More Harassment Allegations at Minnesota Athletic Department

An associate athletic director at the University of Minnesota has agreed to take leave from his position after the university hired outside lawyers to investigate five anonymous sexual harassment and discrimination complaints against him. One of the complaints alleges that Mike Ellis, the associate athletic director, had pornographic images of college-aged women on his cell phone that he shared with other staff members during a football game in 2012, according to the Star Tribune. After a senior staff member complained, that person was fired for "reorganization purposes," the complaint reads.

The investigation into Ellis comes less than a month after Minnesota's athletic director, Norwood Teague, resigned after two university employees filed sexual harassment complaints against him.

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Pacific 12 Conference promotes its teams, and U.S. college athletics model, in China

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Pac-12 is leading an effort to globalize U.S. intercollegiate sports, with a focus on China.

New presidents or provosts: Bastyr Chicago School Mines Motlow Nicholls North Hennepin Oxford Rutgers-Camden Shaw

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  • Tashni Dubroy, special assistant to the president for process optimization and chair of the department of natural sciences and mathematics at Shaw University, in North Carolina, has been promoted to president there.

Howard U Students Take Complaints to Twitter

Students at Howard University took to Twitter Wednesday in a campaign to draw attention to complaints about student services and facilities at the institution. Under the hashtag #TakeBackHU, students wrote about long lines and poor service in the financial aid office, a lack of air conditioning in many buildings, poor wireless service, and much more. Among the comments: “How do the professors expect us to come up with [$]300-400 for textbooks in 2 days and we can't even get financial aid …” and “Too many times will one office send you to a completely different department just to be sent back to the original one.” Many comments mix the students' frustrations with expressions of pride in the university and its role as a historically black university. Many alumni wrote that they made similar complaints years ago.

Wayne A. I. Frederick, the president, himself wrote on Twitter Wednesday evening: “My team & I are working diligently towards a comprehensive communication & resolve for your concerns. Your voices are heard and appreciated.”

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Sally Stroup to Leave For-Profit College Group

Sally Stroup will step down as executive vice president for government relations and legal counsel for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), which is the for-profit industry's primary trade group. A spokesman for APSCU confirmed the group was "working on an appropriate transition" for the position.

Stroup is a veteran of higher education policy, having served in the U.S. Department of Education during the George W. Bush administration. She also spent 14 years on Capitol Hill, including an influential stint for the U.S. House of Representatives' Education and Workforce Committee in the 1990s. Between those chapters in her career, she worked for the Apollo Group, which owns the University of Phoenix.

APSCU is facing many of the same challenges as the sector it represents. Most of the publicly held chains have left the association during the last year. The group last month announced a restructuring, including a name change and return to focusing on its career-school roots.

Iowa Professors Don't Want Nonacademic President

University of Iowa faculty members appear to be quite skeptical of Bruce Harreld, a businessman who made it to the finalist round of the school's presidential search. An American Association of University Professors survey released Wednesday found that just 3 percent of surveyed faculty found him qualified to be Iowa's next president.

At least 90 percent of surveyed faculty members believe the other finalists -- including Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin College; Michael Bernstein, provost of Tulane University; and Joseph Steinmetz, provost at Ohio State University -- are equipped to be Iowa's president.

Harreld, a former IBM executive, visited campus on Tuesday. Iowa's Board of Regents is expected to make a final decision in the search on Thursday.

University of Rochester business school rolls back price

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U of Rochester, with an M.B.A. program that is respected but not at the top of the rankings, does a reality check on tuition.

Oklahoma Wesleyan Quits Christian College Group

Oklahoma Wesleyan University has become the second Christian college to quit the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities because two of that group's members have changed their policies to allow for the hiring of gay faculty members who are married or who are celibate. A statement from Oklahoma Wesleyan's president, Everett Piper, said: “Oklahoma Wesleyan has determined it is not in the university’s best interest to continue to affiliate with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. CCCU’s ambivalence in deciding the status of two member institutions that have advised CCCU they will permit same-sex couples to be employed as faculty members indicates to us that it is time for our university to move in a different direction. We believe in missional clarity and view the defense of the biblical definition of marriage as an issue of critical importance to Christian colleges. The CCCU’s reluctance to make a swift decision sends a message of confusion rather than conviction.”

Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College in July announced policies that would permit the hiring of some gay faculty members, and that decision has upset many other members of the CCCU. Union University, in Tennessee, last month announced it was leaving the CCCU as a result of its failure to kick out Eastern Mennonite and Goshen.

The Christian college group has said that it is consulting with all of its members about what to do. That process is scheduled to conclude on Sept. 21.

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University Leaders Push for Better Graduation Data

More than 200 university presidents and chancellors on Monday urged the Obama administration to incorporate voluntary, institution-submitted data on student completion rates into its forthcoming consumer information tool. 

The university leaders said in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan that federal graduation rates -- which currently capture only first-time, full-time students -- are far too incomplete and misrepresent how well colleges perform. More than half of bachelor’s degree recipients attend more than one institution before graduating, and therefore aren’t counted in the federal data.

The letter asks the administration to include more complete graduation rates using the Student Achievement Measure, which is run by a coalition of college groups and tracks a far greater swath of students, including transfer and part-time students. 

The Education Department is currently developing a new consumer information tool it plans to release in the coming weeks in lieu of the controversial college ratings system it had originally proposed. 

Harvard Responds to Faculty Criticism of Health Plan

Nearly a year after announcing controversial changes to faculty and staff health care benefits, including the introduction of coinsurance and an out-of-pocket deductible, Harvard University backtracked somewhat. Provost Alan M. Garber said in an email to faculty and staff that a new plan without deductibles and coinsurance is now available to nonunionized professors and staff members. The new, alternative point-of-service plan will have a higher premium but no deductible or coinsurance for in-network care -- hopefully appealing to those seeking predictable insurance costs, Garber wrote.

Harvard also removed deductibles and coinsurance for diagnostics labs and X-rays, which some faculty members objected to last year as barriers to seeking preventive care. Addressing concerns that the health care changes would disproportionately affect those at the lower end of the employee pay scale, the university is also shifting salary tiers upward -- meaning that employees who make less than $75,000 will be part of the lowest tier, up from $70,000, and eligible for lower premiums.

“The announcement of changes to be introduced with Harvard’s 2015 health plans stimulated considerable discussion and concern within the university community,” Garber said. “We have heard the views of many members of our community in open forums, online, and in a number of other informal meetings with individuals and groups. We deeply value the thoughtful comments and suggestions that we received.” Still, Garber said that health insurance premium rates for everyone will increase year over year, due to the rising cost of care. 

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