While police investigate an apparent hate crime against a black University of Iowa student who was severely beaten near campus Saturday night, university officials are working to explain how more than three days passed between the attack and the institution’s response.
The university first released a statement on Twitter early Wednesday, responding to concerned students using the hashtag #ExplainIowa. Iowa officials said they did not learn of the attack until Tuesday, when they were contacted by a television news station in Chicago, where the student’s family lives. “We are deeply disturbed by the incident and concerned for the student,” the university tweeted.
The 19-year-old victim told police that he was walking in an alley in downtown Iowa City, across the street from the university’s campus, when three men began punching him and yelling racial slurs. He suffered damage to his eye socket and lost most of his two front teeth. He was released from the hospital Monday evening, at which point he reported the crime to police. Iowa City police said the case is being investigated as a hate crime. The suspects were described as being three college-age white men.
After the university was contacted by ABC7 in Chicago, officials reached out to the local police department for more information and then met with the student and his family Wednesday morning. It was after the meeting -- 84 hours after the incident occurred, 36 hours after the crime was reported to police and 12 hours after the news report aired -- that the university released a campus crime alert about the attack, as required by federal crime-reporting laws.
The delay angered many students on campus, who took to Twitter to ask how a news station in Chicago learned of an alleged hate crime against a student before anyone on campus did. “How many black students must be a victim of a hate crime before an alert is sent out,” one student asked. Tweeted another: “Thanks, Chicago, for letting us know what happened a 10-minute walk from my room.”
Iowa officials originally defended the university's response, noting that an alert was issued as soon as officials learned enough information about the attack following the news station’s report. Later, the university released a more conciliatory statement, saying the victim’s family had actually first contacted campus police to report the incident, but they were directed instead to the Iowa City Police Department because the crime occurred off campus. If Iowa students were involved in the attack, the university added, “they will be subject to disciplinary procedures,” including suspension or expulsion.
“We later learned that the student did visit UI police late Monday night, but because the crime occurred off campus, he was directed to ICPD to file a report,” the university said. “This was intended to prevent the victim from having to share his story multiple times. However, we now recognize this as a failure in current UI protocol and will be working with many campus and community partners, including ICPD, to improve reporting mechanisms for the future.”
While the overall number of crimes reported by colleges and universities fell between 2001 and 2013, the number of reported forcible sex crimes has increased by 126 percent, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of reports of sexual assault jumped from 4,000 to 5,000. It is unclear if the increase stems from a rising number of incidents, however, or more students reporting the crimes, the American Institutes for Research, which co-authored the report, said.
Arrests for drug law violations also increased, by 70 percent, according to the report. There were 781 hate crimes reported on campuses in 2013, a number that has stayed about the same since the incidents started being tracked in 2009. Overall, the number of campus crimes fell by 34 percent between 2001 and 2013.
Bowling Green State University will pay $712,000 to a former football player who says he suffered permanent brain injuries because the team's coaches and medical staff did not immediately pull him from practice after suffering multiple concussions. In a statement, the university said it admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement and only agreed to pay the player, who had filed a lawsuit against the university, to avoid a trial.
College fraternities are known for hanging offensive and sexist banners in front of their houses. The practice has drawn controversy before, even resulting in Sigma Nu suspending its chapter at Old Dominion University last year. Fraternities at Northwestern University are now under fire for hanging a different kind of sign: banners that raise awareness about campus sexual assault. "This is everyone's problem," one banner read. "Theta Chi stand against sexual assault," read another.
The banners, which were fixed to the outside of fraternity houses during April, were meant to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But some students on campus found the signs to be in poor taste, arguing that fraternities should do more than hang banners when combating campus sexual assault. “To display a banner [saying] that ‘We support survivors’ is really something you have to earn by actually walking the walk,” one student told the Daily Northwestern.
On Monday, Northwestern's Interfraternity Council announced that it would discourage chapters from hanging the banners in the future, and that it would create a four-year sexual assault education program for fraternities. “We recognize now how this campaign may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected,” the IFC's executive board said in the statement. “This was not our intent, but it is our fault for not being cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.
The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.
Last week's one-day faculty strike at City College of San Francisco over a contract battle is "credit negative" for the college because it sends a strong signal of resistance to the administration's plan to "reduce costs and maintain structural balance," said Moody's, the credit rating agency, on Monday.
City College has lost more than a third of its enrollment during an accreditation crisis that began about five years ago. New revenue streams from the state and city, largely driven by new taxes, have helped bolster the college amid funding declines linked to the enrollment dip. But the new funding is temporary. And City College has reduced its operating expenses by only 15 percent since its accreditation woes began.
"A failure to maintain balanced operations would impede the district’s progress toward full renewal of its accreditation status, which, in turn, would further erode student enrollment and weaken annual revenue support from the state of California," Moody's said.
The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Monday voted no confidence in Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, and in the system's Board of Regents. The vote follows the board's rejections of proposals made by faculty groups that they said would protect academic freedom in new system policies on tenure and the elimination of faculty jobs.
Among the statements in the resolution of no confidence: "[A] primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical-thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial" and "The erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university."
Cross released a statement in which he said that he wants to work closely with faculty members, but that he also has to "work in partnership" with state leaders. "This state and its people are counting on us, working together, to help improve and expand quality of life and economic prosperity. I will continue working with faculty at UW-Madison and other institutions and partners throughout the state to advance the UW System for the good of all of Wisconsin," he said. The system also released a statement from the board chair affirming support for Cross.
General Assembly, the largest of the skills boot camp providers, today released a public framework for measuring student outcomes. Boot camps are not accredited. And while many claim job-placement rates of more than 90 percent, those numbers typically are not verified by outside groups. But Skills Fund, a student lender for boot camps, and other players are seeking to play that role.
To design its standards for reporting and measuring student success, General Assembly worked with two major accounting firms to craft an approach public companies use to measure nonfinancial metrics such as social impact and environmental sustainability.
"Our goal is to start a conversation about outcomes predicated on the use of consistent definitions and the application of a rigorous framework and methodology," the company said. "Over time, we hope to develop new measures of return on education that consider income or other criteria that can be used by students and other stakeholders to understand student success in even more specific and granular ways."