Student demonstrators, led by the activist group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, demanded the creation of the parallel student government during campus protests last year. In March, the Kansas Student Senate approved of the student fee increase to support the new organization. But on Wednesday, Bernadette Gray-Little, the university's chancellor, wrote to the Student Senate's executive committee, saying she could not recommend that the Kansas Board of Regents approve the new fee.
The University Senate Code only allows for three governing bodies on campus: the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate and the Student Senate. Altering the code to officially allow for a fourth representative body would require at least year of deliberation, Gray-Little wrote, meaning the fee would be created before the multicultural student government officially existed.
"I believe that the independent student government proposed in the document sent to the University Senate is not an optimal way to achieve the goals we have for diversity and inclusion at the university and, indeed, may lead to greater divisiveness," Gray-Little wrote. "I realize that this proposal grew out of concern about the accessibility and openness to student government to all of our students."
Trinity Carpenter, interim secretary for the Multicultural Student Government, told the Lawrence Journal-Worldthat the group plans to keep pushing for funding.
"This hurts, because we are the marginalized students who know there is a need for this resource," Carpenter said. "It’s even harder to accept because they have admitted there is a need for this institution and are not supporting it."
While police investigate an apparent hate crime against a black University of Iowa student who was severely beaten near campus Saturday night, university officials are working to explain how more than three days passed between the attack and the institution’s response.
The university first released a statement on Twitter early Wednesday, responding to concerned students using the hashtag #ExplainIowa. Iowa officials said they did not learn of the attack until Tuesday, when they were contacted by a television news station in Chicago, where the student’s family lives. “We are deeply disturbed by the incident and concerned for the student,” the university tweeted.
The 19-year-old victim told police that he was walking in an alley in downtown Iowa City, across the street from the university’s campus, when three men began punching him and yelling racial slurs. He suffered damage to his eye socket and lost most of his two front teeth. He was released from the hospital Monday evening, at which point he reported the crime to police. Iowa City police said the case is being investigated as a hate crime. The suspects were described as being three college-age white men.
After the university was contacted by ABC7 in Chicago, officials reached out to the local police department for more information and then met with the student and his family Wednesday morning. It was after the meeting -- 84 hours after the incident occurred, 36 hours after the crime was reported to police and 12 hours after the news report aired -- that the university released a campus crime alert about the attack, as required by federal crime-reporting laws.
The delay angered many students on campus, who took to Twitter to ask how a news station in Chicago learned of an alleged hate crime against a student before anyone on campus did. “How many black students must be a victim of a hate crime before an alert is sent out,” one student asked. Tweeted another: “Thanks, Chicago, for letting us know what happened a 10-minute walk from my room.”
Iowa officials originally defended the university's response, noting that an alert was issued as soon as officials learned enough information about the attack following the news station’s report. Later, the university released a more conciliatory statement, saying the victim’s family had actually first contacted campus police to report the incident, but they were directed instead to the Iowa City Police Department because the crime occurred off campus. If Iowa students were involved in the attack, the university added, “they will be subject to disciplinary procedures,” including suspension or expulsion.
“We later learned that the student did visit UI police late Monday night, but because the crime occurred off campus, he was directed to ICPD to file a report,” the university said. “This was intended to prevent the victim from having to share his story multiple times. However, we now recognize this as a failure in current UI protocol and will be working with many campus and community partners, including ICPD, to improve reporting mechanisms for the future.”
While the overall number of crimes reported by colleges and universities fell between 2001 and 2013, the number of reported forcible sex crimes has increased by 126 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of reports of sexual assault jumped from 4,000 to 5,000. It is unclear if the increase stems from a rising number of incidents, however, or more students reporting the crimes, the American Institutes for Research, which co-authored the report, said.
Arrests for drug law violations also increased, by 70 percent, according to the report. There were 781 hate crimes reported on campuses in 2013, a number that has stayed about the same since the incidents started being tracked in 2009. Overall, the number of campus crimes fell by 34 percent between 2001 and 2013.
Bowling Green State University will pay $712,000 to a former football player who says he suffered permanent brain injuries because the team's coaches and medical staff did not immediately pull him from practice after suffering multiple concussions. In a statement, the university said it admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement and only agreed to pay the player, who had filed a lawsuit against the university, to avoid a trial.
College fraternities are known for hanging offensive and sexist banners in front of their houses. The practice has drawn controversy before, even resulting in Sigma Nu suspending its chapter at Old Dominion University last year. Fraternities at Northwestern University are now under fire for hanging a different kind of sign: banners that raise awareness about campus sexual assault. "This is everyone's problem," one banner read. "Theta Chi stand against sexual assault," read another.
The banners, which were fixed to the outside of fraternity houses during April, were meant to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But some students on campus found the signs to be in poor taste, arguing that fraternities should do more than hang banners when combating campus sexual assault. “To display a banner [saying] that ‘We support survivors’ is really something you have to earn by actually walking the walk,” one student told the Daily Northwestern.
On Monday, Northwestern's Interfraternity Council announced that it would discourage chapters from hanging the banners in the future, and that it would create a four-year sexual assault education program for fraternities. “We recognize now how this campaign may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected,” the IFC's executive board said in the statement. “This was not our intent, but it is our fault for not being cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.
The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.