($5 million), Brazos Higher Education ($4 million), and Panhandle Plains Higher Education Authority ($1.75 million). The lawsuit was brought by Jon H. Oberg, a former Education Department official who went public with charges that those lenders and others had illegally profited from a provision in federal law that allowed them to continue to make loans for which they were guaranteed an interest rate return of 9.5 percent. As the individual who brought the False Claims Act suit, Oberg will receive a total of $16.5 million under the settlement, with the rest going to the U.S. Treasury.

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