The board of the Utah College of Applied Technology has agreed to reconsider its recent presidential hire, admitting that the process in which he was hired broke state rules, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The board will re-interview Richard Brems and also the other finalist and reconsider the hire. The original decision was improper because the full board did not interview finalists and information about the finalists was not released to the public.
Higher Education Quick Takes
As students protested outside, the University of California's Board of Regents on Thursday reluctantly approved a 32 percent increase in "fees" (what the rest of higher education calls tuition) for 2010-11. "We're being forced to impose a user tax on our students and their families," Mark Yudof, the UC system's president, said during a committee hearing Wednesday. "This is a tax necessary because our political leaders have failed to adequately fund public higher education." Under the budget, which also seeks a $913 million increase in state support for the 2010-11 academic year, undergraduates and graduate professional school students will see an increase of 15 percent, or $585, in the forthcoming winter and spring terms, and an additional 15 percent increase, or $1,334, beginning in summer 2010.
Medical faculty members at the University of Connecticut Health Center have voted to unionize and to be represented by the American Association of University Professors. According to the AAUP, this is the first time that the faculty at a free-standing medical school will have collective bargaining.
The new community college at the University of the District of Columbia needs independence from the university to be "credible and legitimate," according to a report being released today, The Washington Post reported. The study praises the establishment of the community college in a city that had lacked one, but says that UDC has lost the confidence of the business community, a situation that would hurt the development of the community college. Officials of the college said that their institution would be judged by the quality of graduates, not the link to UDC.
The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally at the University of Mississippi Saturday to protest the university's ban on shouting the final line of a fight song: "The South shall rise again," The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The university has been discouraging the last line -- going so far as to change a song commonly performed at football games -- because the line is offensive to many who see it as a link to the university's racist past. The Klan sees the issue in a different way. "This is not a white or black issue at all. It's freedom of speech. They've got a right to say what they want at the game," said Shane Tate, a Klan leader in the state.
Without admitting wrongdoing, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has agreed to pay $40,000 to a former employee who says she was fired after the university learned that she is a witch, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The woman formerly directed a youth program at the university.
The Hope tax credit is designed to help middle class families pay for college -- but not this much. A Treasury Department audit released Thursday found that several hundred thousand taxpayers sought credit in 2006 and 2007 for more than half a billion dollars more than they were supposed to by claiming the tax credit for a third or even a fourth year; it is limited by statute to two years. The agency's inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS system is not set up to flag taxpayers who seek the credit for more than two years, and that agency officials lack the ability to disallow claims for Hope credits because of "math errors." The audit recommends that the IRS be given that authority. The Hope credit was significantly expanded for 2009 and 2010 as part of the federal economic stimulus package.
The University of Nebraska's Board of Regents is scheduled to vote today on whether to limit embryonic stem cell research at university facilities to studies that would have been permitted under the Bush administration's more restrictive policy. The resolution (see Page 4 at this link), which is backed by several regents supported by Nebraska Right to Life, would put the university out of the mainstream and at odds with policy changes made by the Obama administration, which has cleared the way for far more use of stem cells than was allowed in federally backed studies during the previous eight years.
Colleges and universities reported a 27 percent drop in the number of new cases of likely H1N1 flu, but the closely watched weekly survey by the American College Health Association included the first two deaths attributed to the outbreak. The ACHA survey of 263 campuses found 6,373 new cases of suspected swine flu, with 95 percent of campuses reporting new cases, down from 98 percent the week before. The institutions cumulatively reported 21.3 cases per 10,000 students, down 27 percent from the November 7. Five states -- New Jersey, Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho and the District of Columbia -- reported increasing numbers of cases, with the rest noting declines.
Jessica Goode, 23, a student at Ferrum College, was shot and killed Tuesday, and another student was shot in the hand, when a hunter mistook the students for deer, The Roanoke Times reported. The students were collecting specimens for a biology class. The hunter has been charged with manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm and trespassing.