Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:00am

Williams College, which last month announced an end to its "no loans" policy for undergraduates in need of financial aid, on Tuesday moved to end the policy of being need-blind in admitting international students. Admitting international students without regard to need is unusual, even among the small group of private colleges like Williams that have that practice for undergraduates from the United States. In the last decade, having moved to the policy for international students as well, Williams saw its international financial aid costs increase by more than 200 percent, according to a letter sent to the campus (a copy of which appears at EphBlog). As a result, the college will establish a set limit on financial aid for international students. Williams officials believe that they will still admit more international students in need of financial aid than the college did before it shifted to being need blind for those students.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 3:00am

An associate professor at Bowling Green State University has been suspended for making verbal threats to colleagues, the Associated Press reported. The suspension took place before Friday's murders at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. The professor who was suspended has been charged by police with aggravated menacing and inducing panic.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 3:00am

A student organization will file a suit today in federal court, challenging California's ban on affirmative action by public colleges and universities, and other state agencies, the Los Angeles Times reported. The suit will charge that the ban violates equal protection rights of the black and Latino students who might otherwise be admitted to the university system. Challenges to the right of states to ban affirmative action have been rejected by courts in the past, allowing the bans to stand in the states where voters have approved them. The group filing the suit is the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 3:00am

To settle a lawsuit filed by the student newspaper, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee has agreed to release documents and recordings from a student governance panel and to pay the publication's legal costs. The UWM Post, which filed the suit, reported on the settlement Monday. The university had sought to shield from public view records related to meetings of the Union Policy Board, which allocates student fees. Milwaukee administrators had argued that because the board was made up largely of students, it had a right to redact information related to the student members under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Per its name, that law is designed to protect students' educational records.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Some faculty members are objecting to a plan at Purdue University to reduce contributions to retirement accounts, The Journal and Courier reported. University officials say that the savings will allow for other important spending -- on faculty salaries, for example. But some professors say that they haven't had enough input and that alternatives should be considered.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Baylor University on Monday named Kenneth Starr as its next president. Starr is best known for the investigation that led to the impeachment of President Clinton. But for the past six years, Starr has been an academic administrator, as dean of the law school at Pepperdine University. The Waco Tribune reported that Starr, who was raised in the Church of Christ (his father was a minister), has said that he will join a Baptist church once he moves to Baylor. An online forum in the Tribune featured widely varied reactions to the selection. The Lariat, Baylor's student newspaper, endorsed the pick. "This Vernon, Texas-native is an unusual selection because of what he is most widely known for -- his work in the Bill Clinton impeachment case and because he comes from a Church of Christ background, but unconventional does not equate amiss. These hesitations have not tarnished his impeccable reputation; rather, everyone who spoke to the Lariat had immensely positive things to say about him," the editorial said.

Monday, February 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was the eighth most well compensated corporate director in 2008, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. She earned a total of $1,346,648 for her board work, while also earning $1.6 million from RPI.

Monday, February 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Lindenwood University, in Missouri, has agreed to recognize a gay-straight student alliance, but only on the condition that the group expand its reach to include "other students in need of understanding and support," The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Student organizers said that they viewed the compromise as a step forward that would allow them to form the group. Administrators had previously called the idea of a gay-straight alliance "parochial and self-serving." Lindenwood describes itself as "an independent institution firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian values. Those values include belief in an ordered, purposeful universe, the dignity of work, the worth and integrity of the individual, the obligations and privileges of citizenship and the primacy of truth."

Monday, February 15, 2010 - 3:00am

A committee in the Utah House of Representatives on Friday approved a measure that would give voters in the state the chance to ban affirmative action by all state agencies, including public colleges and universities, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The vote was party-line with Republicans -- who control both houses of the Legislature -- backing the idea of amending the state's Constitution.

Monday, February 15, 2010 - 3:00am

A New York Times investigation into the Congressional Black Caucus raises questions about its fund raising strategies and whether they help students, as claimed. Strict limits apply to corporate donations to the caucus, but the Times reported that the organization raises many millions in corporate dollars through its nonprofit affiliates that publicly exist to support scholarships and internships for students. But according to records obtained by the newspaper, very little money goes to scholarships. In 2008, the newspaper said, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spent nearly $700,000 on catering for one event, more than it gave out in scholarships.

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