The University of Florida and Emory University are investigating claims that members from their Zeta Beta Tau fraternity chapters insulted and spat on disabled veterans and ripped American flags off their cars during a spring formal last week. The veterans were at the same resort in Panama City Beach for an event called the Warrior Beach Retreat, The Gainesville Sun reported, when the fraternity members allegedly began accosting them.
“The incidents and behavior you and others have described [in letters and phone calls] and the offense to the wounded warriors and other guests are unacceptable,” Kent Fuchs, Florida's president, wrote in an email to the founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat. “We are pursuing an investigation of the matter to learn more about the involvement of University of Florida students and whether disciplinary action will be needed.”
Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Thursday, providing an update on the White House's It's On Us sexual assault awareness campaign and urging college students -- especially young men -- to intervene when they witness gender and dating violence. More than 300 campuses have participated in the It's On Us initiative, the White House announced ahead of Biden's visit, and 75 nonprofit groups, entertainment companies and Greek letter organizations have now committed to supporting the campaign in some fashion. "No means no, and no exceptions," Biden said. "It's not only grounds for discipline and expulsion. You should go to jail if you engage in that activity."
Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, announced this week that she will step down next June. The association, which includes 1,300 member institutions across a broad range of higher education, is the primary group with a focus on liberal education. Geary Schneider has led the association since 1998. Among other projects, she shepherded the creation of the Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) Challenge, an advocacy and research campaign. In a written statement to announce her departure, Geary Schneider said LEAP "represents our shared view of the best way to make liberal education both empowering for every student and renewing for our society at large."
A new study says that the University of Alabama at Birmingham's decision to cut its football program for financial reasons was "ill-advised," as the program was actually making money for the university, and that surpluses are expected to increase over the next few years. The study also criticized the university's elimination of the rifle and bowling teams, saying that the sports at least broke even.
"We find that the three sports in question did not cost the university anywhere near the $3.75 million indicated on UAB's accounting statements," wrote Dan Rascher and Andy Schwarz, authors of the study and partners at OSKR, an economic analysis firm. "Instead, after making the sort of adjustments suggested by the economics literature, we conclude that the three sports were effectively break-even to slightly positive. Football and bowling showed a modest positive return for 2013-14, the last year for which complete data was available. Rifle showed a deficit, but the three-sport balance was positive to the tune of $75,000."
OSKR was originally hired by the university to conduct the study, but their work was canceled over conflict of interest concerns. Rascher and Schwarz were consultants for the plaintiffs in Ed O'Bannon's lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which paved the way for colleges to offer full cost-of-attendance scholarships. The university had cited the expense of providing full cost of attendance as one of the reasons to shutter the program. The firm's study was completed through funds provided by boosters, CBS News reported. The university has since hired another firm to conduct a separate study of the decision.
Tufts University students on Wednesday took over the office of President Anthony Monaco and said that they would stay until the university sells its holdings in fossil fuel companies, The Boston Globe reported. While the university has said it will talk with the students, it has not moved toward divestment. The university noted that it has taken a number of steps to make Tufts more environmentally sustainable. Students are posting photographs of themselves in the president's office.
The Louisiana State University System is drafting a plan to declare financial exigency, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, has proposed massive cuts for higher education and the Legislature's various versions of his budget have added to the cuts, which now appear to total more than 80 percent of state funds for LSU. While various plans have circulated to restore some of the money, those plans haven't advanced, which has prompted the financial exigency plan. Under financial exigency, it is generally easier for a university to make deep cuts. And because such statements mean that the survival of an institution is in danger, the American Association of University Professors permits layoffs to include tenured professors.
F. King Alexander, president and chancellor of LSU, said that declaring financial exigency would send a terrible message about the state of the institution. “You'll never get any more faculty,” he said.
Since 2012, community colleges in Texas have experimented with an alternative approach to remedial math that the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin has developed. Rather than focusing on algebra, the New Mathways Project emphasizes practical math skills and basic quantitative literacy and statistics.
The program is showing promising returns, according to a new study from MDRC, a nonprofit education research group. As of last fall, 20 community colleges in the state offer at least one of the alternative courses. And 30 percent of students in the program completed both their remedial and college-level math courses in the first year, according to the study.