Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 16, 2017

The Rutgers University Business School has apologized after a number of students were turned away from its annual career fair last week due to a newly instituted dress code for the event.

The policy (at right) -- established by the Rutgers Office of Career Management, which hosts the career fair -- requires that students attending the event wear either dark gray or black professional attire.

On the webpage for the job fair, it says professional business attire is mandatory and that “students who do not adhere to our guidelines will be turned away at the door. No exceptions!”

University personnel strictly enforced the policy at the event, which was held Friday, Feb. 10, in New Brunswick, N.J. Students wearing brown, navy and lighter shades of gray were barred from entering the event, according to The Daily Targum, Rutgers’s student newspaper.

For some students, even those dressed in navy suits or wearing brown dress shoes, this meant missing out on an opportunity for networking, internships and jobs.

Lei Lei, dean of the Rutgers Business School in Newark and New Brunswick, said in a statement that the deans of the business school met Tuesday to discuss what happened. Afterward, they reached out to the students who were affected by the dress code policy and offered to connect them with recruiters from the career fair.

In the statement, Lei also said the university is reviewing the dress code with plans to revise it so something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We regret that the actions at last week’s career fair adversely affected some of our students and cast a shadow over the success we have achieved in helping our students secure meaningful internships and jobs,” she wrote in the statement. “Our career management process is not perfect, and we look forward to working with our recruiters and students to further improve our practices, including the dress code guidelines.”

February 16, 2017

VitalSource, which provides digital content delivery products and services, on Wednesday said it intends to acquire Verba, a San Francisco-based start-up. Verba, which was founded in 2008 by a group of Harvard University students, works with campus bookstores on textbook acquisition and delivery. Ingram Content Group, which owns VitalSource, said in a press release that it will add Verba's products to its own offerings.

February 16, 2017

Protests disrupted a speech at Harvard University Wednesday night by Martin Shkreli, a former pharmaceuticals executive currently awaiting trial for charges of securities fraud and widely criticized for pushing for higher drug prices, The Boston Globe reported. An unknown person pulled a fire alarm just before the talk was to have started, forcing the building to be evacuated. When the talk took place, Shkreli was interrupted several times by protesting students, while outside others chanted, "People, not profits." One student interrupted the talk to call Shkreli a racist, to which he responded, "How am I racist? I am friends with Lil Wayne."

February 16, 2017

Dayton Cramer (right), deputy general counsel at Florida State University, was arrested Tuesday and charged with soliciting a minor for sex, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. A Florida State spokesman said Cramer then resigned just before he would have been fired. Cramer's lawyer said he denies the allegations against him. Authorities said Cramer responded to a Craigslist ad that was part of a sting and he was arrested after showing up to meet someone he believed would be a 13-year-old girl.

John Thrasher, president of Florida State, released a statement saying that "these allegations against our former deputy general counsel are shocking and appalling …. The university immediately placed him on administrative leave. Later in the day, when we received the criminal complaint, we initiated steps toward terminating his employment. However, he resigned before being terminated. We are cooperating fully with law enforcement."

February 16, 2017

Faculty members, students and parents have launched over 130,000 fund-raising campaigns, collected donations from over 850,000 people and raised more than $60 million on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe since 2014. The company, which said crowdfunding for college-related expenses is on the raise, released a guidebook Wednesday for others considering creating a fund-raiser on their own. The guidebook contains advice such as "share your accomplishments," "post frequent updates" and "show your appreciation."

February 16, 2017

The University of Southern California announced Wednesday that it is about to meet the target of its $6 billion fund-raising campaign, 18 months ahead of schedule. The university is extending its campaign far beyond that and now says it will continue it until the end of 2021. While USC has not set a new target, it has been raising more than $900 million a year in the campaign.

USC could give Harvard University some competition for the largest fund-raising campaign. In September, Harvard announced that it had raised more than $7 billion in its record-setting fund-raising campaign. But that campaign will continue until its scheduled end in June 2018.

February 16, 2017

Ellucian is ending support for Brainstorm, its competency-based education platform, less than two years after it acquired the platform (then known as Helix Education). Speaking to the e-Literate blog, representatives for the company said the decision was made based on "insufficient market demand for full CBE programs." A spokesperson for Ellucian did not respond to a request for comment.

February 16, 2017

University of Hawaii President David Lassner announced Wednesday that he plans to suspend the search for a chancellor of the Manoa campus, The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported. The search was down to three finalists. Lassner said he reached out to one of the finalists (whom he did not name) to discuss the job and that person withdrew, and he decided not to proceed. Lassner will serve as interim chancellor while continuing as system president.

The finalists were: Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Lauren Robel, executive vice president and provost at Indiana University at Bloomington; and John Valery White, acting chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

February 16, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute, Zvi Loewy, professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences at the Touro College of Pharmacy, takes a look at whether cannabis may be a somewhat unlikely source for relief for Parkinson's. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 15, 2017

A 23-year-old immigrant detained by federal immigration authorities despite holding a permit under former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is suing the government over his arrest, The New York Times reported.

Daniel Ramirez Medina has been detained since Friday, when immigration agents came to his house in Seattle to arrest his father and took him into custody as well. Medina, who came to the U.S. from Mexico at around age 7, has no criminal record that would jeopardize his status under the DACA program, under which more than 750,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children have obtained temporary protection from deportation and two-year renewable work permits.

The Times article does not mention whether Medina is a current or former college student. But his detention -- which lawyers and advocates who talked to the Times say is the first they know of involving a DACA permit holder in good standing -- will likely be of concern to many in higher education. Many college leaders have expressed concern for the well-being of their current and former students who are DACA recipients and called for the continuation of the program under President Trump. During the campaign, Trump said he would end the DACA program, but he has since softened his tone somewhat, suggesting he would “work something out” for beneficiaries of DACA while offering no specifics. The Obama-era program remains in place.


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