Creating the conditions on campuses that allow leaders to encourage change (essay)

To achieve positive change in higher education, we must create campus cultures that celebrate shared learning as we go, writes Judith S. White.

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BREAKING: Controversial U of Akron President Quits

The University of Akron announced Tuesday morning that its controversial president, Scott L. Scarborough (right), is stepping down today, by mutual agreement with the board.

Scarborough has been involved in repeated controversies during his less than two years at Akron. He has led efforts to make significant budget cuts, which would have been controversial even if he had not been spending money on renovating his university home. Many were shocked by the $951,000 in renovation costs, and in particular $556.40 on a decorative olive jar (without any olives).

Some of his controversial decisions were reversed. He tried to eliminate the jobs of everyone at the university press (but then pulled back on that). And just last week he ended a relationship with a local company to supplement its student advising and mentoring staff. The company, Trust Navigator, had no other higher ed customers, and the move came soon after the university eliminated numerous positions in its student success division. And the $840,000 price tag seemed to many to be too high for a university that was struggling with enrollments and revenue.

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Baylor Athletics Director Resigns

Baylor's athletics director, Ian McCaw, has resigned, the university announced Monday. McCaw's decision came days after Baylor's Board of Regents fired the university's head football coach amid allegations that the world’s largest Baptist university has continuously mishandled -- and sought to suppress public discourse about -- sexual assaults committed by its football players and other students. Baylor's president, Kenneth Starr, stepped aside on Thursday at the board's urging.

The board chose not to fire McCaw last week, though it did place the athletics director on probation for his role in mishandling allegations against players.

“After much reflection and prayer, I have decided that a change in athletics department leadership is in Baylor University’s best interest in order to promote the unity, healing and restoration that must occur in order to move forward," McCaw said in a statement Monday. "I have always sought to put the University’s needs ahead of my own. My time at Baylor has been an incredible journey filled with some of the most remarkable people I have ever known. I am grateful to Baylor Nation for its support and dedication, and to all who have done so much to advance the athletics program.”

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U of Georgia Apologizes for Contract With Rapper

Greg McGarity, athletic director of the University of Georgia, has apologized for the terms of the contract with Ludacris (at right), a rapper who performed at the university's spring football game, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. Speaking at a meeting of the athletics department's board, McGarity said that “I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement." The comment was a reference to the contract with Ludacris. He was paid $65,000 for a 13-minute performance. But much of the criticism has focused not just on the fee, but on all of the items that the contract required the university to provide Ludcris, including six Hanes t-shirts, two bottles each of cognac and vodka, one bottle each of red and white wine, two cases of Snapple and a box of condoms. Deadspin published the full list.


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NYU Broke Pledges to Those Who Donated Bodies

For years, some bodies donated to the medical school of New York University ended up in mass graves, despite promises by the university that the bodies would not be disposed that way, The New York Times reported. NYU officials have apologized and said that the practice has been halted.


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Traditional theological schools explore mergers and campus sales amid financial pinches

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Mainline Protestant theological schools are exploring mergers and campus sales as they feel a prolonged enrollment and financial pinch, but experts see smaller institutions bubbling up under different faiths.

Jury Sides with Virginia Wesleyan in Rape Lawsuit

A jury ruled Thursday that Virginia Wesleyan College was not liable for the 2012 rape of a female student. The former student filed a lawsuit in 2014, seeking $10 million and alleging that the university "turned a blind eye" to the fact that "male students were drugging female students, rendering them incapacitated and raping them." The alleged rapist was a member of the college's lacrosse team. The university found that the man had assaulted the female student and originally dismissed him, according to the lawsuit, but later allowed the athlete to withdraw voluntarily, instead, and play lacrosse at another institution. 

"The jury correctly rejected [the] claim that Virginia Wesleyan College failed to take reasonable and adequate steps for the safety of its students," the college said in a statement. "The college is pleased with the jury’s affirmation of its efforts to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all of its students."

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On Average Day, 1.2 Million Students Drink Alcohol

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has issued an updated version of "A Day in the Life of College Students Aged 18 to 22." Some of the key findings are that, on an average day in the last year:

  • 1.2 million full-time students (of a possible 9 million) had at least one alcoholic drink.
  • Just over 700,000 full-time students used marijuana.
  • Of the 2 million part-time students in the study, 239,000 had an alcoholic drink and 195,000 used marijuana.
  • More than 2,500 students used alcohol for the first time.
  • More than 1,500 students used an illegal drug for the first time.



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Petition Demands Ken Starr Remain Baylor's President

Nearly 1,500 people have signed a petition demanding that Kenneth Starr remain president of Baylor University. Facing pressure from the university's Board of Regents, Starr is expected to resign after months of allegations that the university has continuously mishandled sexual assaults committed by football players and other students.

"Ken Starr is a wonderful genuine leader," one Baylor alumna wrote on the petition. "Anyone that has ever met him can say the same and has. No one has gone through life without making mistakes. That does not take away from his heart and his intentions. Ken Starr loves Baylor and the students, so sincerely. I can't and don't want to imagine Baylor without him."

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Akron abandons advising experiment with outside start-up after 1 year

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University of Akron abandons its partnership with untested start-up company to provide "success coaches" after one year.


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