Geoff Chatas, who had announced he was leaving the top financial position at Ohio State University, won't be leaving after all, Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. Chatas had announced that he had accepted a position with QIC, an investment company. After he changed his mind and decided to stay at Ohio State, Northeast Ohio Media Group posed questions about what would appear to some to be the potential for conflict of interest -- Chatas is the Ohio State official who negotiated a 50-year agreement with QIC over management of the university's parking facilities. University officials denied that there was any conflict of interest and said that Chatas hadn't been expected to manage the parking deal. He now won't be going to QIC and instead signed a three-year contract to stay at Ohio State, with a base annual salary of $683,153.
A report being released today by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology examines the lost opportunities for science and for U.S. competitiveness vs. other nations due to inadequate federal support for basic research. "The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit" explores a range of scientific issues and illustrates how funding has become more difficult to find.
"Basic research is often misunderstood, because it often seems to have no immediate payoff. Yet it was just such federally funded research into the fundamental working of cells, intensified beginning with the 'War on Cancer' in 1971, that led over time to a growing arsenal of sophisticated new anticancer therapies -- 19 new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two years. Do we want similar progress on Alzheimer’s, which already affects five million Americans, more than any single form of cancer? Then we should expand research in neurobiology, brain chemistry and the science of aging," the report says. "The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is a reminder of how vulnerable we are to a wider pandemic of emergent viral diseases, because of a lack of research on their biology; an even greater public health threat looms from the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria right here at home, which, because commercial incentives are lacking, only expanded university-based research into new types of antibiotics can address."
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.