Citing recent protests, the California State University System called off a board committee meeting scheduled for next week, saying that it could not be sure of the safety of the gathering. The committee was expected to discuss issues of presidential compensation -- and one of the complaints of protesting students (and some faculty members and politicians as well) is that the system is spending too much on pay for its executives.
Higher Education Quick Takes
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.
Florida's higher education governing board said Tuesday that it would begin an investigation into whether officials at Florida A&M University ignored warnings that hazing was rampant within the marching band at Florida A&M University, days after a member of the band died, an apparent hazing victim. In a letter to the chair of Florida A&M's board, Ava Parker, the chair of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, said its review would seek to determine "whether university administration took appropriate action to address the hazing activities referenced by [Julian White, the band's former director], and any hazing activities in the student population at large."
"The events surrounding the tragic death of Robert Champion and allegations by Dr. White that he received little support despite repeatedly advising current and former university administrators of hazing activities within the Marching 100 band, is of grave concern to the Board of Governors."
Leaders of the American Association of University Professors on Tuesday released a statement warning of the "dangers of a sports empire" in higher education, citing recent sex-abuse scandals as evidence. "Recent accounts of the systemic cover-up of allegations of sexual assaults on young boys at Penn State indicate that the unchecked growth of a sports empire held unaccountable to the rest of the university community coincided with the steady erosion of faculty governance," says the statement. "Genuine shared governance, which involves meaningful participation by the faculty in all aspects of an institution, could have resulted in these alleged crimes being reported to city and state police years ago, and might have spared some of the victims the trauma they endured, and indeed continue to endure, because of the memories that remain, and the legal and judicial processes they still face."
The statement added that "the AAUP’s Council, in the earnest hope of preventing abuses of power, suffering of victims, and betrayals of trust, reaffirms the necessity of ensuring meaningful faculty participation in all aspects of institutional governance and, in particular, of athletics programs."
Big-time college football may have yet another issue of concern. USA Today reported that the latest trend is for colleges to fire head coaches after only two years -- meaning that those hired to lead football teams have a shorter timeframe to produce a winner. Officials said that this trend raises questions about fairness to the coaches (since turning around a program doesn't happen overnight) and about finances. The dismissed coaches are taking away large payouts for having their contracts cut short. "It's a trend that's very disturbing," said Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. "I took over a program [at Baylor University] that wasn't very good, and if they had let me go after two years, we would not have had the success we had."
Leslie Ungerleider and Mortimer Mishkin, two researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health, are today being named winners of the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. The two scientists were the first to show that the brain uses separate visual processing systems to recognize objects and fix their location.
The District of Columbia's human rights agency has ruled that Catholic University has the right to single-sex dormitories, the Associated Press reported. A law professor at George Washington University filed a complaint about the new policy. But the agency found that men and women were treated equally under the rule. Further, the agency said that barring the single-sex facilities would set a principle that would require the banning of single-sex bathrooms and athletic teams.