Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 6, 2012

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team will have to sit out the 2012-13 postseason, after it failed in its final effort to appeal a National Collegiate Athletic Association decision that banned the team from the tournament because of poor academic performance. The team is ineligible because it didn’t reach the (newly raised) minimum NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 930, which would indicate that half its players were on track to graduate. That measurement is a cumulative one, meaning the APR that got Connecticut banned from the 2013 tournament actually reflects the academic performance of players on the team from 2007-11. Connecticut appealed to an NCAA committee after its initial request for a waiver was denied in February.

The university issued a statement Thursday pointing to the improved academic performance of its past two men’s basketball teams. “It is disturbing that our current players must pay a penalty for the academic performance of students no longer enrolled,” Connecticut President Susan Herbst said in the statement. “As I have said repeatedly, no educator or parent purposefully punishes young people for the failings of others.”

This is the first year the NCAA has issued postseason bans for poor APR scores. The new rule is part of a series of Division I reform efforts that NCAA President Mark Emmert pushed through in October.

April 6, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut explains the biochemistry of highly targeted chemotherapy drugs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 6, 2012

Student Veterans of America on Thursday announced that it had revoked chapter memberships at 40 for-profit colleges for violating the group's policies and "using the SVA brand to legitimize their programs." The group did not name the 40 institutions. (The Associated Press reported that the association has 417 campus chapters.)

Chapters must be run by students, according to the association's rules, but a review turned up for-profits that had administrators, rather than students, listed as primary contacts at campus chapters. Michael Dakduk, the group's executive director, said in addition to that violation, some colleges lost their membership because they used primary institutional websites or pages devoted to recruiting military students as chapter websites, another no-no under association policies. "Chapter websites are organization websites devoted the group and not meant to be a promotion of the university," he said in an e-mail.

April 6, 2012

The Florida Atlantic University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine angered many at the institution by placing fake eviction notices (complete with a county seal, but also a notice that they were not real) on several hundred dormitory rooms. Several student groups said that it was unfair to use people's room doors as a political platform without the permission of those who live there. The student group did not respond to questions, but has told local reporters that the eviction notices were designed to draw attention to the way Israel treats Palestinians. Pro-Israel groups meanwhile said that the student group was distorting Israeli policy.

Charles L. Brown, senior vice president for student affairs at the university, issued a statement that said that "the distribution of printed material on university property is subject to FAU policy and regulation. These policies require that printed material be distributed only at reasonable times and places and in reasonable manners. These policies are designed to ensure that the manner in which material is distributed is consistent with the educational mission of the University, its uninterrupted orderly operation, the safety of the university community, and the protection of university property and that of its students, faculty and staff. The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed."

April 5, 2012

Jack Scott, chancellor of California's community college system, on Wednesday called the president of Santa Monica College to ask him to put on hold a controversial plan to start charging more for some high-demand academic programs, The Los Angeles Times reported. Scott also told the Santa Monica president, Chui L. Tsang, of concerns over the clash campus police had with students during a protest Tuesday, a clash in which pepper spray was used. Scott said he told Tsang that the believed the plan violated state education codes and also could deny access to some low-income students. He also said he was worried about the plan setting a precedent others might follow. Santa Monica officials said that they would consider the chancellor's request. "The president will discuss it with the board to get a sense of where they stand," said a Santa Monica spokesman. "He listened to what the chancellor had to say but was noncommittal. No decision has been made at this point."

April 5, 2012

A new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that students in states with greater levels of income inequality are more likely to engage in academic dishonesty. The study examined the rates at which people in different states conduct Google searches for topics such as "buy term paper," and found more such searches in states with more income inequality. Lukas Neville, a doctoral student at Queen's University, in Canada, said that the study was based on the idea that trusting environment promote honest behavior and that income inequality may be associated with environments that lack trust.

April 5, 2012

New York University, which named the former president of Swarthmore College to lead NYU Abu Dhabi, has named another former campus leader to head NYU Shanghai. This morning NYU named Jeffrey S. Lehman, chancellor and founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law, to lead the Shanghai campus, which will be a full, degree-awarding institution enrolling its first undergraduate class in 2013. The law school Lehman has led in China is the first in that country to teach an American style J.D. curriculum. Formerly, Lehman was president of Cornell University and dean of the law school at the University of Michigan.

April 5, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara of Tufts University reveals how the institution of slavery came to an end in Latin America. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 5, 2012

Howard University is conducting an internal investigation into possible National Collegiate Athletic Association rules violations, and the institution has “temporarily withheld a number of student-athletes from competition,” a Howard spokeswoman, Kerry-Ann Hamilton, said Wednesday. But "most teams will compete as scheduled," she added. That statement was sent to Inside Higher Ed after it inquired about a Washington City Paper blog post quoting Hamilton as saying “intercollegiate athletic competition” -- in other words, all 17 of Howard’s teams -- had been suspended.

Because programs can be punished for letting players compete when they had indications that the athletes may have been involved in a violation that would render them ineligible, it’s standard procedure for colleges to suspend anyone who may have been involved in the violation and then ask the NCAA to reinstate them later. But it would be rare for a university to suspend all of its teams, and a sign that officials are unsure just how widespread the potential violations were. The City Paper reported Wednesday that, according to a member of the bowling team, the university allowed athletes to spend unused textbook voucher money on whatever else they wanted, which would constitute a rules violation. That student also said Howard will not allow any athletes to register for classes until they repay any money improperly spent. Hamilton could not comment on those assertions, nor could she provide further details.

April 5, 2012

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, on Tuesday signed legislation to bar medical marijuana from college and university campuses, The East Valley Tribune reported. The state's voters in 2010 approved the legalization of medical marijuana, and Brewer has vowed to limit that measure as much as possible. Critics of the new law say that the state can't modify the 2010 vote, and suggest that they will challenge the law in court.

 

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