administrators

Why Grinnell Requested an OCR Investigation of Itself

Grinnell College's decision to ask the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to review how it handles cases of campus sexual assault was, in part, a reaction to what the college says is inaccurate media coverage stemming from federal privacy laws that prevent institutions from sharing its side of the story. "This dilemma has fueled a national problem,” Raynard Kington, the college's president, said in a campuswide letter sent this week. “Without access to protected records, recent media coverage of campus sexual assaults has often been one-sided or incomplete. Nationally, we are seeing the impact of reporters’ efforts to build a narrative without access to the full facts."

The college made the request in anticipation of a Huffington Post article about three sexual assault cases the college investigated in 2012. An announcement of the request sent to reporters earlier this week did not mention the article.

"The privacy restrictions, while consistent with our institutional values and the integrity of our processes, place the college in an untenable position, because we cannot provide open and transparent information about the cases," Kington said in the campuswide letter. "In some instances, the protected education records confirm or refute [the Huffington Post's] claims. In others, the criticisms [it] reports on are subjective and cannot be fairly addressed without a full contextual understanding. In order to overcome this dilemma, on Monday, March 2, the college contacted the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to request technical assistance. We have specifically invited OCR to review the cases [The Huffington Post] has highlighted to us."

Dissenting Voices, a group of Grinnell students and faculty who are unhappy with the college's sexual assault policies, called the request an "unprecedented attempt to preemptively control the framing of this issue." Six students have recently filed complaints with the Office for Civil Rights, the group said, "so the administration’s request is redundant."

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Unnamed Adjunct Behind National Walkout Day Isn't Hiding Her Identity Anymore

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Leah Griesmann, who came up with the idea for National Adjunct Walkout Day, isn't hiding her identity anymore. So what does she think about last week's protests, and about what's next for adjunct activism?

Diversity Declines in Athletic Hiring

The race- and gender-related hiring practices of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's member institutions have received a C grade in this year's College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card, issued by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. That is the worst grade ever issued by the institute, which began creating the reports in 2001.

The report card notes declines in the hiring of women and people of color in nearly every major profession in college athletics. The report's grade for gender hiring fell from a B in 2012 to a C- in 2014. Its grade for racial hiring fell from a B to a C+. For the 2014 season, only 22 percent of men’s Division I basketball coaches were African-American (down from 23 percent) and 23.8 percent were coaches of color (down from 24.8 percent). Less than 10 percent of Division I athletic directors are women. The number of head football coaches of color in the Football Bowl Subdivision decreased from 15 in 2013 to 14 at the start of the 2014 season. About 90 percent of the coaches were white. All FBS conference commissioners in 2014 were white men.

“It was extremely discouraging that this year’s CSRGRC showed further deep overall declines," Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES and the primary author of the report, said in a statement. "The drop in the race and gender grades emphasized an area of continuing and alarming concern."

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Speedy Departure for Columbus Art College President

Thomas White has resigned as president of the Columbus College of Art & Design after only eight months in office, The Columbus Dispatch reported. There has been no public explanation of his departure. But the article noted controversy over his decision to replace the college's marketing department by outsourcing the work. And some feared that White was not a supporter of the fine arts programs.

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Fight Escalates Over U. of California Admissions, Budgets

Tensions between the University of California System and state leaders escalated Tuesday, The Sacramento Bee reported. State officials have been pushing the university system to shift some admissions slots from out-of-state applicants to Californians. But in legislative testimony Tuesday, UC President Janet Napolitano said that the university could not increase in-state enrollment at current budget levels. “We will not be admitting students that we don’t know that we actually have funding for,” she said. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins called Napolitano's statement "UC’s latest attempt to use students as bargaining chips.”

 

Clarkson U., Union Graduate College Explore Merger

Clarkson University and Union Graduate College on Monday announced discussions on possibly merging their graduate programs. Clarkson has a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Union, a free-standing institution that grew out of Union College, offers only graduate programs. A statement from the institutions said: "Clarkson’s national reputation in engineering, science and management would reinforce Union Graduate College’s strengths in those related disciplines, and offer additional resources to benefit students and alumni of each school. Meanwhile, Union Graduate College’s well-regarded programs in bioethics, healthcare management and education would allow Clarkson to expand its graduate offerings, which also include accredited programs in physical therapy and physician assistant studies."

 

 

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Tennessee Temple U. Expected to Shut Down

Tennessee Temple University, a small Baptist college in Chattanooga, is expected to announce today that it will shut down and merge remaining operations with Piedmont International University, a Christian college in Winston-Salem, N.C., The Chattanoogan reported. Tennessee Temple has about 300 students. The institution had hoped to buy land and move, but was unable to raise the necessary funds.

 

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Purdue Backs Down on Changes in Policy on Time Off

Purdue University announced Monday that it was backing down on planned changes in the policies about paid time off. The university proposed a system that it said would be more straightforward than the current system, but employees counted the days and found that their possible paid time off would shrink. On Friday, hundreds packed a meeting to express frustrations over the plan. On Monday, the university sent a letter to employees saying that the planned changes would be put on a "pause." While changes haven't been determined, the letter said that in revised plans, "the number of allotted days will be increased."

 

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Grinnell Asks to Be Investigated by Office for Civil Rights

Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa, has preemptively asked the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to investigate how it has handled cases of sexual assault. OCR is currently investigating more than 100 institutions for potential Title IX violations, but Grinnell is not on that list. “If Grinnell has fallen short at any point, I want to know about it now, continue to address the problems, and make things right for our students,” Raynard Kington, the college's president, said in a statement announcing the request. “This is not possible to ascertain in the court of public opinion, but it is possible with OCR’s review and guidance."

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Documentary on campus sexual assault drops claim that 35 colleges declined interviews

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The film originally claimed that the "presidents or chancellors of UNC, Harvard, Notre Dame, Florida State, Berkeley, Occidental and more than 35 other schools all declined to be interviewed." It's no longer making that claim.

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