UConn Reports Data Breach by Chinese Hackers

The University of Connecticut on Friday reported a "criminal cyberintrusion" of its engineering college, and that hackers from China appear responsible. The university said it did not have evidence of data removal. But the university said that it is adopting new security measures as well as informing individuals and sponsors of research that could have been accessed. After Pennsylvania State University reported similar attacks, apparently from China in the case of the university's engineering college, experts warned that other universities would likely see such hacking incidents.


Akron, Amid Cuts, Spent $950K on President's House

The University of Akron, receiving scrutiny for the layoffs of more than 200 people, spent $950,000 recently on renovations for the presidential home, Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. Critics don't contest that the house needed some repair work, but question some of the spending. For example, the project expanded the master bedroom and created a suite for the in-laws of President Scott Scarborough. The university notes that private donations paid for the project, but the university also assigned its own painters, carpenters and electricians to do hundreds of hours of work on the project.

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Kaplan, Lincoln Tech Settle with Mass. Attorney General

Kaplan Career Institute and Lincoln Technical Institute have settled with the Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey, to resolve allegations of inflating job placement numbers and employing unfair recruiting tactics, Healey's office said in a written statement. The settlement is part of Healey's broad pursuit of the for-profit industry. Kaplan agreed to pay about $1.4 million to resolve the suit. Lincoln paid about $1 million. Most of the money will go to help eligible former students who attended the two for-profit chains to pay down their debt.

In a written statement, Kaplan, Inc., said it "emphatically maintains that its actions were compliant and in the best interests of students, who were well-served by the institution." The settlement did not include a finding of wrongdoing, and Kaplan said it resolved the legal challenge "due to the high cost of protracted litigation."

White House Summit on Short-Term Training Programs

The White House is hosting a meeting today on the growing boot camp and coding academy space, which offers short-term training programs to students. Other alternative providers, such as online course platforms, also are on the agenda, said several invitees.

The meeting is expected to include a discussion of how these entities might partner with traditional colleges. The U.S. Department of Education is considering an experimental sites project to allow federal aid to flow to a limited group of boot camps and MOOC providers that partner with accredited colleges. The experiment would also include a new quality control process, perhaps managed by an existing or new accreditor.

Pairings between colleges and boot camps have already begun. For example, Galvanize, a technology-focused academy with six campuses, announced a partnership with the University of New Haven last October to offer an accredited master's degree in big data.

Coding academies and boot camps will graduate an estimated 16,000 students this year.

CSU San Marcos and Mt. San Jacinto College travel to team up on joint degree program

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Temecula didn't have a public university, so CSU San Marcos and Mt. San Jacinto College made the trip to create a joint degree track with some novel features.

New presidents or provosts: Aims Alberta Jacksonville Morrisville MSU-Billings Redlands Simpson West Indies Westminster Worthington-Scranton

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  • Benjamin Ola. Akande, professor of economics and dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University, in Missouri, has been chosen as president of Westminster College, also in Missouri.

Professor says her comments on social media have been unfairly characterized

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A professor is speaking out against a Fox News report about months-old tweets that she says prompted a flood of hate mail and unfairly characterized her positions.

Paper on Campus Sexual Assault Called Into Question

An influential and frequently cited study on the prevalence of repeat sexual assault offenders is riddled with inconsistencies and possible errors, a new analysis of the paper asserts. The study in question is David Lisak's 2002 paper “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists,” which argued that 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders. His work has been cited by Inside Higher Ed, by the White House, in the documentary The Hunting Ground and in Jon Krakauer's most recent book, Missoula.

Writing for Reason, a libertarian magazine, Linda LeFauve, associate vice president for planning and institutional research at Davidson College, stated the paper is based on four other studies that were possibly conducted by Lisak's doctoral students in the 1990s. The studies were not entirely focused on campus sexual assault, and were based on surveys that mostly asked questions about child abuse. In an interview with Reason, Lisak was unable to identify the lead investigators of the studies.

LeFauve also criticized the paper for making claims about campus sexual assault when the studies referenced in the paper do not specify whether the assaults happened on campus or if the respondents or victims were actually students. The surveys were handed out to random men on a commuter campus. Lisak, according to LeFauve, told her he had subsequently interviewed those respondents. “When I asked how he was able to speak with men participating in an anonymous survey for research he was not conducting,” LeFauve wrote, “he ended the phone call.”

Lisak did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

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Wheaton Drops Student Health Care Over Contraception Rule

More than 700 students at Wheaton College of Illinois will need to find a new health care plan on Friday, as the college will cease providing health care to students to avoid complying with a federal requirement that employers include emergency contraceptives in its coverage.

The Obama administration two years ago set a compromise on the health care law. Under that plan, religious colleges and other religious institutions need not pay for contraception, but insurance companies that cover their employees are required to provide the coverage, and the institution must fill out a form to be given an exemption. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not require Wheaton to fill out such a form. But Wheaton continued to argue that the mandate violated the college's religious beliefs as its plan, no matter how indirectly, would still be allowing the use of contraception.

"The college’s concern is with its own actions in facilitating the provision of morally objectionable products on its own plans, and with its right to constitutionally protected religious liberty," Paul Chelsen, vice president for student development at Wheaton, said in a statement.

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Protest of ITT Included Just One Former Student

Higher Ed, Not Debt is a nonprofit advocacy group with a focus on for-profit colleges. It joined with the Service Employees International Union and Student Debt Action to organize a Monday protest outside the annual shareholder meeting of ITT Educational Services Inc., which owns ITT Tech, an embattled for-profit chain that is facing federal fraud charges and various other state and federal lawsuits.

Inside Higher Ed reported on the demonstration in Arlington, Va., which featured about 20 protesters. A news release Higher Ed, Not Debt distributed before the event said “former educators and ITT students” would attend. At the demonstration, an official with the group told a reporter that multiple students who had attended ITT were there.

However, only one former ITT student attended, the group later disclosed. The former student, Anthony Byrd, said he attended an ITT campus for about six weeks. Inside Higher Ed was not able to confirm those details, as Byrd refused to grant a waiver from federal student privacy rules that would have allowed ITT to release details about his time at the school.

Higher Ed, Not Debt is organized by unions and progressive groups, including the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Center for American Progress confirmed that only one former ITT student attended the event.

“Anthony Byrd was the only former ITT Tech student who was able to attend the demonstration yesterday,” the spokesman said in an email. “Many of [the] demonstrators were advocates from groups like Higher Ed, Not Debt and the SEIU, which advocate for students who were wronged by for-profit institutions like ITT Tech.”

The spokesman said many ITT Tech students are financially stressed and unable to make the trip for the protest. But he said 1,500 former students of the for-profit chain have signed a petition asking for a refund.

On Monday ITT said the protest's organizers were not providing accurate information to students or shareholders about ITT's successes.

“Organizations with ideological biases are tainted by ulterior motives, and they frequently recruit people to stage protests,” said Nicole Elam, an ITT spokeswoman, in an emailed statement. “We are helping students build better lives, secure employment and earn higher salaries. The targeted recruitment of former students as ‘spokespeople’ by these organizations also provides us no option to counter claims that may be false, without a student providing a signed release of their records.”


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