Division Among Trustees Over U of Louisville President

Several members of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Tuesday attempted to have a vote of no confidence against President James Ramsey, but other board members made procedural objections to block the vote, The Courier-Journal reported. The vote may well take place at a future board meeting and suggests that Ramsey has lost, amid a series of scandals, what was once seen as strong backing from his board.

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Survey: Half of Community College Students Report Mental Health Problems

Newly released results of a survey of community college students found that almost 50 percent of those surveyed had a current or recent mental health problem. The Wisconsin HOPE Lab, a research organization, surveyed 4,000 students at 10 community colleges across seven states. The resulting report found that 36 percent of respondents suffered from depression, and 29 percent had struggled with anxiety. Those rates are higher than those among students at four-year institutions, the lab reported. And mental health conditions also were more common among younger students at community colleges.

Fewer than half of the community college students with a mental health condition were receiving treatment, the report found. Roughly 88 percent of community colleges do not have a psychiatrist or other licensed prescriber on staff or contracted to provide services, according to the lab. And 57 percent do not provide suicide prevention resources.

Valparaiso Law Offering Buyouts to Faculty

Valparaiso University Law School is offering buyouts to tenured faculty members and those with multiyear contracts due to a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment since 2010. “To put the law school and our students in the best position to succeed, we are taking steps to meet the challenges facing legal education,” Nicole Niemi, university spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The purpose is to align the size of the faculty with the expected future law school enrollment.”

The university attributes its numbers to broader issues facing law schools, including mounting student debt, the shifting job market for those with law degrees, increased competition among law schools for highly qualified applicants and declining bar passage rates. Valparaiso has 21 tenured law professors and six contract law professors, and an incoming fall law class of 133 students, the Post-Tribune reported. Previously incoming classes numbered about 150 or 160 students, according to the Post-Tribune. Buyouts will be finalized by the end of the month.

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U of Houston Releases Draft Campus Carry Policy

Concealed-handgun license holders may carry guns into classrooms and faculty and administrative offices at the University of Houston, according to a draft policy released Tuesday by an on-campus working group. The policy prohibits guns in most residence halls, sporting venues, disciplinary hearings, and health and mental health facilities. The University of Texas at Austin’s campus carry policy, released last month, also allows guns into classrooms, despite many faculty members’ concerns about in-class safety. Houston’s policy is striking, given that its Faculty Senate last month circulated recommendations about how to teach under campus carry that many said had serious implications for academic freedom and free speech. But the policy isn’t surprising, given that Texas’s new law allowing for concealed weapons in campus buildings is clear that guns can’t be banned outright from most areas.

The law takes effect this summer for public universities and next summer for public colleges. Private institutions may opt out of the law, and virtually all have. Students for Concealed Carry, a national advocacy group, said in a statement that it largely approved of Houston's draft policy but took issue with the establishment of exclusion zones in areas used for day cares and school activities, "including areas frequently used by minor children." The task force "seems to have operated under the assumption that licensed concealed carry cannot be allowed anywhere children are likely to be present," the group said. "This was clearly never the intent of the Texas Legislature, which saw fit to allow licensed concealed carry in movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, grocery stores, restaurants, all state museums, all public libraries and even the Texas Capitol."

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UC Davis Chancellor's Short Stint on DeVry's Board

Linda Katehi, chancellor of the University of California at Davis, resigned Monday from the corporate board of the DeVry Education Group, which operates DeVry University. The company just last week announced that she and Ann Weaver Hart, president of the University of Arizona, had joined the board.

Katehi made the decision to quit after facing sharp criticism from consumer groups and a powerful California lawmaker, The Sacramento Bee reported. Some of the pushback revolved around news last month that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is suing DeVry over allegations that the company made false claims about its job placement rates and its graduates' earnings. A spokesman for UC Davis said DeVry approached Katehi before the FTC lawsuit went public.

“I initially chose to accept the appointment because I believed I could contribute to improving the educational experiences of the students attending DeVry institutions, but in light of a variety of other issues that have come to the fore, I have determined that I am unable to serve,” Katehi said in her resignation letter, according to the Bee.

Ivy League Considers Banning Tackling During Practice

The eight head football coaches in the Ivy League voted last week to no longer allow tackling during regular season practices. The institutions' presidents and athletic directors still have to approve the change before it is formally adopted. Dartmouth College, a member of the league, already eliminated tackling during practices in 2010, and the following year the league reduced the number of full-contact practices that teams could hold.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association does not have rules on how many full-contact practices football teams may have, though its guidelines recommend allowing no more than two per week during the season and no more than four during the preseason.

According to a report released last year by the Institute of Medicine, most concussions in college sports occur during practice, not during games. The study examined the 262 concussions recorded by the NCAA's Injury Surveillance Program during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The researchers found that 57.6 percent of those concussions happened during practice.

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Study explores impact of social media, texting on email use

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Study shows certain types of emails often go unread by students -- but social media isn't the reason why.

Suit Charges U of Louisville President With Misconduct

A former compliance officer at the University of Louisville has filed a suit charging that he was forced out of his job for objecting to misconduct, which the suit alleges includes actions by President James Ramsey, The Courier-Journal reported. The suit charges that Ramsey made false statements to the public about when he knew about possible misconduct by senior administrators who have since resigned. Further, the suit charges that the former compliance officer was discouraged from doing his job and punished when he pursued certain issues. The university declined to comment.

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U of Texas announces new protocols for investigating campus sexual assault

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With new manual of protocols, University of Texas System instructs its police officers to base sexual assault investigations in neuroscience.

Middlebury College Bans Sale of Energy Drinks

Students looking for a quick energy boost at Middlebury College will soon have to either take the search off campus or stick to coffee. Starting this month, the college will stop selling energy drinks such as Red Bull and 5-Hour Energy at its campus stores and dining areas.

In an announcement last week, Dan Detora, Middlebury’s executive director of food service, warned students that energy drinks can be linked to “problematic behavior,” including “increased alcohol consumption, increased likelihood to drive while intoxicated, increased probability of use of other intoxicating substances and increased participation in high-risk sexual activity.” Students are still allowed to purchase the drinks elsewhere and bring them to campus.

While energy drinks are a popular choice for late-night study sessions, they’re also commonly consumed with alcohol, which can be a dangerous mix for young and inexperienced drinkers. A 2012 study found that college students who mixed energy drinks with alcohol were more likely to have unplanned or casual sex. Other research has found that the highly caffeinated beverages can raise blood pressure.

In November 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told makers of premixed alcoholic energy drinks that their beverages were a “public health concern” and that they could not stay on the market. The warning prompted companies to remove caffeine from the drinks, which were becoming increasingly popular with college students. Health researchers argued that the ban was not sufficient, as students could still mix energy drinks with other alcoholic beverages.

In 2011, the University of New Hampshire attempted to ban the sale of energy drinks on its campus but later walked back the decision out of respect for its “students’ ability to make informed choices about what they consume.”

Though some Middlebury students have complained about the change, the decision was made not by administrators but by the college’s Community Council, which is made up of faculty, staff and students. The idea for no longer selling the drinks was first presented to the council by a student. 

“Middlebury College respects the work its students, faculty and staff have done in researching the health effects of energy drinks and in making the recommendation that the college no longer sell such drinks in our campus retail outlets,” Bill Burger, a spokesman for the college, said. “We hope that this move will contribute to a healthier campus environment.”

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