Seven public urban universities have been selected to receive $225,000 grants each to support the development and testing of new models for the sector, dealing with issues such as improved student success and cost efficiencies. The institutions are: Florida International University, Fresno State University, Georgia State University, Portland State University, Temple University, University of Akron, and University of Illinois at Chicago. The grants are from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, in a program supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Faculty members at the Scripps Research Institute, a free-standing research institution in California and Florida, are organizing to oppose a possible merger with the University of Southern California, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The scholars are criticizing both the idea of a merger and what they say was a lack of input in developing the plans, which have not been finalized. Administrators at Scripps did not respond to requests for comment.
One Christian college's supporters are praying and fasting in a bid to raise money to overcome what officials say is a financial crisis caused by employees who withheld vital information about the institution's finances.
The Thunderbird School of Global Management has signed a letter of intent to become a part of Arizona State University, the university announced Thursday. Thunderbird is a freestanding, well-respected private business school, but it has struggled financially in recent years and has been looking to become part of a larger institution. In April, amid criticism from some alumni and objections from its accreditor, Thunderbird and the for-profit higher education company Laureate announced that they were ending talks about an affiliation. Some of the criticism of the proposed deal focused on Laureate's for-profit status.
Thunderbird would remain an independent unit of Arizona State (which has a business school) under the plan being discussed. Current Thunderbird students would be able to finish their current degree programs. The Arizona State statement said changes would also take place at Thunderbird. "As part of the work underway under the letter of intent, Thunderbird and ASU will work to restructure the form that the faculty and staff operations would take as a unit of ASU. Personnel reductions are likely to result, with the goal of making the new Thunderbird school self-sustaining within ASU so that no current or new state appropriations or existing tuition will be required. The nature and scale of the reductions are still being studied," the statement said. When the merger is complete, tuition rates (in-state and out of state) would be set by Arizona Board of Regents rules.
Will Counts, executive director of the Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association, which led opposition to the Laureate plan, issued this statement: "The Thunderbird Independent Alumni Association was surprised at the recent announcement and that the alumni had to first find out about the merger through the media rather than from our alma mater. We have a great deal of respect for ASU, their recent success and wish to remain optimistic. Before we comment on the merits of the ASU-Thunderbird integration we are going to have to see more details about the structure of this transaction. Based on the articles presented thus far, it is even more important to have an independent alumni association going forward."
USA Todayreports that more universities are reconsidering the bans many of them have had on the sale of beer at sporting events, especially football games. The article says that many programs, particularly in the South, are holding firm on their longstanding opposition to selling alcohol, for philosophical reasons and concerns related to fan safety. But institutions such as Southern Methodist University -- after an experiment with alcohol sales at men's basketball and other games that earned it more than $100,000 in profit -- will sell beer at its games beginning this fall, USA Today said.
The net price paid by students rose by an average of 10.5 percent from 2008 to 2013 at 33 independent colleges examined by The Boston Globe, faster than inflation, the newspaper reported. The Globe's study found that net price -- the amount paid by students after financial aid was awarded -- rose by at least 15 percent at 11 of the 33 institutions. College officials offered a range of explanations for the increases to the Globe.
The University of Pennsylvania board on Friday rejected a proposal that it sell endowment holdings in tobacco companies, as faculty and student groups have urged. A statement from David L. Cohen, Penn's board chair, noted that the university has established criteria for divestment, and Cohen said that tobacco did not meet a key criterion: being morally evil. "After thorough deliberation, the board has determined that the tobacco proposal does not meet the criterion of establishing that there exists a moral evil," the statement said. "The linchpin of any divestment decision at Penn rests on the interpretation of moral evil, which we would view as an activity such as genocide or apartheid. We fully appreciate and understand the concerns that were raised by those who advocate divestment, and we recognize that reasonable people may disagree on this issue. Nonetheless, it is the carefully considered judgment of the board that the manufacture and sale of tobacco products – which is widely accepted as legal, although significantly regulated, in this country – does not qualify as a moral evil." Cohen did say that the university would not seek to add tobacco holdings and that it would use its influence in companies in which it invests to promote responsible policies.
Chris Feudtner, a professor of medical ethics who has helped advocate for divestment, had this reaction via email: "Open and vigorous debate can lead to positive change. Today the trustees of the university took action to prospectively divest from tobacco holding, to use what holdings it retains to advocate for the cessation of tobacco marketing to minors and the curtailment of marketing in the developing world, and to avow the university's commitment to improving the health of individuals and the public by diminishing the harm caused by tobacco. While these steps do not constitute total divestment, they represent a victory for better aligning our institutional values and actions."
Several buildings sustained damage when a tornado struck the University of Wisconsin at Platteville Monday evening. There were no fatalities or serious injuries, but damage assessment is continuing. University officials said that they were committed to being open on time for students who arrive in the fall.
The CEO and two other senior officials of the Harvard Management Co., Harvard University's investment arm, are leaving their jobs or plan to do so soon, following years of disappointing investment returns, Bloomberg reported. For the five years ending June 30, 2013, Harvard saw average returns of 1.7 percent, compared to 6.8 percent at Columbia University and 5.4 percent at the University of Pennsylvania.