U.S. Will Release Remaining Colleges Under Scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Education plans to release on Friday the names of the nearly two dozen colleges it had redacted from the list of colleges it is watching more closely.

The department earlier this week released a list of 556 colleges and universities that were subject to restrictions on their student aid and extra scrutiny known as heightened cash monitoring. But officials declined to identify 23 of those institutions, 21 of which had been placed on the more stringent level of monitoring. Most of them were singled out for scrutiny after federal audits of their financial aid programs resulted in “severe findings.”

Because the department has ongoing investigations at those institutions, Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell said Monday, “releasing those names would impede the progress of our investigation.”

Denise Horn, a department spokeswoman, said Thursday that the decision to now release all of the names came after “further legal review and in response to follow-up inquiries.” It also comes after The New York Times editorial board on Thursday criticized the department for withholding the information, calling it a "disservice to students."

The department also plans to release Friday an updated cash-monitoring list that is current through this week. The list released earlier this week was from March 1.

Parents of Fraternity Pledge Who Died Sue Clemson U.

The parents of Tucker Hipps, a Clemson University student who fell from a bridge to his death during a run with his fraternity, are suing the university, Sigma Phi Epsilon and three members of the local chapter. The lawsuit alleges that the run was part of a hazing ritual and that Hipps, who was pledging with the fraternity at the time, fell to his death following an argument after he failed to bring McDonald's biscuits on the run, as demanded earlier by older members of the fraternity.

"[A fraternity member] and Tucker had a confrontation over the pledges' failure to bring the requested McDonald's breakfast," the lawsuit reads. "Subsequently, Tucker went over the railing of the bridge into the shallow waters of Lake Hartwell headfirst. Upon information and belief, a long tradition existed among the members of the local chapter requiring, pressuring, encouraging and forcing pledges to jump off of one or more bridges over Lake Hartwell and swim to shore." The lawsuit also alleges that the fraternity members did not report Hipps missing until seven hours after he fell from the bridge. The lawsuit claims the university was aware of the run, and is seeking in excess of $25 million in damages.

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Video Leads to Suspension of 2 El Centro Police Officers

Two police officers at El Centro College, part of the Dallas County Community College District, have been suspended amid an investigation of a video that appears to show them mistreating four black teenagers, The Dallas Morning News reported. The video shows the police officers, without visible provocation, lining up the teens against the wall, taunting them, grabbing them and arresting them. The teens say that they were simply waiting for a bus.



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U. of Oklahoma Hires Chief Diversity Officer

The University of Oklahoma announced Tuesday that it has hired Jabar Shumate  as its new vice president overseeing diversity and inclusion initiatives. Shumate is a former Oklahoma state senator and a former press secretary for David Boren, the University of Oklahoma's president. "I knew that this person had to be someone in whom I had complete trust," Boren said during a news conference Tuesday. "Complete trust in their actions, complete trust in their motives, complete trust in their good judgment."

The hire came weeks after a video surfaced showing members of Oklahoma's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter singing a racist song, prompting the university to sever ties with the fraternity and engage in an ongoing conversation about diversity on campus.

Syracuse U. Will Not Invest in Fossil Fuels

Syracuse University announced Tuesday that it will decrease its financial stake in fossil fuels while looking for additional investments for its endowment in renewable energy companies.

The announcement follows a February meeting between administrators and members of the student group Divest S.U., which has staged rallies to encourage the university to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies. Divestment also was one of the demands made by a group of students who staged an 18-day sit-in last semester. 

The university did not respond to an inquiry about how much of its endowment would be affected by the decision to divest. In the announcement, Syracuse said it won’t “directly invest in publicly traded companies whose primary business is extraction of fossil fuels.” The university also will direct its external investment managers to try to prohibit investing in fossil fuels as well, according to the announcement.

Despite ongoing campaigns from students, most colleges have refused requests to divest from fossil fuels.

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County attorney sues to block closure of Sweet Briar

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County attorney seeks injunction to block closure and to replace president and board, charging that they have violated several laws.

A university and a governor bar use of funds to travel to Indiana

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San Francisco State bars use of university funds to travel to Indiana. Connecticut governor bars all public colleges (and other state agencies) from using state funds to do so. Do these moves raise academic freedom issues?

Connecticut College Calls Off Classes to Discuss Incidents

Connecticut College called off classes Monday to discuss the campus climate in the wake of recent incidents. The schedule for the day included both unstructured time and periods for students to gather to talk in groups large and small with themselves, faculty members and senior administrators. The campus has for a month been debating a Facebook post by a professor that has been criticized as hate speech against Palestinians by some and defended as a political critique of Hamas by others. Then racist graffiti appeared on campus, setting the stage for Monday's programs.


Are Bats in the President's House a $1.2M Problem?

Roderick McDavis, president of Ohio University, and his wife, Deborah, have moved out of the presidential home after she fell and broke a foot while dodging a bat. While removal of bats from the home is not controversial, many students and faculty members are angry that the university's foundation is now talking about spending $1.2 million to buy a new home for the president, rather than simply getting the bats removed from the current home, The Athens News reported. Foundation officials said that purchasing a new home would help not only the current president, but future presidents. But critics say that there are so many unmet needs on campus that affect students and professors that spending $1.2 million in this way is inappropriate. A "bat rally" is planned for tomorrow, and is being promoted on Facebook with the image at right.


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Northeastern U. unveils Silicon Valley branch campus

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Northeastern U. unveils it latest branch campus -- a network of hubs hosted by companies in Silicon Valley. Future expansions may see the university going abroad.


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