Fraternity Faces Arrests and Suspension at U of Alabama

The arrests of five University of Alabama students on hazing charges late Wednesday was quickly followed by the university's announcement that the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity had been suspended, The Tuscaloosa News reported. Neither the news release from the university announcing the suspension nor the police offered any details on the hazing charges. But the university statement included this comment from Dean Hebson, the dean of students: “The University of Alabama will not tolerate hazing and takes allegations and incidents of hazing very seriously. Students who are the victims of, or who become aware of, hazing incidents are strongly encouraged to bring these incidents to our attention.”

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Appeals court ruling on O'Bannon case a mixed bag for NCAA, athletes

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A federal appeals court backs ruling that NCAA violates antitrust laws with limits on athlete compensation, but rejects allowing athletes to receive up to $5,000 a year in pay.

U of Chicago Gets $100 Million to Study Global Conflicts

The University of Chicago announced Wednesday that it would receive $100 million to create a research institute to study global conflicts. The gift from the Thomas L. Pearson and the Pearson Family Members Foundation is the second largest in the university's history.

The donation is "transformative," said Robert Zimmer, the university's president. "Importantly, the study of global conflicts is a field ripe for groundbreaking research approaches, and the Pearson Institute will seek to inform more effective policy solutions for resolving violent conflicts to make a lasting impact around the world," he said in a written statement.

Senate Proposal for Alternative Accreditation Path

Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, this week introduced a bill that would create a new "outcomes-based" accreditation system. The proposed legislation, which builds on previous ideas from the two senators, would allow alternative education providers -- as well as traditional colleges and universities -- to access federal financial aid programs if they can meet a bar for high student outcomes. Those measures would include student learning, completion and return on investment.

"We need a new system that encourages, rather than hinders, innovation, promotes higher quality and shifts the focus to student success," Bennet said in a written statement. "The alternative outcomes-based process in this bill will help colleges, new models like competency-based education and innovative providers, and is an important step in shifting the current incentives and creating the 21st-century system of higher education we need."

Rubio, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has hammered on the current higher education accreditation system while speaking on the campaign trail, calling it a "cartel." The alternative system he and Bennet proposed, Rubio said, would be based on higher quality standards.

The bill would allow colleges and providers to bypass a wait to receive federal-aid eligibility while they seek accreditation, instead enabling them to enter into contracts with the U.S. Department of Education, but only if the institutions "are generating positive student outcomes."

Colleges consider revoking Cosby's honorary degrees

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After three universities rescind honorary degrees they awarded to Bill Cosby, 23 other institutions mull whether to follow suit.

U.S. Appeals Court: NCAA Violated Antitrust Law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Wednesday upheld a lower court's decision that National Collegiate Athletic Association rules that limit what college athletes can be paid violate antitrust laws. But the appeals court tossed out the original judge's recommendation that athletes receive deferred compensation of up to $5,000 per year.

“The NCAA is not above the antitrust laws, and courts cannot and must not shy away from requiring the NCAA to play by the Sherman [Antitrust] Act's rules,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. “In this case, the NCAA's rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the NCAA permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student athletes. It does not require more.”

In January, using a new governance structure that granted them greater autonomy to create their own rules, the five wealthiest athletic conferences passed a measure allowing -- but not requiring -- colleges to offer scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance.

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Calvin Makes Cuts to Humanities Programs

Calvin College, which has been fighting to stabilize its budget, is cutting a number of humanities programs, saying that they are not attracting enough students, MLive reported. Among the programs being ended: theater, art history and the languages of German, Greek and Latin.

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AAU Taps Mary Sue Coleman as Next President

One of higher education’s most influential organizations has tapped veteran public university president Mary Sue Coleman as its next leader.

Coleman will begin leading the Association of American Universities -- a group of 60 U.S. and two Canadian selective public and private research universities -- in June. She was previously president of the University of Michigan for 12 years, retiring in 2014, and president of the University of Iowa.

Coleman will replace Hunter R. Rawlings III, who has led the AAU since 2011. While president at Michigan, Coleman served as chair of the AAU for the 2011 academic year.

She co-chairs the Lincoln Project, an initiative of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences to support public research universities, and serves on the board of trustees of the Society for Science & the Public. She’s also a member of the Johnson & Johnson Board of Directors.

“Hunter Rawlings has done an exceptional job as AAU president in advancing our collective impact as research institutions,” Coleman said in a written statement. “I am eager to continue the work of elevating the American research university as essential to our nation’s prosperity, security and well-being.”

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Clearinghouse finds number of first-time college graduates declining

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Number of undergraduates earning a first college credential falls as economy rebounds, according to new National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report.

3 Former Coaches Sue U of Minnesota at Duluth

Three former University of Minnesota at Duluth coaches are suing the Minnesota Board of Regents alleging gender, sexual orientation, national origin and age discrimination by university administrators. All three women are openly gay, including Shannon Miller, the successful women's hockey coach whose contract was not renewed last year amid much controversy after university officials said they could no longer afford to pay her salary. The other two coaches -- Jen Banford and Annette Wiles -- coached softball and women's basketball. Banford's contract was also not renewed, and Wiles said she was "forced to resign" due to a "hostile and discriminatory environment."

At a news conference on Monday, Miller said "sexism and homophobia are alive and well" at the university. In a statement, the university said that it "continues to refute the allegations and claims of discrimination and will aggressively defend ourselves in the lawsuit."

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