2 Universities Reach Different Conclusions on Founder

The University of Denver has released a report examining the role of John Evans (at right, from Wikipedia), its founder, in the 1864 massacre of members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes while Evans was governor of the Colorado territory. The report finds that Evans was culpable for the massacre, and proposes a number of steps the university should take (and that are being considered) to make this history clear and to honor the memories of those who were killed in what has come to be known as the Sand Creek Massacre. The report differs from a similar study produced last year for Northwestern University, the other institution Evans founded. That report, while critical of Evans for his failure to prevent the massacre or to discuss it honestly, stopped short of saying he was responsible for it.


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U. of Kansas asks court to reconsider expulsion ruling

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Did the U. of Kansas overstep its bounds when it expelled a student for harassing an ex-girlfriend online, or was it acting on instructions from the federal government?

NCAA Had Doubts on Its Authority in Penn State Case

The National Collegiate Athletic Association doubted whether it had the authority to punish Pennsylvania State University over the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, according to internal emails recently made public as part of an ongoing court case.

In one email, the sanctions eventually imposed by the NCAA against Penn State were described as an attempt to "bluff" the college. “I characterized our approach to PSU as a bluff when talking to [NCAA president Mark Emmert] yesterday afternoon after the call," wrote Julie Roe, the NCAA's then-director of enforcement. "He basically agreed b/c I think he understands that if we make this an enforcement issue, we may win the immediate battle but lose the war when the COI (Committee on Infractions) has to rule. I think he is okay with that risk.”

In another email, Kevin Lennon, the NCAA's vice president of academic and membership affairs, said that Penn State would accept the association's punishment because the university was "so embarrassed they will do anything." The NCAA eventually decided to vacate years of Penn State wins, suspend the university from participating in postseason games, and fine the institution $60 million. The historic punishment was criticized by some at the time as an overreach of the association's authority.

The NCAA ended Penn State's postseason ban in September, two years earlier than what the sanction had originally called for.

"Debate and thorough consideration is central in any organization, and that clearly is reflected in the selectively released emails," the NCAA said in a statement Wednesday. "The national office staff routinely provides information and counsel to the membership on tough issues. The NCAA carefully examined its authority and responsibility to act in response to the athletics department’s role detailed in the Freeh report. Ultimately, advised by all information gathered the Executive Committee determined to act and move forward with the Consent Decree."

University officials said that they found it "deeply disturbing that NCAA officials in leadership positions would consider bluffing one of their member institutions, Penn State, to accept sanctions outside of their normal investigative and enforcement process."

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Harvard Secretly Photographed Students

Harvard University secretly photographed 2,000 students in 10 lecture halls last spring as part of a study of classroom attendance, The Boston Globe reported. With faculty and students criticizing the action as an invasion of student privacy, the university has pledged to study the issue.


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State referenda and impact on higher education

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Governance change rejected in North Dakota and new student aid fund nixed in Oregon. Elsewhere, voters approved bond measures sought by higher education.


Dartmouth Professors Vote to Abolish Greek System

Faculty members at Dartmouth College voted, 116-13, Monday to ban the college's fraternities and sororities and to abolish the Greek system.

Similar votes have taken place before and had no effect, but the past year has been marked by increasing anti-Greek sentiment on campus. Responding to a poll in August, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and alumni said they would like to see the college's Greek system abolished. Last week, more than 230 of Dartmouth's 588 faculty members signed an open letter urging the college to do away with the Greek system. Earlier this month, the college's student newspaper devoted an entire front page to an editorial calling for abolition. At the same time, joining fraternities and sororities is still a popular choice for many Dartmouth students. More than half of eligible Dartmouth students are involved in the Greek system.

While the college has solicited campus opinions on how to change the campus social scene and Phil Hanlon, Dartmouth's president, has spoken publicly about attempts to clean up Dartmouth's hard-partying and rowdy reputation, the administration has remained quiet about whether abolishing the Greek system would be part of a potential solution. Hanlon was silent during the faculty meeting Monday, wrote Joseph Asch, a Dartmouth graduate who once ran for a seat on the college's board of trustees.

"Not a word to counterbalance the cant and ire of an angry mob that had little time for debate yesterday, that called out angrily for an immediate vote on its motion to abolish Greek institutions that have been in place for generations," Asch wrote on his website the Dartblog. "Perhaps Phil is keeping his powder dry? Perhaps he is working behind the scenes to encourage moderation before the social engineers conduct surgery on a central aspect of Dartmouth?"

The college declined to comment Tuesday.

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Female students still scarce in student government executive positions

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There are more women than men going to and graduating college, but female students only account for about one-third of student body presidents.

College endowments see double-digit returns for the second year in a row

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College endowment gains, which only two years ago were negative on average, are in the double digits for the second year in a row.

Students want Koch, corporate influence off campus

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Student groups around the country, led by Florida State University students, protest corporate money and influence in academics, with a focus on the Koch brothers.

Fort Hays Ex-President Objects to Governor's Ad

Edward Hammond, the former president of Fort Hays State University, who is still doing work for the institution, issued a statement Sunday in which he said he never gave permission for his image and for a quote to be used in a mailing by the campaign of Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican facing a tight re-election battle, the Associated Press reported.

The statement from Hammond said that he was "shocked and disappointed," and that he didn't endorse candidates in his university role nor would he do anything that appeared to be an endorsement. The Brownback campaign referred questions to the state Republican Party, which paid for the ad, where an official said that the party was "happy to highlight" a quote from Hammond saying that he was satisfied with the budget plan for the university.

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