Quick Takes: Library 'Gate Counts' Steady, Iowa Flood Costs, Harvard's Green Goal, Limits on Dorm Patrols, Saint Louis U. to Pay $1M, 2-Year Accreditor's Actions, Charges at NMSU, Change at WVU, CEO for Apollo, Laureate Buys Colleges, Visa Scheme

July 9, 2008
  • For all the talk about how the Internet might lead students and others to abandon libraries, there's new evidence that any decline has been minimal. In a typical week in the fall of 2006, "gate count" at academic libraries was 18,765,712 -- or an average of 5,188 per college or university library. The term refers to the number who physically enter and individuals who enter repeatedly are counted more than once. The figures come from "Academic Libraries 2006," released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. The average gate count per week per library is down 2 percent since 2004, the last time the agency conducted the survey. Other highlights of the new survey: The 3,600 academic libraries in the United States collectively hold 1 billion books and other paper materials; there were 221 libraries holding at least 1 million books and other paper materials; total expenditures were $6.2 billion -- about half of that sum on salaries.
  • The University of Iowa now expects the cost of repairing flood damage on campus to top $231 million, the Associated Press reported. The estimate, which could go higher, includes $136 million in damage to buildings and facilities, and $56 million in damage to building contents.
  • Harvard University on Tuesday pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016, as recommended by a panel appointed to study specific steps the university could take to improve its environmental performance.
  • Washington State University does not have the right to have security officers conduct random dormitory patrols in hallways because students have a reasonable privacy expectation where they live, a Washington State appeals court has ruled, the AP reported.
  • Saint Louis University has agreed to pay the federal government $1 million to settle a suit alleging that the university illegally overcharged the federal government for work done by faculty members on various grants. The allegations were first brought by Andrew Balas, former dean of the university's School of Public Health. U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias issued a statement in which he said: "This settlement should be a reminder to those who receive federal funding of any kind that they must abide by the rules and regulations that govern receipt of that funding."
  • The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges has announced a series of actions involving numerous two-year institutions in California. At its latest meeting, last month, the accrediting group placed Los Angeles Southwest College on probation and continued probation for Lassen College, while it removed from probation and restored the accreditation of the College of Marin and Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health, and removed College of the Redwoods from probation and placed it on warning. The commission also placed seven other colleges on warning -- Cerritos, Copper Mountain, Mission, Ohlone, Orange Coast, Palo Verde and San Joaquin Delta Colleges -- and continued Mira Costa College on warning. And it removed from warning status five other institutions: Cuesta, Hartnell, Porterville, San Joaquin Valley, and Western Career Colleges.
  • The charges and counter-charges are continuing to fly at New Mexico State University. In the latest round, two married professors being forced out of their jobs are filing retaliation charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the outgoing president, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported. They accuse the outgoing president of spreading false plagiarism charges about them while a board member says that the president only "suggested ... the possibility" of plagiarism.
  • West Virginia University, recovering from a scandal over false statements that a politically connected executive had earned a degree, has an interim leader. C. Peter Magrath, president emeritus of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, will become interim president August 1. With extensive experience leading universities, Magrath is winning strong reviews on campus from faculty members who blamed the scandal in part on a president who did not have a traditional background in academe.
  • The Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, has a new CEO: Charles B. Edelstein, who has worked in finance for more than 20 years and who is currently managing director of Credit Suisse and founded that company's advisory practice on the education industry. The Apollo announcement follows last month's move by several senior Phoenix officials to another for-profit, Grand Canyon University.
  • Laureate Education Inc., which operates colleges worldwide, on Tuesday announced an expansion in Mexico and Costa Rica. The company purchased Universidad Tecnológica de México, which has eight campuses in Mexico and has 36,000 students, and Universidad Latina and Universidad Americana, the largest private university in Costa Rica, with more than 16,000 students.
  • British authorities are reporting concern about people using international academic conferences to obtain visas, The Guardian reported. Because many universities sponsoring international conferences provide attendees from other countries with letters vouching for their legitimate reason to enter the country, some people with no intention of attending a conference are seeking such letters, the newspaper said.
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