The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a law banning the creation or sale of videos that showed dog fights of depicted various forms of animal cruelty, finding the law an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment. While the focus of the law was far from academe, the College Art Association and other academic groups opposed the law on the grounds that it went beyond barring acts of animal cruelty to banning depictions -- and that could interfere with free expression.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday amended its ruling from February that revived a Title IX lawsuit against the University of California at Davis -- and the revised opinion maintains the key finding reviving the suit, saying that Davis had failed to submit sufficient evidence for a lower court to dismiss the suit. The suit -- under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 -- was brought by women whose participation on the wrestling team was ended, and focuses on the tests to determine whether a university is expanding athletic opportunities for women.
Laureate Education, the company that owns Walden University and more than 50 other for-profit colleges and universities worldwide, announced today that it has acquired a majority stake in National Hispanic University, a nonprofit institution with a campus in San Jose, Calif.
"We're a mission-driven university for Hispanics, like the historically black colleges are for African-Americans," said David P. López, NHU's president. "We're not going to have the leadership that this state and country need" without serving Hispanic students. But despite lofty goals, the university -- which offers certificates, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees in education, business and information technology to a largely first-generation student population -- has struggled to expand.
"The fulfillment of their mission was being prohibited by lack of capitalization," said Paula Singer, president and CEO of Laureate Higher Education Group. Laureate will provide the capital and infrastructure to help NHU expand its mission, first in San Jose, but eventually with other brick-and-mortar campuses nationwide, and possibly online course offerings.
A provision in the new health care law would make young adults eligible to be covered by their parents’ insurance plans through age 26 -- but the measure won't take effect until late September. Because the new law won't be in force when a new crop of graduates leave college -- and fall off their campus health plans -- in May, the Obama administration is asking insurers to voluntarily bridge the potential gap in students' coverage. In a letter to insurance companies Monday, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, urges them to let such young adults remain on their parents' health care policies rather than force them off the plans only to let them re-enroll in September when the new law takes effect. Several leading insurance companies have already agreed to that approach, Sebelius said. "This action would enable young, overwhelmingly healthy people, who will not engender large health care costs, to stay in the insurance pool and retain important insurance coverage," she said.
An anonymous reviewer on Amazon's Web site known for her harsh attacks on some historians exempted the historian Orlando Figes, and it's now clear why. The Associated Press reported that the reviewer in question was Figes's wife, Stephanie Palmer. A lawyer for Figes has denied that he knew anything about the identity of the (until now) unknown author.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a high-profile case involving the University of California's Hastings College of Law and a Christian student group, and the dispute appeared to leave the justices deeply divided, according to numerous news reports. USA Today, for instance, reported that the justices seemed divided on ideological grounds, with liberal judges appearing to side with the law school's desire to prevent discrimination by refusing to recognize a student group that keeps out gay students and non-Christians, and conservative judges backing the religious group. But the newspaper said several justices at times argued that the case had not been sufficiently developed in the lower courts.
Shimer College's board on Monday ended the brief and controversial tenure of President Thomas Lindsay. The trustees fired Lindsay, the Chicago Tribune reported, after months of conflict in which faculty members and some alumni accused him and a cadre of donors of a "hostile takeover" in which they sought to impose a libertarian ideology on the tiny Great Books institution in Chicago.
Citing budget cuts facing the entire university, the University of California at Davis announced Friday that it is eliminating four of its intercollegiate athletic teams: women's rowing, men's wrestling, men's swimming and diving, and men's indoor track and field. The teams' members are 73 women and 80 men. The cuts will save about $5 million over the next five years, and are also part of a plan to eliminate a deficit in the athletics department. The athletes involved and some team alumni are already criticizing the decision.
Trump University, the Donald Trump creation that offers courses for those who want to emulate the real estate guru, has been ordered by New York State officials to stop calling itself a university, The New York Daily News reported. "Use of the word 'university' by your corporation is misleading and violates New York Education Law and the Rules of the Board of Regents," wrote the deputy commissioner for higher education, Joseph Frey. Trump says the name of the school will change to Trump Education.