University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart has opted not to pursue an extension of her current contract, a decision coming months after she drew flak for deciding to join the board of for-profit college company DeVry Education Group.
Hart, who took over as Arizona’s president in July 2012, still has two years left on her contract. She’s slated to step down from the presidency on June 30, 2018. Her decision came after she realized she’s been a university president for 14 years, she said in a statement. Hart was previously president at Temple University and the University of New Hampshire.
“I look forward to returning to full-time faculty work as a teacher, scholar and citizen of the university,” she said.
Hart’s decision, announced Friday, comes after she was sharply criticized in March for joining the Board of Directors for Illinois-based DeVry Education Group, which operates DeVry University. The criticism followed the Federal Trade Commission filing a lawsuit against DeVry, alleging it made deceptive claims about job placement rates and graduate wages.
Arizona alumni, employees and students’ parents complained about Hart joining DeVry, and she was questioned by Arizona’s Faculty Senate. But she defended her role, saying she would advocate for quality at DeVry and try to make education available to students who cannot attend Arizona.
The Arizona Board of Regents plans to start a national search for Hart’s replacement this fall. The board came out in support of her decision not to seek a new contract, with Chairman Jay Heiler releasing a statement.
“President Hart has conferred with me and others throughout the spring regarding her plans and her contract,” it said. “The decision not to seek an extension is hers, and true to her character she has made it in full consideration of both her personal aspirations and her institutional commitments.”
Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees decided Friday to take no action on President Elmira Mangum’s future, choosing not to renew her contract as she enters the final academic year of a three-year deal following a recent history marked by contention and criticism -- even as some students and alumni praise her for making long-overdue changes.
Trustees indicated they would take up Mangum’s contract at their next meeting, currently scheduled for September. That means they’ll revisit the issue after the passing of a deadline written into Mangum’s contract calling for her and trustees to confer on a renewal or extension by June 30. If no deal is reached, the contract calls for Mangum to complete her term in April 2017.
But board Chairman Kelvin Lawson said he wanted more data on Mangum’s performance before the board acts. He had asked Mangum for a 45-day contract deadline extension, allowing board members to evaluate her performance and review a self-evaluation she submitted Thursday. The two sides did not agree on a timeline extension, prompting the board to delay action after virtually no public discussion.
Eight of FAMU’s 13 trustees are new in the last six months. Lawson and Mangum have been on opposite sides of the table in the past, with Lawson moving to fire her in October.
While trustees shared few public comments on the contract during their meeting, FAMU faculty members, students and alumni addressed the issue during an extended public comment session. Some urged the board to keep Mangum, saying she was dealing with issues that would be difficult for any administrator to manage. Others urged them to replace her, arguing the university is not in a better place after two years of her management.
Mangum herself appeared to allude to the issue during a report to the board that came before trustees voted on her contract. She is focused on putting money into classrooms and students, and FAMU has improved its performance under Florida’s performance funding model, she said. But she argued that the institution has to adapt to keep up with societal changes.
“We will continue to make the tough decisions,” she said. “Because that’s the only way we are going to get a different outcome.”
The decision not to act on the contract came a day after a high-profile 11-member group addressed a harshly worded open letter to the Board of Trustees, urging against the renewal of Mangum’s contract. The Reverend R. B. Holmes, a former FAMU trustee and president of the Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network, was the lead signee of the letter. Other signees included former FAMU presidents and former interim presidents.
The letter alleged improprieties, mismanagement and inconsistencies during Mangum’s tenure. It cited disenfranchisement of students, faculty, alumni and staff while also arguing that controversy and division swirled around Mangum’s administration. It also pointed to tension between administration and faculty, disharmony within the administration’s leadership team and staff, and a purported lack of vision, goals and objectives. In addition, the letter brought up a charge that has repeatedly been levied at Mangum: poor communication with trustees.
“Our future has fallen victim to a recalcitrant administration engaged in a campaign to sustain an individual, not FAMU,” the letter read. “The embarrassing improprieties, mismanagement and inconsistencies are constant.”
Mangum replied to the letter Thursday, saying she did not understand Holmes’s motivation.
Occidental College has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to resolve an ongoing sexual violence and sexual harassment complaint investigation, the department announced Thursday.
Prior to the end of the investigation, the college agreed to develop mandatory training for staff and faculty and to review three years of case files to ensure that the college is “providing a prompt and equitable process.” The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights found “insufficient evidence that the college violated Title IX’s requirement to provide an equitable grievance process over the four-year period (2010-2014) OCR examined,” but OCR did find that some sexual assault complaints were resolved in an untimely fashion.
“OCR’s investigation found a campus actively engaged in important work to satisfy Title IX responsibilities for all students,” Catherine Lhamon, the department's assistant secretary for civil rights, said. “Where we had concerns, Occidental leaders committed to taking appropriate steps to ensure student safety. I am grateful for Occidental’s responsiveness during the course of the investigation, as well as its commitment to its students.”
Craig Barton, professor of architecture and urban design and director of the Design School at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, has been chosen to be provost and senior vice president of academic affairs the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in Illinois.
A new web tool will provide information about the expected return on investment for degrees and certificates earned at public institutions in Colorado. The Colorado version of the site, dubbed Launch My Career, went live on Thursday. It's a project led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, College Measures, Gallup Inc. and USA Funds. More state-specific tools are on the way, the groups said, including planned versions for Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas. USA Funds is spending $3.5 million on the project and related work.
The site is designed to help students find and compare colleges at the academic program level. It includes expected earnings, comparisons of those earnings with the investment required to earn a credential, demand for jobs in a field of study -- both statewide and in select metropolitan areas -- and whether others who have pursued the same college program are happy with their jobs, based on data from Gallup. The tool also features a lifestyle goal calculator, which shows the number of years it will take for a salary in a particular occupation to meet the user's lifestyle goals.
“Launch My Career is the only tool that provides information on the ROI of public postsecondary education,” Mark Schneider, president of College Measures and a vice president at the American Institutes for Research, said in a written statement. “The tool is a game changer for students, allowing them to select the right degree program or institution based on their interests or preferred jobs and then compare their selection across multiple institutions.”
Yesterday I took my 17-year-old daughter out for dinner, and our conversation led to the young white man who attended Stanford University and who raped a woman in January 2015. His name is Brock Turner. As I will send my daughter off to college soon, I asked her how she felt about the fact that the judge sentenced this man, found guilty of sexual assault, to only six months of jail time. Her response: “Terrified.” How did I feel about her response? Terrified. Terrified that my daughter lives in fear of both her body being violated and of the legal system not valuing her life and pain.
Our dinner conversation focused on gender, class and race -- because, while perhaps not apparent to most white people, this case is also about race. I am proud to have a daughter with the ability to tease out all of these issues, mainly due to her public school experience in the city of Philadelphia.
First, my daughter and I talked about how women are not respected across the world and here in the United States. Women’s bodies are not considered their own, and women -- especially those of color -- are often under attack. Why do men feel that they can take from, use and abuse our bodies? Why did Brock Turner’s father, Dan Turner, refer to the crime perpetuated by his son as “20 minutes of action”? How is it that a man who rapes an unconscious woman only receives six months of jail time and three years of probation?
Unfortunately, my daughter knows the answers to these questions already: women are not valued. It’s clear to us that the judge in this case, Aaron Persky, valued the bodies and livelihoods of men over women, because he was more concerned with the “severe impact” of jail time on Turner’s life than he was about the lifelong damage the assault has done to the victim. All one needs to do is read the victim’s statement to the court and it is apparent that his violation of her body will have a lasting and life-altering impact.
Second, we talked about the class issues involved in this case. Brock Turner had the means to hire a high-powered attorney to represent him. Of course, he has this right. We wondered, however, what would have happened to him if he had not had the resources to represent himself in this way. What happens to those who must rely on legal aid, whether guilty or not? We were certain that he would have been given the full sentence, as any rapist should.
Third, we discussed the racial issues in the case. Given the racism permeating our country as well as college campuses right now (nothing new, just more vile), my daughter is astute enough to realize that it wasn’t only Turner’s gender and class that helped him to escape the jail time he deserved. It was his race -- his whiteness. If he had been an African-American or Latino man, given the entrenched racism in our criminal justice system, he would be in jail for at least a decade and, most likely, would have been presumed guilty long before the jury’s verdict. My daughter understands that the very same people who are hailing Turner as innocent, framed and too young to suffer through jail time would be calling him an “animal” and a “thug” and demanding justice for the victim had Turner been a man of color -- regardless of the jury’s decision.
But Turner is an upper-middle-class white man, and he is benefiting from all that middle-class and affluent white men benefit from on a daily basis. His father has apparently received the same advantages, as evidenced by his firm dismissal of his son’s sexual assault of a woman and reference to it as “20 minutes of action” in his letter to Judge Persky. Rather than acknowledge that his son is a rapist and needs rehabilitation, he puts the blame squarely on the drinking culture at colleges and universities. Instead of encouraging his son to speak out about the wrongs of raping a woman, he is urging Brock to talk to young people about alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity on college campuses. But sexually assaulting a woman is not sexual promiscuity; it is sexual assault.
The best way for men to understand that women have value, and that men do not have a right to women’s bodies, is for other men to stand up, speak out and take the lead in educating young men. Only then will we begin to create an atmosphere where young women like my daughter will not be terrified to go to college. We also need men, especially white men, to take a good long look at the systems that privilege them and oppress women -- whether higher education, the legal system, the news media, fraternal organizations or the family -- and work to change these systems.
Until men are willing to take on these systems that oppress women and to confront people in their lives who violate women, women will not be valued. So I ask the men who are reading this essay, are you ready to tell your own daughters that you don’t value them?
Marybeth Gasman is professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.