Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 3:00am

A key panel on Tuesday rejected a 1 percent tax on tuition proposed by Pittsburgh's mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, but he is vowing to push ahead on the idea, and Tuesday's decision does not block him from doing so, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority unanimously rejected the mayor's plan, citing the tuition tax, which members said had been authorized by no state or city legislation. The mayor blasted authority members, and accused them of conflicts of interest because of some members' ties to local colleges, which oppose his plan. He now plans to seek City Council approval of the tax, which could set the stage for a court battle as colleges are vowing to fight it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 3:00am

Although more than half of the athletes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association are black, leadership positions are overwhelmingly held by white men, according to a new report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. Among the 120 universities in the subdivision, in the 2009 season there are seven African-American coaches, one Latino coach and one Asian coach -- a net increase of one minority coach since 2008. The report also notes that institutional leaders at these universities are overwhelmingly white in the bowl subdivision. White people make up 100 percent of the conference commissioners, 93.3 percent of presidents, 86.7 percent of athletics directors, 92.6 percent of faculty athletics representatives, 92.5 percent of head football coaches, and 82.9 percent of the faculty, the study found.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 3:00am

Graduate teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reached a tentative contract agreement with the university Tuesday, and both parties now say the accord protects tuition waivers. The Graduate Employees Organization, a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, went on strike Monday as contract negotiations broke down. The tentative contract agreement, however, prompted the GEO's strike committee to suspend the strike Tuesday evening in expectation of a ratification of the contract by the full union membership. Prior to the strike, the student employees argued that out of state tuition waivers were insufficiently protected in the contract, but the newly agreed upon language requires the university to bargain with the union if any changes are made to the practice of offering waivers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The University of Michigan on Monday released the results of a July audit showing that the university's football team did not turn in required forms that track the amount of time players spend practicing. The revelation comes as the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the university look into allegations that the Wolverine football program broke NCAA rules limiting the amount of time players participate in athletic activities.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The job market for new college graduates has fallen by as much as 40 percent in the past year, according to new data from the Michigan State University Collegiate Employment Research Institute. The Michigan State study is based on surveys of 2,500 companies and other hiring entities. Last year, the survey projected an 8 to 10 percent drop in hiring, but the final figures are closer to 40, and an additional 2 percent drop is anticipated on top of that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Williams College has fired a visiting professor who pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud last week, The Berkshire Eagle reported. Bernard Moore had been a visiting assistant professor, and he had been the organizer of a political symposium that Williams canceled Friday. The fraud charges largely related to conduct prior to his arrival at the college, and a spokesman said that there was no evidence that he misused Williams funds.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Many advocates for free speech were outraged when Yale University Press, in publishing a book about the controversy over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, refused to publish the cartoons themselves. Gary Hull, a Duke University professor, decided the best response would be to publish a book that included the controversial images, and through his new Voltaire Press, he has now done so. The book, Muhammad: The "Banned" Images, includes an introduction by Hull on "the basic choice between free speech and force, and the ethical issues involved in suppressing free scholarly discourse for the sake of multiculturalism," as well as a survey of the history of images of Muhammad.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

A new study suggests that students in coeducational housing are much more likely to engage in binge drinking than are students who live in all-male or all-female housing. The study, appearing today in the Journal of American College Health, is based on data on more than 500 students at five colleges around the United States. The research found that 42 percent of students in coed housing reported binge drinking on a weekly basis, while only 18 percent of those in single-sex housing did so. The researchers discounted the idea that student self-selection may result in those likely to engage in binge drinking opting to live in mixed-sex housing. Their rationale is that most students living in single-sex housing didn't request to do so, but were placed there by campus officials when coed slots are filled. The study was conducted by Brian Willoughby, a visiting professor at Brigham Young University, and Jason Carroll, a professor there. The university noted that Brigham Young -- which bars drinking -- was not one of the colleges studied.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

David Pelham, who became president of Cuesta College in March of 2008, has quit his position at the California community college, The San Luis Obispo Tribune News reported. While the outgoing president is taking a job in the United Arab Emirates, an e-mail he sent out suggested that he believes there are serious problems at the college. He wrote that those at the college need to learn to "make decisions in a manner that is inclusive but faster," "disagree on issues without undermining the credibility of those with whom we disagree" and "develop a collective understanding that how things have been done in the past may not fit our present circumstances."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Thomas Edison State College is using a new federal grant to develop a series of distance education courses for which all materials are provided on flash drives. The idea is that while a student would need to connect to the Internet to submit materials to an instructor, the curriculum could be carried out offline.

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