A dozen times in recent months, police in Oxford, Miss. have received reports of a thief breaking into apartments of University of Mississippi female students and stealing their underwear, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. While the panty raids of the 50s were frequently orchestrated with the participation of all involved, these thefts are being taken seriously. Authorities are encouraging Ole Miss women to mix up their routines and not follow the same routes, since all of the break-ins have been when the women were not home, suggesting that the thief may be watching the women or be aware of their activities.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Harvard University's endowment, the world's largest, is going up again, having earned an 11 percent return in the fiscal year ending on June 30. That brings its value to $27.4 billion, and the university's announcement hailed a "strong positive return." Others were less impressed. The Wall Street Journal said that the endowment deserved a "middling grade," noting that the endowment did not match similar large funds. Harvard still has a ways to go to restore its endowment value before the fall 2008 economic crisis hit: $36.9 billion.
The administrator nominated to be interim president of the State University of New York at Buffalo has begged off from the job, at least temporarily, in the wake of criticism from faculty leaders and others about his qualifications, The Buffalo News reported. The council that oversees the Buffalo campus appeared to get ahead of itself last week when it said it had chosen Scott D. Nostaja to replace John Simpson, who said he would retire in January. (SUNY's chancellor and trustees, not UB officials, have the authority to choose an interim president.) In addition to concerns about the process, faculty leaders questioned whether Nostaja -- a vice president, and a former Hollywood executive and management consultant -- had the credentials to be president, even on an interim basis. Acknowledging those concerns, Nostaja said in an e-mail to the campus that "I recognize that some members of the university would like to have given their views as this recommendation was being considered." He said he had asked Buffalo's trustees not to put his name forward to SUNY's regents right now.
Fifty groups have pledged to work on increasing Latino college completion rates, and to track annually their efforts at doing so. The pledges were coordinated by Excelencia in Education, and the organizations may be found here.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday temporarily allowed federal funding to continue for research on embryonic stem cells, blocking a lower court's ruling last month that declared such studies to be illegal, the Los Angeles Times reported. The appeals court's ruling is only the latest step in what is likely to be a long legal battle, but it cheered many biomedical researchers, who strongly opposed the lower court's ruling.
Indiana officials are reconsidering the way state financial aid programs are structured in ways that appear to favor traditionally aged students, The Indianapolis Star reported. Students who are 25 and older now make up a majority of those enrolled in the state, but the lion's share of aid goes to those who enroll full time, straight from high school.
The University of California Board of Regents is expected next week to change its media rules to no longer require that those seeking to videotape meetings identify themselves and be accredited members of the press, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. After the university enforced those rules in July, the newspaper reported that they apparently violated the state's open meetings law.
More college football and basketball athletes are being arrested this year for serious crimes than are professional football and basketball players, Sports Illustrated reported. Through the end of August, 70 college football players have been arrested, compared to 31 National Football League athletes, and 15 college basketball players have been arrested, compared to 9 from the National Basketball Association. The analysis only covered felonies or serious misdemeanors and excluded 40 arrests involving minor offenses.
The federal government's policies for reimbursing research universities for the indirect costs of the studies they conduct are inconsistent and outdated, and a broad review is warranted, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released Wednesday. The GAO report found great variation in how the Defense Department and other federal agencies that sponsor academic research set the rates at which they reimburse institutions, and says that the nearly 20-year-old cap on the amount that institutions can be reimbursed for the administration portion of their indirect costs limits reimbursements for many institutions.
Health care premiums rose by about 7 percent for the typical college employee this year, up several percentage points over the previous year, according to an annual survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The association's survey found that employees with family coverage saw the sharpest increases, with their rates rising by 7 percent (compared to 5.7 percent in 2009); premiums for employees with individual coverage grew by 6.7 percent, up from 3.7 percent in 2009. Among other findings: the percentage of respondents offering health care benefits for same sex and opposite sex partners increased this year, the fourth consecutive year of increases; and a majority of responding institutions are still providing health care benefits for retirees.