Chancellor: Alaska-Fairbanks 'Failed' in Sex Assault Cases

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks "failed to follow [its] student discipline policies" in cases of campus sexual assault, the university's interim chancellor wrote in an open letter Tuesday.

"Like so many universities, our reported sexual assault statistics have been so low as to be implausible, especially when we know that sexual assault is so prevalent in Alaska," Mike Powers, the university's interim chancellor, wrote. "We investigated reports of rape, and often took informal action like removing the accused from dorms or campus. But, until recently, students were not being suspended or expelled for sexual assault, or for any major violation of our code of conduct. That is not acceptable and sends the wrong message to victims and perpetrators of this heinous violence."

The university became aware of its "inconsistent disciplinary practices" last year, Powers said. The university is one of more than 100 institutions currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for possibly mishandling cases of campus sexual assault. "We, like so many other universities, lost our way and are finding our path forward," Powers wrote.

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Pacific 12 Conference Gives Athletes a Vote

The Pacific 12 Conference will now feature athletes as a subgroup in its voting governance structure, the Pac-12 Council, the conference announced Tuesday. The group, called the Student Athlete Leadership Team, includes two athletes from each of the 12 member institutions, with 12 students attending every council meeting. "The perspective from our student athletes and their contribution to our policies and processes is critical as we push forward a bold agenda to address issues and preserve the best of college athletics," Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner, said in a statement.

The Pac-12 is the first major college athletics conference to include athletes in its formal governing process. Last year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's five wealthiest conferences -- including the Pac-12 -- began allowing athletes to vote on legislation at the NCAA's annual meeting.

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Skills Fund aims to be an accreditor and private lender for growing boot camp sector

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Skills Fund wants to be both a private lender and new form of accreditor for the rapidly expanding boot camp sector, with a heavy focus on students' return on investment.

Former Recruit: Louisville Visit Was Like 'Strip Club'

For years, University of Louisville basketball recruits attended parties at a campus residence hall that included nude dancers and paid sex, five former and prospective players told ESPN, lending credence to claims made by a former escort in a book published this month.

The former escort, Katina Powell, said she was paid by Andre McGee, the team's former graduate assistant coach, to provide recruits with strip shows and sex during campus visits. Powell said she was paid about $10,000 by McGee for supplying dancers -- including her own daughters -- during a four-year period. In one instance, McGee allegedly offered the escort a bottle of whiskey signed by the team's head coach, Rick Pitino, as payment.

Pitino denies knowing about the parties, and the university is investigating the allegations. McGee has been placed on administrative leave at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he is now an assistant coach. ESPN confirmed that text messages sent to Powell arranging the parties came from McGee's phone, and confirmed that a wire transfer of $200 was sent to the escort by the assistant coach.

"It was crazy," one recruit, who ultimately chose not to attend Louisville, told ESPN. "It was like I was in a strip club."

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Education Department steps up its scrutiny of ITT Tech

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Education Department tightens its oversight of embattled ITT Tech, citing failures of financial responsibility and federal fraud charges.

Moody's: Boot Camp Experiment Is Revenue Opportunity

Moody's, the credit rating agency, this week weighed in on a recently announced U.S. Department of Education experiment to allow federal financial aid to flow to a handful of partnerships between colleges and nontraditional providers, including skills boot camps and those that offer online courses. The experiment is "credit positive," Moody's said, and "will enhance and diversify revenue opportunities for universities, with nondegree credentials attracting new participants and supplementing traditional degree programs."

The limited availability of federal financial aid will accelerate the spread of alternative credentials, said Moody's, while also magnifying the potential upside of those credentials.

Vanderbilt study again highlights what colleges view as burdensome federal regulations

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University follows its controversial study on regulatory burden on colleges with an expanded analysis, and estimates the costs to all of higher ed.

Cal State U System Expands E-Portfolio Option

The California State University System will make electronic portfolios -- e-portfolios -- available to all its students and graduates, via a three-year agreement the system has signed with Portfolium, a cloud-based platform. The tool will help Cal State students display their academic and professional accomplishments in a digital format, the company said, including ones that aren't easily captured on a traditional résumé or transcript.

The use of digital portfolios is becoming popular. And two higher education groups are exploring how to bulk up the college transcript with more information about student learning and "competencies." At Cal State, more than 80,000 students already have used Portfolium to begin creating digital profiles.

ITT Tech Suspends Enrollment at Several Campuses

ITT Educational Services will suspend new student enrollment at several of its 135 campus locations, including campuses in Wichita, Kans., and South Bend, Ind. The embattled for-profit chain, which is facing financial and legal challenges, has closed eight of its ITT Technical Institute locations during the last two years, according to ITT's national accreditor.

The company made the decision to temporarily supend a handful of locations based on its research about local market demands, said Nicole Elam, an ITT spokeswoman. The campus locations "undergoing market assessments" represent 3 percent of ITT's new student enrollment, she said. ITT enrolls roughly 50,000 students.

"There will not be any disruption to ongoing course work for continuously enrolled students as we will continue to teach classes for those students," Elam said via email. "Our primary focus is on our currently enrolled students at those campuses and providing them with the same level of service and education as they pursue their degrees."

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this year charged ITT and its top two executives with fraud for allegedly concealing massive losses in two student loan programs the company backed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also sued ITT, and the U.S. Department of Education has begun more tightly monitoring the company and its finances.

Ithaca College shifts marketing strategy to focus on the whole institution, not individual programs

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A new marketing drive at Ithaca College emphasizes the overall student experience rather than individual programs. Marketing experts say this is a smart move, but some faculty members fear it's too generic.


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