The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that Oklahoma State University was within its rights to use eminent domain to obtain the last piece of land needed to build a new athletic complex, the Associated Press reported. The case was remanded, however, for hearings on how much the university must pay two brothers who own the land, and who sued to block the use of eminent domain.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passed legislation Wednesday that would prohibit the promotion of any post-season National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I contest “as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.” The bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, passed the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection by a voice vote. According to an Associated Press account of the vote, only Democratic Rep. John Barrow of Georgia dissented. The Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) crowns its champion following a 16-team playoff, whose title game is next week, putting it in compliance with the legislation. The Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), however, crowns its champion via the Bowl Championship Series, an arrangement among the wealthier conferences in the subdivision, whick picks two teams to play in a title game. Republican Sen. Orin Hatch brought Congressional attention to the controversy surrounding the BCS this summer, when he pushed the Justice Department to investigate it for antitrust violations at a packed Senate subcommittee hearing. To date, no action has been taken on Hatch’s request. Of the latest attempt by Congress to force college football to accept a playoff system, Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, did not mince words, saying in a statement before the House subcommittee vote, “With all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played.”
Students at the University of Alabama worried about juggling academic responsibilities with attending the national championship of college football can rest easy. The Crimson Tide will be playing in Pasadena, Cal., on Jan. 7, and classes were scheduled to resume at Alabama after the mid-year break on Jan. 6. The university has decided to call off all classes Jan. 6-8, so there will be no conflicts, The Tuscaloosa News reported. While students may receive extra assignments as a result, the class days will not be rescheduled.
Several colleges that have been experiencing high profile financial difficulties received bad news this week from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The accreditor placed Greensboro College on warning status, and Lambuth University on probation. Notre Dame Seminary, in Louisiana, was also placed on probation. The Southern accrediting group has responsibility for the region with most of the historically black colleges -- and sometimes has disputes with those institutions. But in this week's round of decisions two historically black colleges were removed from warning status (Florida Memorial University and South Carolina State University) and one was removed from the probation list (Alabama A&M University).
An anonymous donor to Chemeketa Community College, known as "The Investor," has given nearly $300,000 over the last two years to support prison education programs. A feature article in The Oregonian details the impact of the gifts. Since Congress barred the use of most federal student aid for prison education, programs have dwindled. According to the article, the donor has no personal or family history with being in prison, and believes the education programs are an important investment in the community.
Appropriators from the U.S. House and Senate reached agreement Tuesday on a compromise spending bill that would finance education, labor, health, science and other federal programs for the 2010 fiscal year. The omnibus legislation, which is designed to be the first of two Congress will consider to fund the numerous spending bills that lawmakers have so far failed to pass for the fiscal year that began October 1, would increase spending for the National Institutes of Health to $31 billion and for the National Science Foundation to $6.9 billion, set the maximum Pell Grant at $5,550, and provide $1.4 billion for worker training.
Authorities have fined two students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and told them they can't continue their business of selling reptiles out of their dormitory room, the Associated Press reported. Acting on a tip, officials found that the students' room contained snakes (including one rattlesnake, two adult pythons, and several younger pythons), an alligator, three chameleons and mice. The students said that they were using classified ads to sell the animals.
A student fired a rifle at a math instructor in class Tuesday at Northern Virginia Community College, but there were no injuries, The Washington Post reported. According to authorities, the student fired two shots as the instructor shouted for other students to duck, and the shooter then went into the hallway and waited without incident for police to arrive.
Princeton Review said Tuesday that it had completed its $170 million takeover of Penn Foster Education Group, which provides career training and administers an online high school. The transaction, which was announced in October, will double the testing company's revenues and mark its entrance in the growing career education market.
With about 200 protesting workers in attendance, and facing charges of allowing wasteful spending, the board of the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District on Tuesday backed off a layoff plan that would have cost more than 100 jobs, The San Jose Mercury News reported. Board members have cited the terrible budget situation in California to justify the layoffs, but critics have noted that the district's outgoing chancellor was found to have charged the district for travel to El Salvador and Scotland, raising questions about whether available funds have been used effectively.