New Questions on Sex Assaults at Florida State

Court records show that the head of Florida State University's Victim Advocate Office testified that in 2014, 113 students reported being sexually battered (the legal equivalent of rape in Florida), and that Florida State reported only nine cases to the federal government, The New York Times reported. The head of the office also reported that in her nine years of work in the office, she heard accusations of either sexual assault or domestic violence against around 40 football players, but that only one such person was ever found responsible of such allegations. Most women, "based on fear," opted not to pursue cases, she said.

The university issued a statement that defended its handling of sexual assault cases, saying that it has "no way to confirm or deny" the allegations made in the court records because "communications with such victims are confidential. All students who seek Victim Advocate services are offered the opportunity and support to move forward within the criminal justice system or within the university. Equally important, those who wish to remain confidential and/or anonymous are given that opportunity. Absent a student being willing to report outside of the confidential walls of the Victim Advocate Program, the hands of the criminal justice system and the university's conduct code proceedings are tied. We cannot act on allegations of which we are unaware."

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Disputes Over Johnson C. Smith's Financial Health

A former trustee who was ousted from the board of Johnson C. Smith University is raising questions about the private, historically black university's financial health. The Charlotte Observer reported that Talmadge Fair, the former trustee who is president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, has drawn attention to growing deficits at the institution. Documents filed by the university indicate a $7.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, and a $10 million deficit for the prior year. The newspaper also quoted an employee who discussed regularly fielding phone calls from vendors who were not being paid.

The university published statements on its website last week that defended the ouster of Fair from the board and said he was not removed for expressing dissent. Further, while the statement acknowledged that the U.S. Department of Education has placed Johnson C. Smith on its list of colleges under heightened financial scrutiny, the statement said the university was financially sound and was being judged that way by the department and its accreditor.

Early glimpse at student achievement at College for America, a competency-based degree provider

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Southern New Hampshire U's College for America releases a promising early snapshot of the general-education learning and skills of students who are enrolled in a new form of competency-based education.

Faculty Buyouts at Gonzaga U Law School

Gonzaga University School of Law has offered buyouts to all 17 of its tenured faculty members following a 28 percent dip in enrollment since 2011, Inlander and Above the Law reported. Like many other law schools, the institution’s applicant pool has decreased, in Gonzaga's case by more than one-third since 2011. Rather than drastically change its admissions criteria, Gonzaga chose to shrink enrollment, at the expense of its budget.

Four of 17 faculty members have accepted the buyout, and no more are expected to. Dean Jane Korn told Inlander, “Every dean had to make a decision to lower standards or take a budget hit, and we decided to take the budget hit. … We did this to avoid problems in the future.” Gonzaga is staffed for about 175 students per class, Korn said, but enrollment was just 125 in 2014.

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Brandeis Rejects Timetable of Protesting Students

Students at Brandeis University have been occupying an administration building that includes the president's office since Friday, with support from some faculty members. The Boston Globe reported that Lisa M. Lynch, the acting president, has pledged support for many of the goals of the protesting students. But in a letter to students and faculty members, Lynch said that she did not favor the specific timetable the protest movement is demanding. “We recognize that we must go further to fulfill our founding ideals,” she wrote. “However, reacting to immediate timetables and ultimata is not something that is productive or does justice to the work that needs to be done.” Setting a timetable “does not allow for engagement of all members of our community. This deep engagement is critical to ensure that the course we follow takes account of the many important interests that are involved or implicated in any initiative and has broad support,” Lynch added.

New presidents or provosts: Armstrong Cecil Colgate Cuyahoga Daytona Hamline Marymount Michigan Tech Pacific Oaks Sierra

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  • Mary Way Bolt, vice president for academic programs at Cecil College, in Maryland, has been promoted to president there.
  • Patricia Breen, provost at Pacific Oaks College & Children's School, has been promoted to president there.

Rock at Youngstown State U Painted with 'ISIS' Messages

A large rock at Youngstown State University on Monday was painted with pro-ISIS messages proclaiming that "France deserves destruction" and warning that the terrorist group was "coming." In a statement, the university said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and university police were investigating the messages, but that there was "no credible threat to the campus."

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Republicans Question White House Panel on For-Profits

Senator John McCain and Senator Lamar Alexander, both Republicans, last week wrote to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to seek information about what they called the "unfair targeting" of the University of Phoenix and other for-profits by a Obama administration-created interagency task force. The task force includes eight federal agencies, the two senators said. In the letter they expressed concern about a lack of information about the task force's authority, mission, duties and activities.

"It is our hope that these publicly funded resources will be directed toward a fair and transparent review of issues facing for-profit and nonprofit institutions, and not for a preconceived, political agenda to stir the pot of public perception," the senators wrote. "To do so otherwise would neither be productive nor benefit the public trust."

The letter follows a similar correspondence from Republican senators to Duncan on the task force, which McCain also signed, that focused on a U.S. Department of Defense inquiry of Phoenix.

Maryland says collaboration, not merger, best solution to end higher education discrimination

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Maryland officials call a proposal to merge a commuter institution with a HBCU a "far-reaching, risky scheme," arguing instead that joint degree programs can better end decades of racial inequity among the state's public colleges.

Louisiana's Next Governor Has Vowed to Stop Cuts

State Representative John Bel Edwards (at right), a Democrat, on Saturday defeated U.S. Senator David Vitter, a Republican, in the Louisiana governor's race. Edwards has vowed to end a series of deep cuts the state has imposed on Louisiana's public colleges under Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican. Edwards has also pledged to end "cuts and closure" discussions about solving the state's budget problems by closing or merging a public colleges, and to improve what he has called an "inferior" retirement system for faculty members. The Edwards higher education plan may be found here.


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