Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.

The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 4:16am

The Minnesota State College and Universities system announced Tuesday that athletic teams in the system would not be permitted to travel to North Carolina, The Star Tribune reported. The move is part of a system decision to boycott North Carolina due to a law there that prevents public colleges and universities and other state agencies from allowing transgender people to use bathrooms other than those designated for their legal gender at birth. The system's teams include squads that are contenders for two National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball championship tournaments (one in Division II and one in Division III) scheduled to take place in North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of Tulsa's board may today vote to rename John Rogers Hall, which houses the law school and honors a man who was a key benefactor and supporter of the university, The Tulsa World reported. The action would be a response to research on the involvement of Rogers with the Ku Klux Klan and a related organization in the 1920s.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

Boston University is investigating posters that appeared on campus this week, one of them saying “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” another saying “Atomwaffen Division Massachusetts,” and another featuring an image of a Paul Revere-like figure shouting, “The Nazis Are Coming!” The university's president, Robert A. Brown, released a letter to the campus, calling the posters “a reminder that the human capacity for hate is deeply rooted and never as far from our daily lives as we would like or hope. We also know that the human capacity for healing and renewal in a spirit of generosity and understanding is deeply rooted.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy identifies the key metrics that would help federal and state data systems provide information on colleges' performance, efficiency and equity.

The report, developed in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, details that the information provided today leaves out answers to college access, progression, completion, cost and outcomes. Using the three metrics identified in the report and integrating them into federal and state systems will make the information available to all students from all types of institutions.

"This report draws on the knowledge and experience of higher education leaders and experts to lay out in detail the metrics we should be collecting and explains why those data will make a difference, for all students, but particularly for those who traditionally have been underserved by higher education," said Michelle Cooper, IHEP's president, in a news release. "The field needs a core set of comprehensive and comparable metrics and should incorporate those metrics into federal and state data systems."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 4:06am

Many worry that rising levels of student debt limit home ownership. But a new study from the Brookings Institution says that data cited as proof of those fears don't actually demonstrate their accuracy. What the statistics show, the Brookings analysis says, is that the dividing line between those who own homes and those who don't is actually between those with a college education and those who lack one. The study was done by Susan Dynarski, a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Robin Queen, professor of linguistics at the University of Michigan, delves into whether personality type may determine if you care about whether someone typed the right “there” or “their.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 3:13am

The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Monday voted no confidence in Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, and in the system's Board of Regents. The vote follows the board's rejections of proposals made by faculty groups that they said would protect academic freedom in new system policies on tenure and the elimination of faculty jobs.

Among the statements in the resolution of no confidence: "[A] primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical-thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial" and "The erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university."

Cross released a statement in which he said that he wants to work closely with faculty members, but that he also has to "work in partnership" with state leaders. "This state and its people are counting on us, working together, to help improve and expand quality of life and economic prosperity. I will continue working with faculty at UW-Madison and other institutions and partners throughout the state to advance the UW System for the good of all of Wisconsin," he said. The system also released a statement from the board chair affirming support for Cross.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:20am

A new Tennessee law will allow full-time faculty and staff members at public colleges and universities in the state to carry guns as long as the employees have handgun-carry permits, The Tennessean reported. Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, announced that he let the legislation become law without his signature because he wanted to give colleges the right to decide the issue for themselves.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 4:31am

San Diego State University announced Monday that it will review its policies on free speech amid a debate over posters that named leaders of campus efforts to promote a boycott of Israel, The Los Angeles Times reported. Many Muslim students said the posters effectively characterized them as terrorists, and said the university should have condemned the posters. Some students last week blocked a car carrying Elliot Hirshman, the president, to express their frustrations.

After a university meeting with student leaders, San Diego State issued this statement: "The parties have agreed that … they will undertake a review of university policies to ensure we are balancing freedom of expression and protection from harassment. We concluded by agreeing that in cases where racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and all forms of bigotry result, we abhor the content of such expressions, even as we recognize the protected status of these expressions. Finally, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting an environment that fosters meaningful dialogue and mutual respect."

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