Higher Education Quick Takes
A Tennessee appeals court has ruled that Fisk University may sell a share in its modern art collection without being required to set aside much of the money gained to maintain the collection, The Tennessean reported. The financially struggling university has argued that it needs to sell some or all of the art to support other functions of the institution. But the Tennessee attorney general has challenged the sale as inconsistent with the public interest and the bequest that created the collection. It is unclear if the attorney general will appeal.
A forthcoming study in the Journal of Sex Research documents that while college-age men think about sex a lot, they actually think about other things, too. The study -- led by Terri Fisher, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University at Mansfield -- found that the median number of times a day college-age male thinks about sex is 19. (The students were given counters to record the number of times they thought about certain things.) Sex only narrowly beat out food (the subject of thought 18 times a day). Further behind was sleep, at 11 times a day. Female college students think about all of those things too, but their daily medians were lower: 10 for sex, 15 for food and 8.5 for sleep.
The board of Edison State College on Tuesday placed Kenneth Walker on leave as president, and appears to be headed toward dismissing him, The Naples Daily News reported. Walker has been president for 20 years and has already taken a pay cut (he had been earning more than $800,000) and offered to retire early, but those moves have not halted demands for his ouster. The college has in recent months faced a scandal over course-swapping, complaints over an unaccredited nursing programs, and a loss of support from students and faculty members.
The Institute of International Education has created an emergency fund for Thai students at American colleges who may be unable to obtain financial support from home due to the massive flooding that is devastating the country. With support from the Freeman Foundation, the IIE will provide grants of up to $5,000 to students in need of assistance to continue their studies.
The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance has finished its study of 15 potentially burdensome regulations, and in a final report issued Tuesday urged the Education Department to immediately review the regulations to see if suggested changes from the committee's survey are applicable. Such reviews should become routine in the future and take place at least every two years, the committee wrote.
The committee surveyed more than 2,000 higher education officials across all sectors, and convened two panels of college and university stakeholders and experts to review regulations considered potentially burdensome. The response was overwhelming: almost all of the regulations should be changed. The respondents' suggestions on how to change them are detailed in the report, but are not binding until the Education Department conducts its own review.
While student groups protested loudly outside, the board of the City University of New York voted Monday for a series of $300 tuition increases that will raise charges at CUNY's four-year institutions to $6,330 by 2015-16, The New York Times reported. The students protesting said that the increases would hurt low-income and minority students. But CUNY officials said that cuts in state support required the tuition increases to maintain the quality of the university system, and said that financial aid would continue to make it possible for students of all income levels to enroll.
Séverine Autesserre, a Barnard College political scientist, was today named winner of the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. She was honored for her new book, The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge University Press). In the book, she argues that international peacekeeping works better when close attention is paid to local conflicts.
Monday was a day of protest at University of California campuses, with students objecting to the way the university system is managed and to recent incidents at the Berkeley and Davis campuses in which many say the right of peaceful protest was denied by campus police officers:
- The University of California Board of Regents was attempting a teleconference, with regents meeting on several campuses, but the regents were forced to move to other rooms when students at several locations started chanting protest slogans, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. After the regents left the rooms (and finished their official business elsewhere), students took over the room and declared that they would act as "people's regents."
- Several hundred students held a "general strike" at the university's Davis campus, but many other students appeared to be going to class as usual, The Sacramento Bee reported.
- At the University of California at Santa Cruz, several hundred students occupied the student services building, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
- The Occupy California movement has posted accounts of many other protests.
- At the University of California at Merced, a young campus without much history of protests, Chancellor Dorothy Leland issued a statement to praise the students for taking a stand, and doing so peacefully. "Thanks to the mutually respectful and collaborative atmosphere — which is a hallmark of our campus — academic, research and administrative activities of the university were carried out as they would be on any other day. I appreciate everyone's commitment to our campus' Principles of Community, as well as the time and effort students and others took to convey their dissatisfaction with rising cost of tuition and detrimental cuts to the university’s budget," she said.