Quick Takes: $190 Million Sale of Touro Online Division, Policy on Corporate Names, Swastika Painted on Professor's Door, Noose Art Offends, No Confidence at MassBay, Gaza Students Can't Return to U.S.

November 1, 2007
  • The previously announced sale of Touro College's online division to a private equity firm closed on Wednesday, with a price tag that may make a lot of eyes bulge in traditional higher education. Under the deal, Summit Partners paid Touro $190 million for Touro University International, the California-based, independently accredited distance education arm of the New York nonprofit college. Touro University International's current leaders will stay on board under the new ownership. The deal is seen by many as part of a larger trend of nonprofit higher education entities being taken for-profit, but the Touro deal is unusual in that it may be the first sale by a nonprofit college of one of its divisions. The deal is undoubtedly a windfall for Touro College: Its endowment heretofore has been $36 million.
  • The Iowa Board of Regents on Wednesday adopted a policy stating formally that buildings and academic units may be named for donors who are individuals or that are corporations, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The policy also said that appropriate due diligence must take place before such gifts are accepted. The policy follows a controversy over a proposed gift -- which fell through amid a controversy -- of $15 million to name the University of Iowa College of Public Health after Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
  • A swastika was found spray-painted on a Jewish professor's office door Wednesday at Teachers College of Columbia University, The New York Times reported. The professor said that she had last month reported to officials that she had received anti-Semitic fliers in her mailbox at the college. Also last month, a noose was found on the door of a black professor at the college.
  • Officials at Miami University in Ohio removed several nooses and a tire hanging from a tree as part of what the student who put them there said was an art project, The Oxford Press reported. David Hodge, president of the university, said he was "deeply troubled by this incident and the insensitivity that it reflects."
  • Faculty members at Massachusetts Bay Community College have voted no confidence in President Carole Berotte Joseph, The Boston Globe reported. Professors cited "institutional chaos" and said that the president's management creates a "divisive and distrustful atmosphere." In recent months, state regulators have barred new enrollments in a nursing program because of staffing problems, and the college has seen a rapid turnover among deans. The president hasn't commented on the vote but earlier told the Globe that she faced opposition for her efforts to hold people accountable.
  • About 30 students enrolled at colleges in the United States are stuck in the Gaza Strip, where an Israeli blockade has made it impossible for them to return to campuses that are now well into the fall semester, the Associated Press reported. Hundreds of other students are also unable to return to the places they were enrolled. Israeli officials started the blockade after forces in Gaza launched rockets at Israeli towns.
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