In order to make good on an earlier pledge to freeze tuition for at least two years, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, formerly Indiana's Republican governor, announced in a letter Monday that the university would be looking for at least $40 million in savings over the biennium. "It has been too easy in higher education for institutions to decide first what they would like to spend, and then raise student bills to produce the desired funds," Daniels wrote. "That approach has run its course. At Purdue, we will make our first goal affordability, accommodating our spending to students’ budgets and not the other way around."
As a first step toward accomplishing those savings, Daniels announced that he would eliminate merit pay raises for all senior administrators, deans and administrative and professional staff with salaries of more than $50,000 for the next two years, a move projected to save $5 million. The freeze would not apply to faculty members. He also said in a Faculty Senate meeting Monday to expect additional announcements later this month.
Florida A&M University, still trying to recover from a deadly hazing scandal and much criticism of its finances, on Friday suspended a search for a new president, The Orlando Sentinelreported. The move came five days before the board was planning to start interviewing candidates. Solomon L. Badger III, chair of the board, said that the decision had nothing to do with the quality of the candidates. Rather, he said it was more important that he and Interim President Larry Robinson work on steps that would lead to the removal of Florida A&M's probationary accreditation status.
Union County College is suing its former president, Thomas Brown, for $409,000 that he received during the course of nearly two decades at the college, The Star-Ledgerreported. The dispute concerns funds used for Brown's retirement accounts. The college contends that contributions of $23,000 a year for his retirement funds were supposed to come out of his salary, but instead came as extra payments. Brown denies the charges.
Professors who study fracking have been at the center of much public debate over the controversial method of obtaining natural gas. On Friday, the University of Tennessee won preliminary state approval to authorize fracking on its land,The New York Times reported. The university says that the plan will generate revenue and also create an opportunity to study the impact of fracking. Many environmental groups say that, based on what is known about fracking, the university should not be using its land in this way.
Officials in New York State have drafted plans to spin off the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering from the State University of New York at Albany, The Albany Times Union reported. The plan would make the nanoscale college its own specialized college, much like SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The nanoscale college has been a major research success for SUNY, attracting considerable industry support. State and SUNY officials declined to comment on the plan, which would require several levels of approval.
Faculty members, students and parents are criticizing Arcadia University's board for firing President Carl Oxholm III on Friday, and providing no explanation for the decision, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Oxholm had been in office for less than two years, but was getting good reviews on the campus. A university statement issued Tuesday afternoon -- after word of the firing leaked, gave no indication of the reason for the change. Oxholm issued a statement in which he said he was "surprised and disappointed," and that he was sad he had been unable to say farewell to students. Of his dismissal, he said: "It was without cause, and those who conveyed the decision to me declined to give me any reason or explanation for the decision or the speed of its implementation."
A Mississippi man has been charged with two counts of felony cyberstalking over threats posted on Facebook against Carolyn Meyers, the president of Jackson State University, The Clarion Ledger reported. The man, currently held in jail, is not a student at the university.