The State University of New York Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to spin off the nanotechnology college at the system's Albany to create a freestanding institution, despite some members' concerns about the move, the Albany Times-Unionreported. Supporters of the move, including SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and a panel she had appointed, said that allowing Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to become an independent, degree-granting institution would better allow the nanotechnology program to achieve its goals. Three trustees opposed the move for a range of reasons, which comes as SUNY has sought (with mixed success) to streamline administrative costs by combining leadership of some campuses.
Kent State University's former men's basketball coach breached his contract when he left the institution for a job at Bradley University in 2011, an Ohio judge ruled Tuesday in awarding Kent State $1.2 million, The Akron Beacon-Journal reported. The $1.2 million award would cover the four years (at a salary of $300,000) that were remaining on Geno Ford's contract when he left a year after his deal had been renegotiated. Ohio's attorney general, Mike DeWine, said in a news release that “Ohio’s public colleges and universities have a duty to students and taxpayers to be wise stewards of tuition and taxpayer moneys.”
Kent State is also suing Bradley for its role in Ford's hiring.
Students have ended a long-term occupation of the president's office at Cooper Union, reaching an agreement with the administration. The occupation was designed to protest the decision to start charging tuition at what for many years had been a free institution. Cooper Union officials have said that they have no financial alternative. A joint statement of the administration and the protesting students did not indicate that tuition would be abandoned. However it said that "a working group will be established promptly to undertake a good faith effort to seek an alternative to tuition that will sustain the institution’s long-term financial viability and strengthen its academic excellence." Further, the administration pledged to add student representation to the board, to create a community space for students and to grant amnesty for violating Cooper Union policies during the occupation. In the future, "occupiers and all present at this meeting commit to complying with, and cooperating with the enforcement of, all laws and Cooper Union policies," said the agreement that ended the occupation.
A dominant theme at this year’s annual meeting of college business officers is finding creative sources of capital or revenue that institutions can use to invest -- often by outsourcing existing functions.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation that could require Bryant University to reimburse the town of Smithfield for police and fire department service, The Providence Journal reported. The legislation requires that university and town officials try to negotiate an agreement. If they fail to reach a deal, the town can start charging the university on March 1. Bryant, like many private colleges, said it does not object to discussing ways to compensate the town, but that it is inappropriate for a state government to force a private, nonprofit college to pay its locality. The university, which urged Governor Chafee to veto the legislation, said it will negotiate with the town but may also consider litigation against the law.
Amherst College spent $19 million on architectural and other expenses for a planned $245 million science building that the college has now decided not to build, The Boston Globe reported. Amherst officials say that they still need and plan to find a way to build a new science facility, but that the planned building was creating too many problems. The Globe article uses the Amherst situation to discuss competing pressures on colleges as the plan the best spaces for scientists. In the Amherst case, some science professors say that the project grew more expensive and more complicated in part because of a desire for architectural details (a light filled atrium, for example) as opposed to focusing on the basic lab spaces that the professors need.
A Senate subcommittee on Tuesday approved a fiscal year 2014 spending bill that supports the launch of a “Race to the Top” program focusing on college affordability and calls for a significant increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies bill set discretionary spending at $164.3 billion. The bill includes $400 million to support the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” initiative. This is a noticeable difference from last year’s budget plan, which omitted the $1 billion the administration had requested for the initiative. The funding for the program will be an incentive for states to reduce college costs and improve academic outcomes. The subcommittee would also allocate $850 million for the TRIO programs, which help low-income, first generation college students prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education.
The Senate’s bill would also provide $31 billion to the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $307 million from last year, to fund biomedical research. The funding would allow the NIH to allocate $40 million for the new Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
Under the plan, the total maximum Pell Grant would rise by $140 to $5,785.
The House has not yet introduced its version of the appropriations bill. It is considered unlikely that the two bills will be reconciled and passed. The full appropriations committee will meet on Thursday.