SEC Adopts Rule Barring Transfers With Violent Pasts

The Southeastern Conference will no longer allow its members to accept transfer athletes with histories of domestic and sexual violence. The new policy, adopted last week, states that any athletes who have been subject to official university disciplinary action for "serious misconduct" such as domestic abuse and sexual assault at another college are not eligible for athletically related financial aid, practice or competition at an SEC program. If an athlete is later proven to be innocent, a waiver can be granted to the student. The SEC is the first athletic conference to adopt such a rule.

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U of Alabama at Birmingham Revives Football Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will bring back its football program in 2016, the university announced Monday, reversing a controversial decision made in December to shut down the struggling program over its costs. “Given the broad base of support never before seen, as of today, we are taking steps to reinstate the football, rifle and bowling programs,” Ray Watts, the university's president, said in a statement. “I am forwarding documents to Conference USA and the NCAA notifying them that UAB plans to remain an FBS program and a full member of C-USA.”

Over the next five years, donors -- including alumni, students and the city of Birmingham -- have pledged to come up with the $17.2 million the university says is required to remain competitive, the Associated Press reported. UAB will maintain, but not exceed, its current level of institutional support to athletics, the university said. “To do otherwise would require us to take additional funds from our academic and health care missions, which we will not do,” Watts said.

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Oxford Hires First Female Vice Chancellor

After nearly 800 years of male leadership, the University of Oxford has its first woman leader.

Oxford announced on Thursday that Louise Richardson, the principal and vice chancellor of Scotland's St. Andrews University and a scholar of terrorism and security studies, would take the helm of the prestigious British university, serving as vice chancellor (the equivalent to an American university president).

Around 45 percent of Oxford’s undergraduates are female, according to a Guardian article.

Though Richardson is the first woman to lead Oxford, other prestigious universities in the United Kingdom have already hired female leaders.

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UNC Will Remove Name of Klan Leader From Building

The board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted to change the name of Saunders Hall, which since 1920 has honored William L. Saunders, a Reconstruction-era leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Board members said that they believed it was a mistake for the board in 1920 to say that Saunders's Klan ties were worthy of honoring. The building will be renamed Carolina Hall.

The board also announced plans to more formally create ways to study the university's history, and declared a 16-year moratorium on renaming other buildings. Students and faculty members have been pushing for a name change, saying that it was inappropriate to have an academic building named for Saunders.

Ithaca College Adjuncts Form Union

Adjuncts at Ithaca College voted to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, 172 to 53, they announced Thursday. Sarah Grundberg, an adjunct instructor of sociology, said in a news release that the union will “not only make the college stronger as a whole but will also continue to set an example nationally that part-time faculty deserve better working conditions and that coming together can and does facilitate positive change.” Adjuncts elsewhere in New York State, at the College of Saint Rose and Schenectady Community College, have recently formed SEIU-affiliated collective bargaining units as part of the union’s national Adjunct Action campaign. Thomas Rochon, Ithaca’s president, said in a statement that the college plans to bargain in good faith with the new unit, to “reach a consensus that balances the requests of the faculty with the ongoing needs of the college and its students.”

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D2L gets into adaptive learning with a new tool aimed at professors

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Recent adaptive learning entrants seek to put faculty members in charge of "personalized" content, but will the tools go beyond pilot projects?

Barriers for Black Students in California

Only 23 percent of working-age black adults in California hold bachelor's degrees, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, compared to 42 percent of their white counterparts. And one-third of black adults in the state attended college but earned no degree. The report also found that black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private nonprofit universities in the state. They are overrepresented at California community colleges and for-profit institutions, however.

Rural Students Less Likely to Enroll and Persist

Rural high school students in Oregon were less likely to enroll and persist in college, according to a new study from REL Northwest, a regional research group that receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The study tracked students in Oregon who began high school between 2005 and 2007. It found that 55 percent of rural students enrolled in college, compared to 63 percent of nonrural students. Likewise, 78 percent of rural students persisted into their second year of college, compared to 83 percent of their nonrural peers. Those gaps were apparent even when the study controlled for students' performance on state assessments, and they occurred at all types of colleges.

Academic Progress Rates Continue to Rise in Division I

College athletes continue to improve academically, at least as measured by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's academic progress rate, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The 2013-2014 season saw record high scores for the most high-profile college sports, the association said. The most recent four-year APR for Division I athletes was 978. Men’s basketball players earned a 961, up 4 points from last year's score. The football rate increased 5 points to 956. Women’s basketball increased 2 points to 975, as did baseball to 969.

Despite the overall increase in APR scores, a number of programs are facing postseason bans and other penalties for not maintaining the minimum APR score required by the NCAA. Historically black colleges and universities continue to be hit the hardest by the requirement, with 10 of the 16 institutions penalized this year being HBCUs. The average single-year APR for teams at what the NCAA calls limited-resource institutions -- which includes HBCUs -- has risen in the past four years, however.

“The academic performance of limited-resource schools is improving faster than that of any other part of the Division I membership,” Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, said in a statement. “The goal of the academic performance program is to encourage teams to improve academically, not punish those who underperform. We will work with HBCUs and limited-resource schools to make sure their college athletes have every opportunity to succeed academically.”

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Yale Graduate Allegedly Stabs Student, Jumps to His Death

A recent Yale University graduate allegedly stabbed a fellow student before jumping to his death from the ninth floor of an off-campus apartment on Tuesday. The stabbing victim, Alexander Micaud, is in stable condition, the New Haven Register reported. “In this difficult time, we extend our sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the families of these two members of our community and wish Alexander a complete recovery,” Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, said in a statement.

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