Providence College is going to the Rhode Island Supreme Court to appeal an order that the college turn over documents related to the 2002 death of 19-year-old student who slipped off of a dormitory rooftop, The Providence Journal reported. A judge had ordered release of the documents as part of a wrongful death suit by the student's father. But the college's appeal says that to do so would create problems in much corporate litigation and would endanger principles of lawyer-client privilege.
Higher Education Quick Takes
One focus of the investigation into the University of Illinois admissions scandal has been the way the Urbana-Champaign chancellor and others pressured the law school to admit politically connected applicants who wouldn't have stood much of a chance without that help. Now the state panel conducting a probe of the scandal is examining a letter by Heidi Hurd and an apparently contradictory voicemail message by Hurd, a law professor who was dean at the time, the Chicago Tribune reported. In the letter to the panel, Hurd calls the law school a "victim" in the situation, and describes her efforts to minimize the damage. She also criticizes Richard Herman, the chancellor, who relayed the requests for admissions help. But the Tribune reported that she also left a voicemail on Herman's home phone -- turned over by the university to the state panel -- in which she calls Herman a "knight in shining armor" and says she is his "most ardent admirer." She adds in the message: "I just know someday ... when we are kicking around in heaven, we will be able to drink and laugh about this the whole time.... But to the extent that I have played a role in a scenario that should not have unfolded for you, I am beyond, beyond belief sorry." Hurd's lawyer issued a statement Wednesday saying that she wanted to thank Herman for his help in advancing the law school, and that they disagreed about the admissions requests from "selfish, meddling politicos." The lawyer added: "The humanity she displayed in a private moment should be respected and applauded, not criticized."
The University of California -- in intense budget-cutting mode because of the state's fiscal mess -- is about to lend the state nearly $200 million. But as The San Francisco Chronicle reported, the loans aren't charity, but an attempt to get university building projects moving again. The state has been unable to support the university through bond measures for many key buildings, but the loan -- being repaid with interest -- will allow the university to move ahead with otherwise blocked projects.
A second black faculty member at Harvard University has come forward to detail what he calls racial bias that led to his arrest by the Cambridge police outside his home, The Boston Globe reported. In this case of assault and battery charges, the professor -- S. Allen Counter of the medical school -- was acquitted. Counter said he hasn't previously gone public with the story out of fear that the police would harass him. His statement follows the national debate over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard professor who is a leading figure in African-American studies, outside his home (and the subsequent dropping of charges). Cambridge police did not comment to the Globe on the Counter statements.
A new tool -- the Educational Needs Index -- has been unveiled to help educators, politicians, and others measure the status of educational attainment and needs by geographic area. The project is based on U.S. Census Department data and backed by the Lumina Foundation for Education. State and local data focus on measures of:
- Educational attainment, measured by the percentage of the population with high school and college degrees.
- Economic capacity, measured by the percentage of the population in poverty, unemployment rates, the existing earnings capacity of residents and dependence on manufacturing and extraction jobs.
- Population dynamics, including demographics based on the population aged 19 and younger, and the relative size of an area’s minority populations (African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans), who historically have been offered fewer educational and economic opportunities, and younger citizens who likewise face educational and training needs.
Louisiana College has announced plans to create a medical school in 2012, the Baptist Press reported. The program has a proposed operating budget of $30 million, well over the college's current operating budget of $20 million annually. The state of Louisiana has been attracting interest as the site for new medical schools of late, with an Australian university planning to start a program in which students would be educated in Louisiana and Australia.
Court documents show that 26 scientific articles in journals, all about hormone replacement therapy for women, were at least partly ghostwritten by a medical communications company paid by the pharmaceutical company Wyeth, The New York Times reported. The articles suggested a consensus on the value of the therapy, but that apparent consensus has since fallen apart. Eighteen journals published the articles -- without revealing Wyeth's role.
The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, has purchased BPP Holdings, a major for-profit higher education company in Britain. A statement from Apollo said that the acquisition could lead to an expansion of Apollo operations in Britain and the rest of Europe. The Times Higher noted that the education leaders of the Conservative Party -- increasingly favored in the next general elections -- have expressed interest in seeing an expanded role for for-profit higher education in Britain.
Two groups that represent academic libraries -- the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of College and University Libraries -- have joined an appeal to an injunction banning the publication of 60 Years Later, a planned sequel to Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger sees the sequel -- written under the pen name Mr. C., and telling the story of what happened later in life to Holden Caulfield -- as infringing on his copyright, and a federal judge agreed. But the college library groups, along with other library organizations and civil liberties groups, view the injunction as unfair. In a brief filed with a federal appeals court, they argue that the injunction doesn't recognize the extent to which the new work is -- whatever its merits as a work of art -- a distinct literary work. Allowing the injunction to stand infringes on free expression of the sort that college libraries rely on, the brief argues.
After the University of Central Florida decided to eliminate its engineering technology program, it set off a competition among community colleges (many of which in Florida are expanding offerings, including bachelor's degrees). As The News-Journal reported, Daytona State College has signed contracts with 10 of the professors who taught at Central Florida, planning to revive the program. And the presidents of four other community colleges have stated their interest in starting bachelor's programs in engineering technology.