Quick Takes: Reforms Urged on Athletics, Threats at Riverside, Emerson Dean's Lender Ties, Why a Chair Was Removed, Settlement on Student Press, Settlement in Wisconsin, Poor Math Alignment, NCAA Goes After Another Blogger, Old Fashioned Grade Changing

June 18, 2007
  • A coalition of faculty senates will today release a report calling for major reforms of intercollegiate athletics -- with many of the recommendations calling for an enhanced role for professors in overseeing sports programs. The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics is calling for the creation of a Campus Athletic Board at each campus, a majority of whose members would be tenured professors selected through faculty governance structures. This board would have to be consulted on all major athletics decisions, including the hiring of key officials, changes in the number of sports offered, and adding significant facilities. Other recommendations are designed to assure the primacy of academic values. For example, one recommendation is that admissions standards should be the same for all students, regardless of whether they are athletes, and that athletes "should be admitted based on their potential for academic success and not primarily on their athletic contribution."
  • The University of California at Riverside delayed the graduation ceremonies that were scheduled for Friday to today, after two homemade bombs as well as threatening letters were found on the campus. The university went ahead with graduation events planned on Saturday, but with extra security. On Saturday, authorities arrested a former student at Riverside, who they believe acted alone in making the threats and leaving the bombs. He was last enrolled in the 2006 summer session.
  • Emerson College, in Massachusetts, placed its dean of enrollment on leave Friday -- the day after a U.S. Senate report found that he had received $36,000 from a loan company that Emerson recommended to students, The Boston Globe reported. According to the report, Daniel Pinch had a consulting contract with Collegiate Funding Services, which is now part of J.P. Morgan Chase. Pinch told the Globe that he didn't think he had done anything wrong, and that he would cooperate with an investigation now going on.
  • The biology chair at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point was removed in March because of two sexual relationships he had with students, one undergraduate and one graduate student, the Associated Press reported. A university report, which was released Friday, said that the relationships were consensual, but still violated university rules. Robert Bell, the ousted chair, had tried to block the release of the report. He maintained his faculty job. Bell told the AP that the relationships became known when the undergraduate woman found out about the graduate woman and told other biology professors.
  • Ocean County College, in New Jersey, has agreed to respect the First Amendment rights of the students who publish Viking News and to permanently reinstate the newspaper's adviser, according to the Student Press Law Center. The center backed the students and the adviser in various suits challenging the dismissal of the adviser, and one of those suits was ended by the agreement. College officials could not be reached for comment.
  • The University of Wisconsin System will pay $135,000 to Paul Barrows, a former vice chancellor for student affairs, and remove a critical letter from his file, in return for which Barrows will drop suits against the university, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Barrows, who is black, maintained that the university engaged in racial discrimination against him in a series of disputes over harassment allegations that he denied. Barrows resigned his position in 2005, saying that he was leaving for personal reasons. But his departure became a political controversy in the state over payments he was receiving from the university when it was revealed that he had been having an affair with a woman who was a graduate student.
  • There is poor alignment between math testing in California's high schools and the placement needs in the state's community colleges, according to a new report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association's war against blogging about games, which gained attention when the association evicted a reporter in Louisville from a baseball playoff game, has also been pushing the issue elsewhere. The Oregonian reported that it too was told it could only get press credentials if it agreed to stop blogging during games.
  • Grade-changing schemes these days tend to feature the latest in high-tech hacking or bribery, but Washington City Paper reported on an American University graduate who tried to change his grades by breaking into the registrar's office. The not-so-loyal alum, Matin Sedigh, was caught and admitted to unlawful entry and destruction of property in a deal with prosecutors. He is a vice president at Merrill Lynch.
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