White House aims to 'fundamentally shift' culture around campus sexual assault

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White House aims to "fundamentally shift" thinking on campus sexual assault with campaign on bystander prevention. Some advocates worry it will draw focus away from enforcement efforts.

New presidents or provosts: Finger Lakes Ga Highlands Ivy Tech Mesabi MSSU Mount St. Mary UWGB WGU Texas

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  • Lea Anne Crooks, executive director of human resources and executive director of corporate college at Ivy Tech Community College, has been chosen as president of Ivy Tech's Terre Haute campus.
  • Anne Carson Daly, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Belmont Abbey College, in North Carolina, has been chosen as president of Mount Saint Mary College, in New York.

Delaware Professor on Leave After Harassment Charge

University of Delaware officials confirmed that Eric Tranby, an assistant professor of sociology, is on leave and is expected to resign following allegations of sexual harassment, The News Journal reported. About 300 people rallied Friday at Delaware, criticizing the university for not being more open about why Transby has been placed on leave. The rally followed an article in The Review, the student newspaper, that said that Tranby was investigated over a student's allegation that he had offered her an A in return for sexual favors. Domenico Grasso, the provost at Delaware, sent an email to the campus in which he said the article in the student newspaper included "errors of fact," but he did not specify them. He said that he couldn't discuss specifics of the case, but that "this matter was handled promptly and appropriately, with sensitivity and clear communication with the student and her advocate, and in accordance with all University policies and the requirements of federal law." Both Grasso's email and a response from the Review may be found here.

In an email to Inside Higher Ed, Tranby said: "Last spring, there was a claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment made against me. I strongly deny any allegations that I asked for sexual favors in exchange for a grade, nor did I threaten the complainant in any way. The university takes all claims very seriously, as they should, and they promptly and appropriately investigated the claim. There were no findings of quid pro quo harassment, I was not disciplined, and I remain on faculty. I was upset by the allegations and ensuing rumors, and chose to take a leave of absence while I sought new employment."


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FAA Bars Use of Drone for Michigan Football Game

The University of Michigan had planned to have a drone deliver the game ball to a football game Saturday, but the Federal Aviation Administration banned the operation, The Detroit News reported. The FAA noted that federal regulations restrict access to airspace over football stadiums seating 30,000 or more fans. The university complied, and called off its plans.


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Florida State Ups Star's Suspension to Full Game

Florida State University, which has been widely criticized for its handling of sexual assault allegations against Jameis Winston, has upped its punishment of Winston for standing on a table and shouting a vulgar and sexist phrase, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. The university originally announced that Winston would sit out the first half of a football game against Clemson University, a punishment that many viewed as a slap on the wrist. Late Friday night, the university announced Winston would sit out the full game. Those offended by explicit language may wish to stop reading here. Winston reportedly stood on a table and shouted: "Fuck her right in the pussy." The saying is associated with an Internet meme based on a fake viral video -- a prank of sorts where passersby say the phrase during live news broadcasts.

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DuPage Faculty Votes 'No Confidence' in President

College of DuPage's full-time faculty union has voted "no confidence" in college President Robert L. Breuder, 189 to 53. Glenn Hansen, president of the National Education Association-affiliated union and a DuPage photography instructor, said Breuder has contributed to an atmosphere of "distrust" on campus. He cited a recent controversy in which the president was revealed, via a leaked email, to have planned to ask the state of Illinois for $20 million in pre-appropriated funding for a building that already had been built using college money. Breuder planned to say the money would go toward another new, $50 million teaching and learning center, even though the estimated cost of construction was only $30 million. Breuder said he was being creative about how to obtain once-promised funds, and the college says that if it ever receives that $20 million, it will be used to "scale" the center plan. (Note: This sentence has been updated from an earlier version, to clarify that the college would use the funds for the center.) But critics said the president was being greedy at the expense of taxpayers.

Joseph Moore, college spokesman, in an email attributed faculty tensions to union contract negotiations going back to 2011, and said that the recent vote was limited to full-time faculty only (the college says it has more than four times as many adjuncts as full-time faculty members, 1303 compared to 305, respectively). He continued: "Overall, the campus climate, as measured in 2014 by a nationally normed employee satisfaction survey administered by an outside agency, is excellent, with scores for 'healthy campus climate' now tying our all-time recorded high.”    


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Five Years of Selling University Cell Phones

A former Oregon State University employee is in jail, facing charges that she sold 388 university-owned cell phones while she was an employee from 2008 through 2013, The Oregonian reported. The employee was on the IT support staff at the time, and allegedly received $14,465 for the phones.


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Clemson Halts Program That Asked Questions About Student Sex Lives

Clemson University has suspended an online Title IX training program after the university "learned of concerns about some anonymous questions in the module for undergraduate students," the university announced Thursday. The program, which undergraduates were required to take, included anonymous survey questions asking students about their involvement in athletics and Greek life, their drinking habits, and their sex lives. “The questions are a part of the training so that you may get a sense of the behaviors and experiences of other Clemson students,” said an email from the university, obtained by Campus Reform. “Often, students have an exaggerated perception of the behaviors of their peers, so these questions are in hopes of clarifying those misconceptions.”

The university said that individual responses to the questions were anonymous and could not be seen by Clemson or the program's vendor CampusClarity. "We have suspended the training until the content is further reviewed and revised to ensure that it meets our goal of making Clemson a safer campus for all students, faculty and staff, while also respecting individual privacy," Shannon Finning, dean of students at Clemson, said in a statement.

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Anti-Hazing Group Urges Ben and Jerry's to Rename Flavor

Ice cream maker Ben and Jerry's is mulling whether to change the name of one of its flavors after anti-hazing activists said the flavor made light of dangerous hazing incidents on college campuses. "Hazed & Confused," a blend of hazelnut and chocolate ice cream that was released in February, is not a reference to hazing, a company spokesman told Bloomberg, but instead refers to the popular 1993 Richard Linklater film Dazed and Confused and the ice cream's featured ingredient. But when Lianne and Brian Kowiak saw an ad for the flavor six months after its release, they said they were "shocked" and "dismayed." The couple's son died during a hazing ritual in 2008 at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Hank Nuwer, an anti-hazing activist, told readers of to contact the ice cream company with their complaints. Ben and Jerry's told Bloomberg that it only received three emails, but it will consider a name-change anyway. “You hear about things like institutional racism and people will say, ‘You can’t see it because you are living in it, you were raised in it, you were born in it,’” a spokesman said. “This in no way was in reference to hazing at Ben & Jerry’s, but were we doing something that we should have been more aware of?”

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Ideas not to follow for keeping students enrolled (essay)

Student retention has been in the news a lot lately, but for a long time, no one at U of All People took it too seriously, since we’ve always had the same 20 percent rate of graduation within 20 years. To supplement our data, we also rely on anecdotal evidence, such as Professor Daissa Frogg’s looking around his biology lab in 2005 and exclaiming, “Where is everybody?” As it turned out, Professor Frogg had simply got the time wrong, and most of the students were at lunch.

But recently our rates have plummeted to below 10 percent, teasing at the edges of our institutional consciousness like a zen koan: What is the sound of a school with no students? Or, as the bursar, Shaumida Munnie, put it, “What’s a school that brings in zero tuition dollars?”

A hastily set-up committee, SSF (Stop Student Flight), came up with these findings: Students leave in droves during the summer, despite the current 24/7/12 system, under which no time slot or class space goes unfilled. But students also leave for reasons of bad grades (below a B+), drug and alcohol abuse (or insufficient quantities), and lack of financial support (in fact, we count on student dollars to support us). Also: apathy, irritation with overlong lectures, and the conviction that they could be spending their time more profitably flipping burgers at McDonald’s.

Accordingly, the SSF has met at least twice and come up with some measures that should make U of All People the only campus in the U.S., beyond maximum-security prison, able to boast a 100 percent retention rate, if you define terms like “100,” “percent,” “retention,” and “rate” rather loosely. Here are some of the proposals:

  • Prescription parties, offering Abilify to Zoloft. The first dose is free, after which the drugs are distributed on an ascending scale of payment, though the cost may be waived if the student maintains a G.P.A. higher than 3.0.
  • Resident advisers recruited from the ranks of bar mitzvah motivators, enriching dorm life with games, loud music, and cheap party favors. Motivators will also encourage lollapalooza study sessions and romantic all-nighters.
  • Financial incentives. Since we can’t put everyone on scholarship, we propose to reward students who complete a minimum of 500 credit hours. Since the minimum number of hours required for graduation is 126, it’s mainly the thought that counts.
  • A grade-adjustment system, for any grades that students aren’t happy with. Students must fill out a form in which they explain why an A from U of All People means the world to them.
  • Ten-foot-high fences surrounding the campus, topped with concertina wire, and a full check of all delivery trucks going in and out.

In addition to these five programs, set to go into effect this fall, here is a set of additional ideas that, in the words of SSF chair Jess Kidden, “haven’t quite gelled yet”:

  • Peer pressure, including a campaign to “Sign the ‘Don’t drop out!’ pledge.” Posters, prizes.
  • Mandatory, undeletable phone app that buzzes maddeningly whenever the phone is away from campus for more than a week.
  • Free lunch every Monday, the cost built into every student’s activity fees.
  • Perfect-attendance certificates, suitable for framing or posting on Instagram (with special certificate filter).
  • Nightly head-count in the dorms.
  • Distribution of “We ♡ Our Students” T-shirts to faculty.

Note: The SSF did include a student representative on the committee, but by the second time the committee met, she had already withdrawn from school.

David Galef directs the creative writing program at Montclair State University. His latest book is the short story collection My Date With Neanderthal Woman (Dzanc Books).


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