Higher Education Quick Takes
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations, on Thursday released a letter strongly endorsing the proposed "gainful employment" regulations that are being opposed by for-profit colleges. The letter is designed in part to counter the lobbying campaign of the for-profit colleges, which has portrayed these institutions as helping low-income, minority students advance economically. "For-profit colleges have launched an all-out campaign using the American Dream as bait to trap vulnerable students into underperforming schools and saddle them with a lifetime of debt,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of the Leadership Conference, in a statement. “We support the Education Department’s efforts to hold these schools accountable by issuing this rule and vigorously enforcing it.”
The Washington State Supreme Court upheld the right of Western Washington University to hold closed disciplinary hearings for a professor who maintained that his rights were violated by the lack of open hearings, the Associated Press reported. The ruling said that state law permits public universities to create their own rules for peer-review based hearings.
Lawyers whose arguments against the consideration of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin were recently rejected have filed a new appeal, The Austin American-Statesman reported. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last month upheld the consideration of race and ethnicity in the admissions process. Specifically, the court rejected the lawsuit's claim that Texas has been able to achieve some level of diversity through its race-neutral "10 percent" admissions plan and so need not use other forms of affirmative action. The plaintiffs have now asked the full U.S. appeals court to consider the case.
Lisa Anderson, the new president of American University in Cairo, was scheduled to be inaugurated this coming Monday -- and the university has postponed the event indefinitely due to the current political crisis in Egypt. Anderson remains on the job in Cairo, and although classes and all other university events were called off this week, she has been posting updates on the university's website to keep students and faculty members informed.
David Powers is suing St. John's University after its law school kicked him out over a 10-year-old conviction for selling LSD, The New York Daily News reported. Powers was ranked third in his class, but the university maintains he was not honest about his criminal past -- having admitted to a conviction for drug possession, but not for selling LSD. A lawyer for Powers appealed to the university's Roman Catholic heritage, saying: "This is a Vincentian university.... They're supposed to be about forgiveness."
Harold Raveché, who resigned last year as president of Stevens Institute of Technology, has agreed to pay off more than $721,000 in low-interest loans from the institute that were part of a dispute over compensation and governance that led to a lawsuit against Stevens by New Jersey's attorney general, The Star-Ledger reported. The suit, since settled, questioned the oversight by the Stevens board of the then-president. While he lived in a university-owned home, the loans were given to allow him to buy two vacation homes.
The 26 osteopathic medical schools in the United States have received more applications for admission during this academic year -- with three months left for applications -- than during all of last year. As a result, this will be the fifth straight year in which applications have set records, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. At this point, the colleges are receiving about 20 applications for every available spot.
More Americans who identify themselves as struggling economically are worried about the affordability of higher education than about any other financial stress, according to a report, "Struggling in America," released Thursday by Public Agenda. The findings, based on interviews conducted with 1,004 adults Nov. 18-21, 2010, revealed that 77 percent of parents who were struggling economically said they were worried about paying for their children's education, making it their most common personal financial worry. In contrast, 61 percent of the same group of respondents said they personally worried that they would not be able to afford to retire, while 45 percent feared being able to pay their mortgage or other debt. Coming in last was the fear of losing one's job (32 percent).