Florida State University has used the diagnoses of learning disabilities to recruit and assist many athletes, including some who may have had little chance of academic success and lacked basic reading skills, according to an ESPN broadcast on Sunday. The show suggested that some athletes are being admitted despite long odds against academic success, and that the diagnosis of learning disabilities is being used to provide substantial assistance to athletes and to get around some NCAA rules, which allow for waivers for some with learning disabilities. The show quoted one source as saying that a third of the football team and three-quarters of the basketball team at Florida State had diagnoses of learning disabilities. Even before the broadcast aired, Florida State was denouncing it.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Utah Board of Regents has approved a plan to make the College of Eastern Utah a regional campus of Utah State University, The Logan Herald Journal reported. The goal of the plan is not to save money, officials said, but to find ways to strengthen Eastern Utah, which has seen enrollment fall in recent years. The plan, which still requires legislative approval, would preserve Eastern Utah's athletic programs, mascot and college colors.
Paul A. Samuelson, one of the most influential scholars of economics, died Sunday at the age of 94. Samuelson was on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was credited with leading the department's rise to become one of the most influential in economics. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1970, and the Nobel Foundation's Web site maintains information on his accomplishments and his Nobel lecture. For generations of undergraduates, his textbook Economics was their introduction to the field. The textbook was first published in 1948 and Samuelson's name remains on it, even as in recent years William D. Nordhaus, a Yale economist, became the primary author. The 19th edition was recently issued by McGraw-Hill. Paul Krugman, an economist at Princeton University who formerly taught at MIT, and shared an office suite with Samuelson, wrote the following in The New York Times Sunday of his former colleague: "It's hard to convey the full extent of Samuelson’s greatness. Most economists would love to have written even one seminal paper -- a paper that fundamentally changes the way people think about some issue. Samuelson wrote dozens: from international trade to finance to growth theory to speculation to well, just about everything, underlying much of what we know is a key Samuelson paper that set the agenda for generations of scholars."
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has given local colleges and universities an ultimatum: Offer a plan to provide $5 million a year in support to the city, or the City Council will vote next week on his proposed 1 percent tuition tax, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The plan for the tuition tax has been opposed by college leaders and students, and is being watched closely by colleges nationwide. There has been some hope that the idea might be shelved if college offered support in other ways. But the mayor's latest statement does not seem to be going over well in higher ed. Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty, in a statement on behalf of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education, said: "Asking universities to fix an underfunded pension fund in return for taking an illegal, counterproductive, and unprecedented tax off the table is unreasonable."
Police arrested 33 protesters Thursday morning who had occupied the business school building at San Francisco State University, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus police, along with San Francisco police, entered the building at 3:15 a.m. and some officers broke windows to get inside because doors had been blocked. The university later announced that the building had been reopened and that regularly scheduled events and classes would take place. The protests have been described as largely being about the major program cuts and tuition increases at the California State University System, but a list of demands on the protesters' Web site also called for the end to wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Gaza; a shift in university control from administrators to students, faculty members and staff; the shutdown of prisons; and the establishment of a single payer health-care system.
Northwestern University Press on Thursday announced that it has acquired the publishing assets of Curbstone Press and that as of Jan. 1, it will publish new titles under the Curbstone imprint. Curbstone and Northwestern are both known for publishing literature from around the world in translation. Curbstone's current publishing list includes work by Luis Rodríguez, Martín Espada, Claribel Alegria, Salah Al Hamdani, Ana Castillo, Wayne Karlin, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sergio Ramírez and Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Harvard University announced Thursday that it will delay, perhaps significantly, construction of a major science campus in Allston. The science center on the campus -- estimated to cost in the range of $1 billion -- was part of a major campaign by the university to build state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, which has been difficult on the older, full Cambridge campus. With the university facing a huge endowment loss, Harvard officials have been hinting at a delay for months, but Allston residents have feared the impact of so much space sitting vacant. In a letter announcing the plans, Drew Faust, Harvard's president, stressed that the university would look for ways to lease some of the space now, and that Harvard would seek to minimize the impact of the decision both on Allston and on science departments at the university.
Dartmouth College leaders are issuing apologies and talking about making use of a "teachable moment" following ugly fan behavior directed at members of Harvard University's squash team, The Boston Globe reported. Cheering at a squash match between the two institutions' teams turned into personal name-calling by some Dartmouth fans, using language seen by many who were there as sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic. Women on the Harvard team were called "whores" and "sluts" and men had their sexuality called into question with crude shouts. Many comments were directed against Franklin Cohen, the captain of the men's team from Harvard. He was asked whether he likes bagels, and one witness told the Globe that a student shouted: "Cohen, do you cheat in business, Cohen?"
Antioch College's continued rebirth took another step forward Wednesday with the naming of an interim president, Matthew Derr, who has been serving as chief transition officer. Derr, formerly vice president for institutional advancement at the Boston Conservatory, will now oversee the restoration of the facilities, the hiring of key staff members, and fund-raising efforts.
Young adults who attended college but left without graduating are likelier to attribute their departure to the need to work and make money than to the price of college. They also say that to get students like them to go to college, colleges and policy makers should focus as much on flexible scheduling and financial aid for part-time students as on cutting college prices, according to a survey released Wednesday by Public Agenda and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The survey aims to inject the views of students into a set of policy discussions around college access and completion that are often dominated by higher education officials and policy makers, said Jean Johnson, who directs Public Agenda's education efforts. The survey compares responses of 22- to 30-year-olds who earned a postsecondary degree or certificate with those who did not, on a wide range of questions about their educational backgrounds, aspirations and experiences, and finds that the need to work and support themselves and their families often overwhelmed their desire to stay in school. More than a third of students who had left college and wanted to return said they would not be able to even if scholarships covered their tuitions and books.