A Spelman College sophomore was shot and killed by a stray bullet during a conflict late Wednesday between a group of students and non-students on the campus of nearby Clark Atlanta University, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The two colleges are part of the Atlanta University Center, which also includes Morehouse College and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Another student from Clark Atlanta was also wounded by an errant gunshot. Spelman's president, Beverly Daniel Tatum, said in a statement on the college's Web site Thursday that "words cannot express the sadness I feel about the tragic loss" of Jasmine Lynn, "the result of senseless violence." Also Thursday, police officers arrested three men who were involved in an incident that resulted in the shooting of a student at California's Skyline College, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The men who were arrested were not responsible for shooting the student; they were reportedly allies of the student who was shot, and two of the three men were enrolled at Skyline. Police are still hunting for the men responsible for the shooting.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Harvard University this week unveiled its open database of faculty research, with more than a third of its arts and sciences faculty members participating so far. Since the faculty of the main undergraduate college voted in February 2008 to support the system known as Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard, in which professors' scholarly works are automatically included in the online repository unless they specifically opt for them not to be, Harvard's law, government and education schools have also agreed to participate.
The Board of Trustees at Montgomery College voted late Thursday to end the presidency of Brian K. Johnson, amid faculty discontent over his alleged misspending and reports that he faces prison time in Arizona for non-payment of child support. The faculty at the two-year institution in Washington's Maryland suburbs voted no confidence in Johnson last week, citing evidence they'd accumulated that he had spent tens of thousands of dollars on questionable expenses. And Thursday, The Washington Times reported that police officers in Arizona have a warrant out for his arrest that would land him in jail if he returned to the state. In a statement, the chairman of the college's board said it had decided not to renew Johnson's contract and had placed him on administrative leave immediately. Johnson came to Montgomery College from the Community College of Allegheny County just two years ago.
Alabama's Stillman College canceled its home football opener scheduled this weekend because players had flu-like symptoms and officials did not want to risk spreading the illness further, The Tuscaloosa News reported. “I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore the possibility of putting our team, fans and the general public at risk,” Curtis Campbell, Stillman’s director of athletics, told the newspaper. Guidelines issued for campuses by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that colleges consider calling off large events if they are seeing significant numbers of cases of the H1N1 virus, and some sports officials have begun crafting contingency plans.
Oakland University, in Michigan, canceled its first day of classes Thursday after the faculty union’s decision to strike because of a continuing contract dispute. Lizabeth Barclay, grievance officer for the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said that in her more than two decades at Oakland she could not remember another time when the university canceled classes because of a labor dispute. Typically, she noted, only a small percentage of faculty members end up going on strike, and the university can continue on with classes. Indeed, late Wednesday night, as contract negotiations dragged without promise, Oakland issued an alert to students, encouraging them to “remain prepared for classes during [the] work stoppage.” The decision to cancel classes, however, came at 10 a.m. Thursday, after a number were scheduled to begin on the campus. David Groves, an Oakland spokesman, declined comment on the change of plans and the contract talks. Barclay said that the university and the union have agreed to continue negotiating through the Labor Day weekend. This current dispute is not the first indication of discontent at Oakland. Last year, the administration locked its senior administrative offices to the public, and several faculty members said that secretaries would let them in only if they had appointments.
Students took out 25 percent more in federal student loans in 2008-9 than they did the year before, according to Education Department data reported by The Wall Street Journal. The federal data showed borrowing rising to $75.1 billion, higher than the 17 percent most recently projected by the Obama administration. Robert Shireman, deputy under secretary for education, called the rise "definitely above expectations" and attributed it to the poor economy and increases in federal limits on how much students can borrow.
In a sign of the impact of the recession on colleges with large endowments, Stanford University announced that total layoffs at the institution over the last eight months were 412 -- some of whom are still working with their jobs due to end soon. Stanford is projecting at 30 percent drop in endowment value in 2009.
WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a gathering of presidents of historically black colleges and universities Wednesday that their institutions are essential to the future of the country's education system -- and that they must do a better job helping students get degrees. That dual message, delivered to the 2009 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference here, is consistent with the forceful ideas put forward this summer by John Silvanus Wilson Jr., the Obama administration's new head of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Duncan filled his speech with praise for the tradition of historically black colleges' doing more with less, preparing generations of black leaders despite often comparatively "meager resources." Other colleges could have much to learn from HBCUs in these lean times, Duncan said, singling out institutions such as Elizabeth City State University and Philander Smith College. But while black colleges will benefit heavily from the economic recovery package and other federal aid, they, like other institutions, will have to become more cost efficient. Duncan also challenged the institutions' effectiveness, noting that the teachers they produce are less likely than their peers to pass certification tests and that many of the colleges have graduation rates below 20 percent, an "unacceptable outcome for students.... And just like other institutions of higher education, HBCUs cannot explain away big differences in graduation rates simply by reference to the usual suspects. The management practices of those colleges have to be part of the explanation -- and part of the solution."
More than half of the 165 colleges providing information to the American College Health Association reported instances of the H1N1 virus on their campuses, the association said in the first of what will become weekly reports from a survey of institutions. Combined, the colleges in the survey -- which is designed to supplement federal surveys by providing a campus-specific picture of the swine flu outbreak -- reported 1,640 cases, or about 7.9 per 10,000 students. Instances were highest in the Southeast and far Northwest, the ACHA reported, and the illness remains mild so far. "Despite brisk disease activity on campuses in some regions of the country, we have just one report of hospitalization and no reported deaths due to influenza," said James C. Turner, president of the association and executive director of the Department of Student Health at the University of Virginia.
A final deal to revive Antioch College -- independent of Antioch University -- will be signed Friday. The agreement was announced by the Great Lakes Colleges Association, which has helped promote the negotiations between the alumni leaders who will be managing the revived college and the university's board.