A review at Northern Virginia Community College has identified some areas of concern in the response to a campus shooter -- who fired but didn't hit anyone -- last fall, The Washington Post reported. Among the findings: The campus police officers who responded didn't have floor plans or master keys to enter various rooms or buildings, and 36 of the 45 security cameras on the campus where the shooting took place were not working.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Loyola Law School in Los Angles took some grief in the legal blogosphere when blogs noted that it had raised the grade of every student -- retroactively -- by one level (with every B turning into a B+ and so forth), saying that it was just reacting to easier grading standards elsewhere. It turns out that at least 10 law schools have in the last two years made grading standards easier, The New York Times reported. The goal has been to make students more competitive in a tight job market.
The Wadena campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College suffered substantial damage from a tornado last week. Officials have vowed to rebuild, but have announced that, for the summer, courses will be relocated.
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Campuses in the University of North Carolina System are scheduled to have 17 buildings completed in the next year, some of them sophisticated science facilities, but they may not open as the state can't provide any money to operate them, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Lacking funds, the universities would have to pay for maintenance and utilities by cutting from academic funds, which are already due to receive major cuts.
A federal trial begins this week on what could be a key legal case for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The case involves a suit against Quinnipiac University over a move to eliminate its women's volleyball team. The university has denied wrongdoing. The suit charges that the university counts its men's and women's rosters in ways to create a false impression of relative gender equity. One of the issues in contention, as the Associated Press reported, is whether the university can count its "competitive cheer squad" as an athletic team.
If you are worried that state legislators are making huge cuts to education programs without recognizing the consequences or taking responsibility, this video on The Huffington Post of an interview with an Arizona state senator won't comfort you. But if you are worried about the state of student journalism, you might be encouraged by the tough, informed questions about cuts in vocational and technical education.
After months of refusing to answer questions about access to a talk by Sarah Palin, California State University at Stanislaus has announced that reporters will be allowed to cover the event, the Associated Press reported. The appearance -- a fund raiser for the university foundation -- has been criticized for the selection of a divisive speaker, her high speaking fees, and secrecy over plans.
A new international affairs institute in Canada is the focus of a debate over academic freedom. The Globe and Mail reported that concerns have grown since the ouster of Ramesh Thakur, formerly vice rector of United Nations University, as the first director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The school is affiliated with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and a private think tank founded by Jim Balsillie, an entrepreneur. The concerns focus on the control that the think tank has over appointments at the university-affiliated international affairs center. Thakur, in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail, said: "Academic freedom is the bedrock of the university, and autonomy from outside interests (however well-meaning) is important in protecting that academic freedom.”
Harvard University's medical school, suffering from its endowment decline, has negotiated a deal in which hospitals with which it works will provide $36 million for operations over the next three years, The Boston Globe reported. Harvard's medical school has been unusual in being able to rely largely on endowment income and research grants, but that is no longer viable. As part of the negotiations for the funds, the hospitals asked for speedier decisions on matters involving their doctors and for detailed information about the medical school's finances.