Legislators and others are criticizing a draft policy under consideration by the University of Virginia's Board of Visitors that suggests that they should not publicly criticize decisions made by the board, The Washington Post reported. The draft distinguishes between debate before and after a decision is made. “After robust discussion of an issue, we strive to reach a consensus on the merits,” the draft says. “Visitors shall publicly support, or at the very least not openly oppose, the board’s action as a strong, visible consensus facilitates successful execution of policy and strategy.” Critics say that the policy is anti-democratic and anti-dissent. Others are criticizing the $200,000 paid to a consultant to help develop the policy. The board has been reviewing how it can function better in light of a governance crisis two years ago when board members attempted to oust the university president.
The Massachusetts inspector general on Thursday released a report on spending by Evan Dobelle when he was president at Westfield State University. He was forced out of office in November amid reports of excessive spending, which he said was related to his efforts to raise money. But the new report questions those claims, The Republican reported. For example, in 2010, he spent 17 days at the Bohemian Grove camp (an all-male social club in California), claiming the time there as a fund-raising trip. But auditors could find no evidence that he met with any potential donors. During his six-year presidency, Dobelle spent six months in San Francisco, the report found, and much of that time overlapped with Bohemian Grove activities. The report also notes that Dobelle brought family and friends on a 2013 trip to Cuba with the university's baseball team. Since travel to Cuba is highly regulated by U.S. authorities and the trip was limited to those there in an official capacity, the report said, Dobelle told family members and friends to say that they were adjunct faculty members or assistant coaches. Dobelle and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
Parviz Ansari, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Rowan University, in New Jersey, has been named provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Shirley V. Hoogstra, vice president for student life at Calvin College, was on Wednesday named as the new president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, whose members come from a number of denominations. Hoogstra worked as a lawyer before joining Calvin. She takes over at a challenging time for the organization. The last permanent president, Edward O. Blews Jr., was fired in October, after nine months on the job. In February he sued the organization. All CCCU institutions have statements of faith, but those statements vary, and a number of CCCU institutions are having internal debates or are facing external scrutiny abut their policies on issues related to sexuality, the teaching of evolution and other subjects.
A former member of Ohio State’s marching band has written an open letter to the university’s president protesting the firing of band director Jonathan Waters amid findings of widespread hazing in the band, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Alexandra Clark, the band alumna, says she embraced the sexual nickname older bandmates assigned her. That nickname – “Joobs” – didn’t bother her when she was in the band. But the university, she contends, has made it into something shameful.
When Ohio State fired Waters last week, the university made public a report chronicling acts of hazing and sexual harassment that occurred in the band. One objectionable practice, the university found, was the assignment of denigrating nicknames to new members. The report listed nicknames such as “Jizzy” and “Twinkle Dick.”
Discussion of Band Hazing
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One nickname received a note of explanation. Next to “Jewoobs,” the report added: “given to a Jewish student with large breasts.”
“I’m the “Jewoobs” that the entire Internet seems to be talking about,” Clark wrote, in what may be a slight overstatement. The former band member, who was in the band until 2011, said the institution "turned a lighthearted joke and rookie name given to me by my row mates with my full consent into something shameful.”
“What is truly shocking about [the university’s report] is not the list of antics by a group of hormone filled college students, but the complete lack of respect for the privacy and dignity of the band members,” Clark wrote. “Included in the list of “offensive” rookie nicknames are things like Donk, Tulsa, Tiggles, and Jewoobs. Ohio State clearly had no interest in learning anything about these strong, intelligent women and instead decided that their delicate feminine sensibilities needed to be defended by adding their names to a list of things they feel the Buckeye community should feel disgusted and ashamed about.”
She said her best friends still call her “Joobs.”
Clark is not the only former band member to protest Waters’s firing. An alumni-driven petition demanding that Ohio State reinstate Waters has garnered more than 7,000 signatures. And an online fund raising money for Waters and his family “to use in the way they deem neccesary” [sic] has attracted almost $13,000 in donations in four days.
A group of about 15 marching band alumni, mostly women, marched across Ohio State’s campus Monday to demand Waters’ reinstatement, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Waters’ supporters say the university didn’t give him enough time to change the marching band’s culture.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Tuesday evening named Admiral William H. McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, as the sole finalist to become chancellor of the system. A Navy SEAL and an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral McRaven is best known as the official who designed and oversaw the operation that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa is leaving the system to return to academic medicine. Cigarroa was among the shrinking number of higher education system heads in Texas who had academic careers prior to their system positions. The UT system has seen considerable conflict in recent months between regents close to Governor Rick Perry and Bill Powers, the president of UT Austin.
McRaven's appointment won quick approval from the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, a group that has backed Powers and been harshly critical of some recent moves by some regents. "We applaud the selection of Admiral William McRaven as the next chancellor of the UT System, and commend the Board of Regents on their diligent search. McRaven is a proven leader with a strong backbone and the courage of his convictions who will stand up for what is right and in the best interests of the people of Texas. His inspirational 2014 UT Austin commencement speech gave insight into the type of leader he will be – one who respects diverse viewpoints, values collaboration and has unmatched tenacity."
New data from the Delta Cost Project, for the American Institutes of Research, show how much the states withdrew support from public higher education during the decade that ended in 2011. But the end of that period, students were paying half of more of the average full instructional costs of attending public-four-year institutions, an 18 to 22 percentage point increase over the course of a decade. Those increases offset or partially offset declines in state support. Institutional subsidies (state or local appropriations or other revenues) reached a low for the decade, averaging $6,000 to $7,000 per student at public four-year institutions.