Live Updates: Latest News in Higher Education



Live Updates: Latest News in Higher Education

Jackson State U President Placed on Leave

Thomas Hudson, president of Jackson State University, was placed on administrative leave with pay Thursday by Mississippi’s Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

The announcement by the board gave no reason. The board named Elayne Hayes-Anthony “temporary acting president” of the university. She is chair of journalism and media studies at Jackson State.

The Mississippi Clarion Ledger said phone calls and texts to Hudson were not returned.

Hudson is the sixth president at the historically Black university in the last 14 years. In January, the newspaper reported that the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in Hudson, citing his lack of support for shared governance.

Mass. Governor Seeks Free Community College for 25 and Up

Massachusetts governor Maura Healey, a Democrat, has proposed to make community college free for all Massachusetts residents 25 and older who have not yet earned a college degree or industry credential, The Sun Chronicle reported.

“We have an incredible opportunity before us to train the next generation of workers and increase opportunities for all,” said Healey, who described the program Wednesday during a visit to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. She included the program in her budget plan for the state, also released Wednesday.

The program would offer students financial support to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies as well as provide funding for career and support services.

Democratic Senate president Karen Spilka has called for the state to make community college free for all students.

Southeastern La. Takes Down System After ‘Network Incident‘

Southeastern Louisiana University is operating without most computer networks, which were taken down Friday due to a “network incident,” 4WWL News reported.

State police and the governor’s Office of Homeland Security are now investigating a possible cyberthreat.

Email has been restored, but the Moodle system and basic internet access are not working.

“I don’t think I realized how much we actually rely on the internet until this happened,” said Ollie Diamini, a sophomore.

Students Hold Protests of Connecticut College President

Students at Connecticut College have occupied several buildings on campus, including part of the administration building, to demand the resignation of President Katherine Bergeron, Connecticut Public Radio reported.

The students are angry about a planned fundraising event at Everglades Club in Palm Beach, Fla. The venue has a history of racial discrimination and antisemitism.

The college’s dean of institutional equity and inclusion quit over the fundraiser, which has since been called off. Students also want more resources devoted to minority groups.

John Cramer, Connecticut College’s vice president of marketing and communications, said in a statement that the administration is communicating with students.

“College leadership supports the right to free expression and peaceful protest, and will continue to pursue constructive dialogue with students as well as faculty and staff as we address the important concerns they have raised,” Cramer said.

Bethany College Puts Presidential Search on Pause

Bethany College in West Virginia has put its presidential search on pause for a year and will continue with Jamie Caridi as interim president, announced Ken Bado, chair of the Board of Trustees.

Caridi’s interim presidency began Jan. 1, 2022, with the departure of the previous president, Tamara Rodenberg. The board started a search, with RH Perry & Associates, a search firm. The search yielded nearly 90 applicants, and they were winnowed down to four finalists.

“Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the process, the consensus among the Board of Trustees is that none of the candidates are the dynamic leader Bethany currently needs as we continue to focus on executing the strategies and tactics of the … strategic plan and move Bethany successfully into the future,” Bado said.

As a result, the board has decided to pause the presidential search for a year, Bado said. Caridi has agreed to continue as interim president.

Indictment in Racial Attack at U of Kentucky

Sophia Rosing was indicted by a Kentucky grand jury this week for third-degree assault of a police officer, two counts of fourth-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct and alcohol intoxication, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The charges stem from an incident last year, video of which was widely shared on social media, that showed the former University of Kentucky student, who is white, entering a dormitory and taunting, using racial slurs and making derogatory comments toward Kylah Spring, a Black student. After police arrived, Rosing continued using slurs, resisted arrest and bit a police officer, according to the arrest report.

In November, Rosing was permanently banned from campus and deemed not eligible to re-enroll. She was also fired from jobs as a student influencer.

She will be arraigned next month.

Indiana House Bars Funding for IU’s Kinsey Institute

The Indiana House of Representatives voted 53 to 34 Wednesday to block all state funds from going to Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, the Associated Press reported.

Representative Lorissa Sweet, a Republican, proposed the measure as an amendment to the budget bill. “By limiting the funding to Kinsey Institute through Indiana University’s tax dollars, we can be assured that we are not funding ongoing research committed by crimes,” Sweet said. She specifically accused Alfred Kinsey of committing the crime of child exploitation. Kinsey died in 1956.

Representative Matt Pierce, a Democrat whose Bloomington district includes the university campus, said that Sweet’s claims were “based on old unproven allegations of conspiracies that did not exist,” calling them “warmed-over internet memes that keep coming back.”

Pierce said the university maintained a department that ensured all research involving humans met federal laws and that the Kinsey Institute aimed to better understand human sexuality, including how to treat and prevent sexual predators and pedophiles.

An Indiana University spokesman and the institute’s director didn’t immediately comment on the vote.

The AP said the fate of the Kinsey funding prohibition might not be decided until a final version of the state budget is voted upon by lawmakers in late April.

Temple Grad Students Reject Deal to End Strike

The Temple University Graduate Students’ Association voted to reject a deal proposed by the administration to end the strike that began in late January.

The margin wasn’t close: 92 percent voted to continue the strike (and 83 percent of eligible voters participated).

The university has ended striking graduate student workers’ health coverage and, in what the American Federation of Teachers calls an “unprecedented” move, is demanding they pay tuition, too.

Temple says over 80 percent of the local union members aren’t striking. The union says 40 percent are striking.

Michigan State Students Return to Class

Most Michigan State University students returned to classes on Monday, following a break because of last week’s murder of three students, The Detroit News reported.

The News reported that most faculty members devoted their classes to giving students an opportunity to talk about the tragedy.

There were memorials, therapy dogs and a visible police presence on campus.

Heather Sertic, who graduated from Michigan State in 1999 and whose daughter is a junior, spearheaded the effort to welcome students to campus Monday. As a mom, Sertic said, her instinct “to feed and hug kids” was overpowering after the shooting. So she connected with other parents to set up in front of the auditorium, where they offered food and hugs.

Nearly 47,000 Have Been in Loan Repayment for 40 Years

Nearly 47,000 people have been in student loan repayment for at least 40 years, The Washington Post reported.

The finding was based on data obtained from the Education Department through a Freedom of Information Act request. About 82 percent of the nearly 47,000 are in default on their loans.

The borrowers are a fraction of the 43.5 million Americans with student debt. But many experts say they represent an indictment of the student loan system.

“This is sort of a monumental failure,” said Abby Shafroth, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project. “There are so many relief programs in the student loan system to address some sort of financial distress. But it’s this real patchwork, and borrowers struggle to navigate it. The department itself and its servicers often can’t navigate it, either.”

Saint Leo University Announces Major Cuts

Saint Leo University announced a series of cuts Thursday “to improve efficiencies and enhance its future offerings for students.”

Among the cuts:

  • The university, which is based in Florida, will no longer offer courses in Charleston, S.C.; Joint Base Charleston–Naval Weapons Station, S.C.; Columbus, Miss.; Corpus Christi, Tex.; and Jacksonville, Lake City, Ocala and Mayport, Fla. Students currently taking classes at these centers will be able to move to the university’s online program to continue their coursework.
  • Six of its 23 NCAA Division II sports teams will be eliminated. The university did not name the sports.
  • The university will discontinue three degree programs.

A total of 111 faculty and staff positions were eliminated, of which 27 percent were recently vacant.

The university plans to grow its bachelor’s degree program in nursing and many of the programs in its newly established School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Data Science.

New Study: Lack of Sleep Hurts Students’ Grades

Every additional hour of average nightly sleep early in the semester is associated with an 0.07-point increase in end-of-term grade point average, according to study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study was of 600 college freshmen at three private universities.

“Total nightly sleep is a potentially important and underappreciated behavior supporting academic achievement,” the study says.

Christian College Cancels Concert Over Gay Singer

Pensacola Christian College called off a concert by a renowned British a cappella group, hours before it was to take place, because one member of the group is gay.

The college gave this statement for why it was canceling:

The New York Times reported that two member of the King’s Singers ensemble are gay. The Times said students, parents and staff members had opposed the concert.

The King’s Singers posted this statement:

Gunman Kills 3 and Injures 5 at Michigan State

A gunman shot and killed three people at Michigan State University Monday night, NPR reported. The shooter also injured five people, all of whom were listed in critical condition at a local hospital.

Authorities said the gunman was a 43-year-old with no connection to Michigan State. He shot himself dead, off campus. No information was available about the victims.

The shootings started shortly after 8 p.m. Two were killed in the building that houses that College of Social Science and one in the student union.

Michigan State sent out a shelter-in-place order shortly after the first shooting, which was lifted early this morning.

The university canceled all classes for today and tomorrow and is providing extra counseling services.

Teresa Woodruff, Michigan State’s interim president, said early Tuesday, “We’re devastated with the loss of life, and we want to wrap our arms around every family touched by this tragedy.”

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said this morning, “Certain places are supposed to be about community, learning or joy—elementary schools and college campuses, movie theaters and dance halls, grocery stores and workplaces. They should not be the sites of bloodshed,” The Detroit News reported.

“This is a uniquely American problem. Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter them. We plan who that last text or call would go to. We should not, we cannot, accept living like this,” Whitmer said.

8 Students Have Died at N.C. State This Academic Year

A student death, apparently by suicide, on Saturday brings to eight the number of students who have died at North Carolina State University this academic year, The New & Observer reported.

A graduate student was found dead Thursday from what are believed to be natural causes.

Counseling services are available to students, who are being urged to use them.

In addition, the university is having a Wellness Day, with no classes on Thursday. The day was set following student deaths by suicide in the fall.


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