Rutgers University police have arrested six members of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, charging them with beating at least three pledges for seven consecutive nights, The Star-Ledger reported. The university and the sorority's national organization immediately suspended the Rutgers chapter.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Maryland Higher Education Commission has declined to revisit its decision barring the University of Maryland University College from offering its community college leadership training program to Maryland residents, The Baltimore Sun reported. The commission acted at the request of Morgan State University, a historically black institution that argued that the UMUC program would duplicate one at Morgan State that the state was obligated to protect. UMUC officials argued that since their program is online -- and can be offered to those outside the state -- the decision didn't reflect the nature of distance education.
A former nursing professor at Tennessee State University falsified data and results in federally sponsored research on sexual risk behaviors among mentally ill homeless men, the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday. The agency, in a statement in the Federal Register, said that James Gary Linn, who was a professor of nursing at Tennessee State, had provided falsified data to the university and to a journal that published an article on his research in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He will be barred from involvement in any federal studies for three years.
Education Trust, which just two weeks ago released a report slamming flagship universities for not doing enough to enroll and graduate low-income and minority students, is drawing attention to some success stories. On Thursday, the organization released its analysis on colleges that have made notable progress in increasing minority graduation rates and/or narrowing the gap between minority and non-minority graduation rates. For example, the analysis notes that Georgia State University increased its minority graduation rate from 32.3 percent in 2002 to 50.7 percent in 2007. And the University of Wisconsin at Madison increased its minority graduation rate by 11.5 percentage points, to 60.4 percent.
An Illinois state representative, Monique Davis, announced Thursday that she will return to Chicago State University a $25,000 statue from the university that ended up in the lawmaker's office the Chicago Sun-Times reported. It remains unclear how the statue ended up in her office. Chicago State officials asked for it back, without success, but pressure grew on Davis to return it after a Sun-Times columnist revealed the situation last week.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is talking up his plan to provide an extra $100 million in funds to Florida's universities next year, but not everyone is convinced he has the money. The plan would focus the new money on degrees and programs that result in jobs for graduates or economic development for the state. While legislative leaders say that they like the theory, The Miami Herald reported that they are skeptical of the availability of funds. Crist's budget assumes growing sales tax revenues that will allow for $2 billion in new spending, but legislators are projecting deficits of that size, not extra money.
Howard Zinn, an influential leftist historian whose books are widely assigned on college campuses, died Wednesday at the age of 87. Zinn was politically active throughout his career, which included teaching positions at Boston University and other institutions. At BU, he was both a critic and target of John Silber during his presidency there. Of Zinn's books, the most influential is A People's History of the United States, which describes itself as "American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools -- with its emphasis on great men in high places -- to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace." Zinn's Web site features numerous essays, interviews and a bibliography.
Students and faculty members at Shimer College -- a small "great books" institution in Chicago -- are in an increasingly tense fight with the board and president, the Chicago Tribune reported. Shimer has historically delegated a great deal of authority to students and professors, many of whom were taken aback when the president fired the admissions director. Critics also bemoan the recent expansion of the board, which they say has attracted many conservatives. The administration and trustees say that their actions are designed to preserve the college's unique curriculum by putting the institution on solid financial ground.
Lynn University announced Wednesday that all signs indicate that the four students and two faculty members who have been missing in Haiti since the earthquake there were killed by the disaster. Eight other Lynn students who were part of the service trip were able to return safely to the United States. A statement from Lynn's president, Kevin M. Ross, praised the dedication of those who went to Haiti. "Theirs was a journey of hope. Theirs -- a selfless commitment to serving others," he said. "They were on the ground in Haiti to find, feed and focus on the poor of that nation. In the day and a half before the quake, they did just that -- doling out rice at a distribution center and holding the hands of sick children in a dilapidated orphanage. They intended to do much more. In their absence, it is incumbent upon the rest of us to follow in their stead."
Advocates for the student press are accusing Los Angeles City College of a series of actions to limit the rights of reporters on the student newspaper there, calling the incidents one of the worst patterns they have seen in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The incidents involve attempts to control content and to discourage reporters from covering various campus events. College officials declined to discuss specifics, saying that they needed to focus on other issues.