Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 12, 2011

The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University each suspended multiple men's basketball players Sunday in the wake of a wild brawl Saturday that left some participants -- and their sport -- with a black eye. The annual game between the two Cincinnati-based rivals (known as the Crosstown Shootout) ended prematurely because of the fight, in which players threw and landed brutal punches. Players and coaches also drew criticism for post-game comments in which some of them appeared to justify their actions. "We're grown men over here," a Xavier player, Tu Holloway, said in a post-game interview with reporters. "We got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court."

 

December 12, 2011

The successful lobbying campaign by for-profit higher education to scale back the Obama administration's "gainful employment" regulations is no secret, but an article Saturday in The New York Times provided an in-depth look at the effort:

  • For-profit colleges and associations spent more than $16 million on lobbying, with much of the money going to Democrats with ties to the White House.
  • The biggest spender in the lobbying effort was The Washington Post Company, owner of Kaplan University ($1.71 million), followed by the Coalition for Educational Success ($1.65 million), Career Education Corporation ($1.60 million), the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities ($1.45 million), and the Apollo Group ($1.43 million).
December 12, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has denied tax-exempt status to an unnamed foundation that provides scholarships to students who seek to enroll in college credit study programs. The foundation's board of directors own a separate online education company that provides test-preparation materials. As a result, the IRS determined that the scholarship fund operates in the interests of the for-profit company.

December 12, 2011

Joseph Diaz, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Emory University, has posted an account of his arrest last week in the university's library. According to his account, he tried to help a homeless woman he knows who frequents the library when he saw police talking to her, and the police then roughly demanded his identification and -- unhappy he didn't provide it instantly -- arrested him. A friend who was with him made a video now on YouTube, prompting many to question the actions of Emory police:

 

Emory released the following statement on the incident: "Emory police officers responded to a call from library staff regarding a woman who was sitting down in the entrance vestibule of the Woodruff Library and appeared to need assistance. As the officers attempted to assess the woman’s condition, they were repeatedly interrupted by a man who said he was a student and demanded to know what they were doing. He refused repeatedly to leave the vestibule and refused to produce an ID, as Emory students are required to do upon request by university officers. The woman in distress was transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. She was not arrested. The student, identified as Joseph Diaz, was arrested for obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. Emory is still actively gathering information about this incident."

December 12, 2011

The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland on Friday voted to endorse an "alliance" between the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, but rejected the idea of merging the institutions. The idea of enhanced collaboration is generally popular with both campuses. Some supporters of College Park, the state flagship, felt it could be more of a player among research universities with the addition of the Baltimore campus, which is strong in the health professions. But many in Baltimore feared that such a move would shift too much attention to College Park, in the Washington suburbs.

December 12, 2011

Rutgers University officials have said for years that big investments they were making in athletics -- such as a $102 million football stadium expansion -- were necessary for the sports program to have success on the field and to bring in money. But an analysis by The Star-Ledger found that deficits are growing, despite completion of the stadium project and football success. For instance, the newspaper found that the percentage of people paying for football tickets has dropped in the last two years from 76 percent to 59 percent. And even with the university passing out more free tickets, thousands of seats at games are empty. Last year's operating loss of more than $26 million put Rutgers in the top 10 for athletics deficits among major programs, the newspaper said.

 

December 12, 2011

Biola University, like many institutions, holds a holiday party at which the president thanks all who work at the institution for their efforts. This year President Barry H. Corey took a nontraditional approach, inspired by the theme song of "The Brady Bunch":

 

 

December 12, 2011

Ross T. Ashley has been identified as the man who shot and killed a police officer at Virginia Tech last week, and who then killed himself. Radford University, which is close to Virginia Tech, confirmed that Ashley had been a part-time student there as a business management major. Ashley is suspected in the theft of a Mercedes SUV, but authorities are still trying to figure out why he came to Virginia Tech and murdered a police officer there.

December 12, 2011

An article in The Contra Costa Times explores the challenges California State University System campuses face due to high percentages of new students requiring remedial education. Starting next summer, those students will be required to take courses the summer before they enroll (either in person or online) with the goal of reducing the percentage who must focus much of their freshman year on remediation. Many faculty members, the newspaper reported, are skeptical that the summer program will be sufficient. "A 15-hour intervention is just not enough intervention when it comes to skills that should have been developed over 12 years," said Sally Murphy, a communications professor who directs general education at Cal State East Bay.

December 9, 2011

Virginia Tech, where the tragedy of shooting deaths is known too well, again experienced that trauma on Thursday afternoon. Students and others were encouraged to stay wherever they were -- with activities called off -- after a police officer was shot at a routine traffic stop. Reports followed of another dead body and of a search for the killer. By the end of the afternoon, news reports said that the second body was the shooter, and the university said that normal activities could resume. Final exams that had been scheduled for today have been postponed for a day.

Late Thursday, Virginia Tech identified the police officer who was killed: Deriek W. Crouse, 39, who with his wife was raising five children and step-children. He was an Army veteran who had worked for the university since 2007.

 

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