Georgetown Changes Building Names Tied to Slavery

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced Saturday that in response to a study group's recommendations, he would rename two buildings that honor former university presidents, one of whom authorized the sale of 272 slaves from a plantation in 1838 to help pay off the university's debt, and the other one who advised on the sale. Students have said that these former presidents shouldn't be honored as they are with building names at the university. As a result of the announcement, Mulledy Hall and McSherry Hall will be renamed Freedom Hall and Remembrance Hall, respectively, until new permanent names are selected. While the university has been studying the possible name change for some time, the announcement follows a protest Friday in the president's office.

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Opposition to Safe Campus Act Continues (Update)

UPDATE: The North-American Interfraternity Conference and the National Panhellenic Conference withdrew their support of the Safe Campus Act on Friday. Both groups said in statements that they will continue to support the Fair Campus Act, which includes many of the same provisions, but would not require students to report an assault to police before allowing a campus investigation.

"After listening to our member fraternities and partners, the NIC is withdrawing its support of the Safe Campus Act," the NIC stated. "The ultimate goal of campus reform is to provide a safer environment for students to further their education."


Five college safety and student affairs groups on Friday stressed yet again that they oppose the Safe Campus Act, a bill that would limit how colleges can respond to cases of campus sexual assault.

The proposed legislation would bar colleges from investigating incidents of sexual assault unless the alleged victim reported the crime to law enforcement. It would also require colleges to allow both the accusers and the accused to have access to lawyers during the investigation and hearing process, and allow institutions to choose what standard of proof they use for deciding responsibility in cases of sexual misconduct.

When the bill was introduced in Congress in July (along with a related bill called the Fair Campus Act), civil liberties organizations, fraternity and sorority groups, and the lobbying group representing them -- a frequent financial contributor to one of the bill's sponsors -- applauded the Safe Campus Act as providing an avenue for “much-needed reforms.” But campus safety groups and victims’ advocates immediately decried the legislation as redundant and harmful. The list of groups opposed to the bills has grown to more than 200 organizations.

During a panel discussion at an event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Clery Act on Friday, representatives from the American Association of University Women, the Association for Student Conduct Administrators, the Clery Center for Security on Campus, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education spoke out against the proposed legislation. "Everyone on this stage is an agreement that the Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act are not about making campuses safe or fair," Alison Kiss, executive director of the Clery Center, said.

William Taylor, president of IACLEA and chief of police at San Jacinto College, added that he believes requiring students to report sexual assault to law enforcement "puts police in an adversarial role" that would have a chilling effect on victims coming forward when they have been assaulted.

Though the bills have been backed by the North-American Interfraternity Conference, the National Panhellenic Conference and the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee -- which has spent more than $200,000 on lobbying efforts -- some fraternities and sororities spoke out against the legislation. Last month, Lambda Chi Alpha, a founding member of the IFC, left the organization, blaming the split, in part, on its disagreement with the IFC's lobbying efforts. At least seven national sororities -- Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi, Delta Phi Epsilon, Gamma Phi Beta, Phi Mu and Sigma Delta Tau -- have now released statements stating their opposition to the proposed legislation.

"Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority rejects the proposed Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act," Delta Phi Epsilon said in a letter to the National Panhellenic Conference Friday. "The bills eliminate the process by which sexual assault survivors on college campuses may seek relief, support, advocacy and help from their campuses."

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UPDATE: U.S. to Settle Fraud Case With For-Profit College Chain

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday announced a $95.5 million settlement with the Education Management Corporation to resolve allegations that it defrauded the government. The Huffington Post reported on the settlement over the weekend.

The agreement ends a long-running lawsuit that accused the for-profit college chain of illegally paying bonuses to admissions recruiters based on the number of students they enrolled.

Those allegations were brought to light in a whistle-blower lawsuit by a former employee in 2007. The Justice Department, as well as another former employee, joined the suit in 2011.

The Education Management Corporation owns the Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie Colleges and South University chains. The company was taken private last month amid falling enrollments and revenue.

Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, called the settlement "historic," noting that the payment would be the largest false-claims payment by a for-profit institution in history. EDMC's actions were "were not just a betrayal of students' trust," Lynch said, "they were a violation of federal law."

Politicians Request Meeting Records From UNC Board

North Carolina legislators are seeking notes from a closed session of the University of North Carolina governing board in which members gave 12 of the system's 17 chancellors raises.

The request reflects growing frustration of the governing board by legislators, several of whom think the board is too secretive. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger told The News & Observer that the request reflects an "open meetings issue" reflective of "a number of other issues" the Legislature has had with the board.

The UNC board decided Friday to give the Legislature the records, according to the Observer, but some members said it was an intrusion on the board's autonomy.

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NCAA Chief Warns Colleges on Academics

INDIANAPOLIS -- It is the job of universities with big-time sports programs -- not the National Collegiate Athletic Association -- to ensure that athletes are taking real courses and earning high-quality degrees, the NCAA's president told a roomful of public university presidents and other administrators Sunday.

Mark Emmert, the association's president, said that significant increases in the academic preparation of freshmen at many colleges and universities have put athletes -- whose academic profile has changed little -- at a growing disadvantage, creating a "mismatch" on "a lot of campuses." Athletes are competing in the classroom with ever-stronger students while spending "spectacular amounts of time" on their sports. That tension makes it incumbent on institutional leaders to ensure that "we are not cheating young men and women by not providing them academic programs of high quality," Emmert said.

"It's not the role of a national athletic association to say what an English course has to be to have integrity," he said. "Some people somehow think the NCAA ought to be able to walk onto campus" and play that role. "But that’s your job; you have to make sure you’re doing it."

Emmert's comments come at a time when the NCAA is preparing to increase its eligibility standards for athletes, and amid a rash of academic scandals that some attribute to the pressure on colleges to keep academically underprepared athletes eligible.

Court Upholds Right of Towson to Keep Player Off Team

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld the right of Towson University to keep off the football team an athlete who nearly died when on the team two years ago, The Baltimore Sun reported. Gavin Class was on the team when he collapsed. While Class was suffering from extremely high temperature, his heart briefly stopped and his liver failed. He has since restored his health and wants to return to the football team, with support from his medical team. But Towson's medical team maintains that he remains too high a risk, and that the university is not equipped to provide the monitoring needed to assure his safety.

A lower court gave Class the right to return to the team. But the appeals court said, “Giving deference to Towson University’s judgment, as we are required to do, we uphold its determination.”

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Rider, Faculty Union Reach Deal to Avoid Cuts

Rider University and its faculty union have agreed on a deal that will freeze professors' wages for two years so that the university can abandon planned layoffs and program cuts, reported. The cuts would have included 14 full-time faculty positions, an unknown number of part-time adjunct slots and more than a dozen majors. Rider said that the two years of faculty salary freezes will free up $2 million.

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Land-grant university group backs adaptive learning with new grant project

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A public university group is backing adaptive learning, with grants to encourage universities to use the personalized digital courseware across multiple introductory courses.

UNC Fires Two More in Scandal Over Sham Courses

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday announced it had fired two more employees in a scandal over fake courses in which many athletes enrolled and received credit despite not doing any work, The News & Observer reported. The dismissals bring to six the number of employees who have lost their jobs in the scandal. A former associate dean was allowed to keep her job as a faculty member, but not to return to an administrative role. That official says the university's findings about her are unfair.

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Mitch Daniels draws praise and criticism for his comments on Yale and U of Missouri

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Mitch Daniels criticizes two universities that have struggled with racial tensions and free speech issues. Some are praising him, but many are angry -- and he'll face a demonstration on campus today.


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