administrators

U of Chicago coach tells federal judge that Dennis Hastert deserves credit for fighting Title IX

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U of Chicago coach tells judge that former speaker, about to be sentenced for hiding hush money to cover up charges he molested boys, is "outstanding human being" for taking on U.S. Education Department.

Clemson students end lengthy sit-in

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Clemson makes numerous pledges on minority faculty, enrollments and diversity training, but administrators and students remain apart on some issues.

Wisconsin Madison Senate to Consider No-Confidence Resolution in System President, Board

The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Faculty Senate will vote on a resolution expressing no confidence in UW System President Ray Cross and the system’s Board of Regents on May 2. Among numerous alleged missteps by Cross and the board, the resolution criticizes them for supporting a new systemwide layoff policy for tenured professors that many faculty members said fell short of providing real tenure protections in the event of program closures for budgetary and academic concerns. The board also approved changes to a Madison-specific policy that many professors said watered down tenure protections. The new policies stem from the Wisconsin Legislature’s elimination of tenure from state statute last year.

The no-confidence resolution, which is still being finalized, was written by Chad Alan Goldberg, a professor of sociology, faculty senator and president of American Federation of Teachers-affiliated United Faculty and Academic Staff. A current draft says, in part, that system leaders’ actions “have damaged the reputation of [Madison] as a great state university that encourages continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found” and that the “the erosion of academic due process and the circumventing of shared governance jeopardize the quality of students’ education.”

The document already has been endorsed by the president of the Madison advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors, David Vanness, associate professor of population health sciences. Vanness said in an email to colleagues on Sunday that the case against Cross “is clear and convincing. … His actions at the Board of Regents meeting in March conclusively demonstrated that he has played a direct role in bringing about the weakening of tenure and shared governance as a means of giving the administration ‘flexibility’ and ‘tools’ to set aside tenure and trammel shared governance in order to deal with continuing budget cuts.”

Alex Hummel, university system spokespeson, said via email that the vote "is a faculty matter, and President Cross remains focused on helping the [system's] institutions maintain a world-class education."

 

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Arizona, amid cuts to higher ed, may help centers supported by Charles Koch

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As Arizona institutions continue to struggle with deep cuts to state funding, some wonder why on-campus 'freedom centers' funded by the Charles Koch Foundation could get $5 million grant.

New Emerson Logo Met With Derision

A new logo for Emerson College (at right) is receiving widespread criticism from students and alumni. “This new logo does not represent the dedication, hard work and creativity of the students, alumni, teachers and faculty of Emerson College. It is not a clear signifier of our school and is being compared to ‘the breast cancer ribbon,’ ‘the cup from the ’90s’ and looking like a ‘laser hair removal’ logo,” says a petition against the new logo. An editorial in the student newspaper, The Berkeley Beacon, called the new logo “little more than an errant pen mark” and “worse than ugly and worse than trivializing.”

On Twitter, critics of the logo are having a field day.

Andy Tiedemann, vice president for communications and marketing at Emerson, told The Boston Globe he thought many people criticizing the logo don't have full information about it, such as that it need not be only purple and that it could be used in various ways with the institutional name. When people have been given full information, he said, “people could see the potential of how we could use it” and “we got … an overwhelmingly positive response.”

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U of New Mexico Faulted on Sex Assault Responses

The University of New Mexico mishandled reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday.

"The department specifically found that students, faculty and staff lacked basic understanding about reporting options, duties and obligations, as well as where to turn for help," the department said in a statement. "The investigation also found significant gaps in UNM’s procedures, training and practices for investigating and resolving allegations of sexual assault and harassment, resulting in a grievance process that complainants and respondents alike described as confusing, distressing and rife with delays."

The Justice Department began investigating UNM in December 2014 after several students alleged that the university did not "adequately respond to their reports of sexual assault." In order to comply with federal laws, the department said, the university must now provide comprehensive training to all students, faulty and staff; revise its sexual misconduct procedures so that they ensure "prompt and equitable" resolutions; and adequately investigate all allegations by students who report being sexually assaulted or harassed, including allegations of retaliation.

“UNM is not alone in trying to deal with one of the most difficult problems on today’s college campuses,” Robert Frank, the university's president, said in a statement. “While we respect the efforts of the DOJ, we believe its report is an inaccurate and incomplete picture of our university. It is a brief snapshot in time that came on the heels of a high-profile and widely publicized accusation of a sexual assault involving UNM students. Even so, we receive it in a spirit of cooperation and pledge to continue our campuswide improvements to combat this complex issue.”

The university also released a timeline showing the steps it has taken in recent years to improve how it handles allegations of sexual assault (click on the image below to enlarge).

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Georgia Lawmaker Sues Education Department

A Georgia legislator is suing the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that the department "exceeded [its] authority" when it released the 2011 Dear Colleague letter instructing colleges on how to prevent and punish campus sexual assault.

Similar to arguments made by congressional Republicans, Earl Ehrhart, a Republican member of the Georgia House of Representatives, said that the letter serves as more than guidance and, instead, "advances new substantive rules and creates binding obligations on the affected parties" under threat of severe penalties. "The defendants exceeded their authority and violated the Administrative Procedure Act when they circumvented the requisite notice and comment rule making while nonetheless enforcing the Dear Colleague letter as binding law," the lawsuit states.

In recent months, Ehrhart, who chairs the state's appropriations subcommittee that oversees university spending, has been engaged in a battle with Georgia Tech over how it handles accusations of sexual assault and other due process concerns. Earlier this year, he denied Georgia Tech's request for a $47 million library expansion as punishment and called for the university's president to resign.

In his lawsuit, Ehrhart argues he has been injured by the Education Department's Dear Colleague letter because he is a taxpayer and has a son enrolled at Georgia Tech. Legal experts and victims' advocates this week called the argument weak, however, as Ehrhart's son has not been punished under the rules, thus the harm in the case is speculative and Ehrhart may not have standing to sue. Earlier this month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education offered to sue the department on behalf of any accused students willing to work with the organization.

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CFPB Lacks Authority Over For-Profit-College Accreditors, Judge Rules

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Federal judge rules Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lacks the authority to investigate for-profit-college accreditors.

Essex County College Fires President, Lawyer

Essex County College's board on Wednesday fired Gale Gibson, the president, and Rashidah Hasan, general counsel and vice president for human resources, NJ.com reported. Board officials have declined to say exactly why the two were suspended last month and have now been fired. But board members have indicated that Gibson and Hasan were accused of raiding employee hard drives and preventing employees from lodging complaints with board members. A lawyer for the former president said, "Dr. Gibson's name has been wrongly dragged through the mud and she has been relieved from her employment by persons with a political agenda."

HBCUs' Academic Progress Rates Trail Other D-I Teams

Division I college athletes continue to improve academically, at least as measured by the National Collegiate Athletic Association's academic progress rate, the NCAA announced Wednesday. But historically black colleges and universities still trail other programs, with all but one of the 10 institutions facing sanctions this year for not meeting the NCAA's minimum APR requirement being HBCUs.

The NCAA requires teams to reach a minimum APR of 930, which the association says is roughly equivalent to half of a team being on track to graduate. Critics, however, say the metric is arbitrary and does not accurately measure academic progress, especially at institutions with missions to enroll underserved students.

HBCUs and other limited-resource institutions have seen some gains in recent years. The overall single-year APR for limited-resource schools increased from 945 to 966 in the last five years, while HBCUs, specifically, saw an increase from 918 to 956. The NCAA also recently announced a series of education initiatives to provide more academic support to those institutions.

The overall four-year rate for all Division I institutions is 979, up one point from last year.

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