Quick Takes: Taking a C to Court, Dartmouth Alumni Dispute, Controversy Over Anti-Rape T-Shirts, End to Default Program, Antioch Board Receives Update, Collaboration Among Public Universities, Cowley Student Dies in Fire, NCAA Members Flex Muscles

October 4, 2007
  • Tired of students complaining about grades they don't like? It could be worse -- you could be sued. The Boston Globe reported that a student unhappy with his C grade at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst did just that, with a 15-count lawsuit in federal court. A federal judge dismissed the case, but an appeal is possible.
  • Dartmouth College's alumni association has voted to sue the college to block the expansion of its Board of Trustees -- an expansion that would decrease the proportion of trustees elected by alumni, the Associated Press reported. Board leaders said that the expansion was needed to bring on more talent (and fund raising potential), but some alumni viewed the move as a way to dilute their influence. James Wright, president of the college, issued a statement about the planned suit, saying he was "deeply disappointed" and that litigation "can only harm the college."
  • The University of Maryland at College Park has barred students who are creating T-shirts as part of a display on campus to promote rape awareness from putting the names of alleged sexual assailants on the shirts, The Baltimore Sun reported. The university says that as a sponsor of the event, it could face legal problems over the names, but student organizers say that the university is censoring them.
  • Some members of Congress are angry over the U.S. Education Department's decision to end a program that gave extra flexibility to guarantee agencies with good success records at bringing default rates down on student loans. The Education Department has said that it needs to stop offering the program because of its cost, but in a letter to Secretary Margaret Spellings, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives expressed concern that the department will "terminate a model that has been successful in preventing students from defaulting on their student loans."
  • Antioch College's alumni association on Wednesday presented Antioch University's Board of Trustees with an update on plans to keep the college operating -- but the verdict is still out on whether the board will allow that to take place. Art Zucker, chair of the board, said in an interview after the meeting that discussions were "candid" and that trustees were "very impressed" by the work the alumni group had done. A final version of the alumni plan will be presented at the end of the month. For now, Zucker stressed "the decision stands" to suspend operations of the college after the end of this academic year. He declined to say whether Wednesday's discussion left him thinking that there was a good chance to avoid the suspension of operations. He also said that the board "absolutely" has confidence in Toni Murdock, chancellor of the university, whom many faculty members distrust. Nancy Crow, president of the alumni association board, said she thought the meeting was "productive" and that the alumni group would continue to finalize its plan for the board.
  • The International Forum of Public Universities will be formally created next week in a meeting at the University of Montreal. The sole American institution among the 20 members is the University of California.
  • A first-year student at Cowley College died in an off-campus house fire, according to NewsCow, an online publication in Cowley County, Kan. Officials in the county and at the two-year college in Kansas declined to identify the victim, but the national group Campus Fire-Watch said the death was the second fire-related fatality involving a college student this academic year.
  • Members of the NCAA have forced the Division I Board of Directors to reconsider for a second time a proposed revision in the association's policies governing scholarships for Division I baseball players, the association announced. The "override" vote marks the first time since the NCAA revamped its governance structure a decade ago that a piece of proposed legislation had been overridden twice; critics said the plan, which the board had already weakened once, would still excessively encroach on institutional autonomy. The board can now accept the override, rescinding the legislation; allow a vote of all Division I colleges; or revise the proposal again.
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