Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 3:00am

Corinthian Colleges on Tuesday formally asked the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider its nearly $30 million fine of the defunct for-profit college chain, which officials accused of misrepresenting job placement rates.

The company argued that the Education Department unfairly rushed to "publicly impose severe punishment" without following proper procedures and that officials did not individually justify each of the 946 alleged instances of faulty job placement rates, according to part of the appeal viewed by Inside Higher Ed.

Corinthian said it was appealing the department's findings “on both substantive and procedural grounds.” The company also takes aim at department’s decision to impose the maximum possible penalty for each finding.

“Rather than examine each circumstance separately, as the law requires, the department indiscriminately lumps together broad categories of allegedly erroneous disclosures and seeks the imposition of the maximum allowable fine in each instance to reach its headline-grabbing sum of nearly $30 million in penalties,” the company writes in the appeal.

The Education Department last month sent Corinthian a 14-page letter of findings, accusing the company of “serious violations” of federal law and job placement disclosure rules at its California-based subsidiary, Heald College. For example, according to the letter, the college claimed that an accounting program graduate who worked behind the counter at Taco Bell had been successfully placed in her field.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday. Department officials have said they will continue to pursue the fine against the company.

In addition to submitting a written appeal on Tuesday, Corinthian also requested an administrative hearing


Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 4:21am

The National Association for College Admission Counseling has released its annual list of colleges that are still accepting applications for admission this fall -- and there are more than 220 colleges on the list. While this total is lower than in some previous years, NACAC cautions that the list is simply a service it offers to members, only some of which participate in any given year, so the ups and downs on the list should not be viewed as trend indicators. The list may be found here.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 4:12am

The Rutgers University mascot, the Scarlet Knight, is someone in a costume depicting a white, blue-eyed man. But now the Rutgers Student Assembly has passed a resolution calling for diversity in the costume, so that it might sometimes portray the figure as races other than white, or as female, NJ.com reported. Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann told NJ Advance Media that she was happy to discuss the issue with student leaders. Advocates say that the mascot should reflect the diversity of the Rutgers student body.

The idea has generated considerable criticism from people who say that the students are being too literal about mascots. One comment on the issue in The Daily Targum, the student newspaper, says in part: “If student body representation is such an issue, perhaps someone should point out that nobody in the student body wears armor, either. With few exceptions, mascots -- even those designed as humans -- are not meant to represent anyone or anything. They're simply characters designed for entertainment, fan engagement and marketing. You don't see Chicago Bulls fans complaining because the mascot is a furry red bull and not a human, do you?”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 3:00am

In China, many people are proud of waking early, but university students, like their counterparts all over, struggle to get up in the morning. As a result, many campuses are seeing the formation of "wake-up call" clubs, The Wall Street Journal reported. In the clubs, students create phone trees and make sure the other club members get up on time.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Lisa Dinella, a psychologist at Monmouth University, discusses her research on the nature of gendered toys. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:00am

The American Studies Association announced Monday that its board is demanding that the Washington Redskins change its name. "The ASA, as a leading site of scholarship on indigeneity, on racism, on settler colonialism and on sport, and as an organization based in Washington, D.C., deplores the continuation the harmful nickname and images associated with the team," said a statement from the group. The move follows similar actions from other scholarly associations, including the American Anthropological Association and the Organization of American Historians. The press office of the team did not respond to a request for comment. hoping for update, but can't say I have a relationship with the Redskins VP

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 4:31am

The Oregon Justice Department has ordered Penn Foster College to refund a former student's tuition and to change its claim about accreditation, The Oregonian reported. The former student complained to the department when Portland Community College declined to accept credit he had earned at Penn Foster and told him that the credit was from a national accreditor and that Portland Community College only accepted regionally accredited transfer credits. The former student said that this was inconsistent with what Penn Foster told him, and the agency agreed. Penn Foster denies wrongdoing but did agree to the settlement.

On the college's website today, the statement about accreditation states explicitly that credit may not transfer in all cases. “Penn Foster College is nationally accredited, and our college graduates have been able to gain employment and transfer credits to other colleges and universities upon completion of our degree programs,” the statement says. “However, these decisions are up to the discretion of the colleges, universities or individual employers, and students should check with those entities to determine if they will be able to transfer credits or use their degree in a satisfactory capacity. No form of accreditation guarantees that any learning institution will accept credits from any school as transfer credits.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:00am

Ben Carson, among the new Republican presidential candidates, has received widespread praise for his work as a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University. But his views on social issues have made him controversial on college campuses.

In 2013, he withdrew from a planned speech at the convocation for the Hopkins medical school amid comments he had made about gay marriage. In an appearance on Fox News, he said at the time, "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition." Many students protested that it was inappropriate to have as a speaker someone who had compared those who favor gay marriage to those who favor bestiality or NAMBLA (which advocates for relationships between men and boys). Carson withdrew, saying, "This is their graduation, their big day, and if they think me being there is going to be a problem, I am happy to withdraw."

In 2012, many faculty members objected to his selection to speak at the Emory University commencement, questioning why a university committed to science would invite someone who does not accept evolution. Many professors also said that Carson had implied those who favor evolution were unethical -- a charge he denied. Carson delivered the speech and, in it, he criticized political correctness.

"I think the other thing that threatens the prosperity and the vitality of our nation is political correctness," he said. "Many people came to this nation, and they were trying to escape from societies that try to tell them what they could say and what they could think. And here we come, reintroducing it through the back door."

Carson has stood by his creationist views. In an account of his remarks declaring his candidacy Monday, The Detroit Free Press said that Carson recounted a debate he had with an atheist. "At the end of that debate, I told him, 'You've convinced me, I came from God and you came from a monkey,'" Carson said. "We're all entitled to our faith."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 4:17am

Scott L. Scarborough, president of the University of Akron, issued a statement Monday that the institution will not be changing its name. Scarborough has been encouraging a process by which the university considers how to refine its mission and identity, and part of that process has included discussion of becoming identified as a polytechnic institute. That has led to reports that the university would name itself the Ohio Polytechnic Institute -- an idea that students and alumni have been campaigning against. Scarborough's statement said: “We are not proposing a name change. But we are seriously discussing how to reposition the University of Akron for greater distinction.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 3:00am

More than half of students of color who responded to a survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said they have experienced stereotyping, according to a new report from the university's Racial Microaggressions Project.

The report is based on an online survey of 4,800 students of color during the 2011 academic year. About a quarter of respondents said they felt their contributions in the classroom "have been minimized because of race" or that they were "made to feel inferior because of the way they spoke." About 40 percent said they felt uncomfortable on campus because of their race, with "fraternity- and sorority-certified housing" being cited as the most uncomfortable locations on campus.

The report also includes several anecdotes from students of color who have experienced racial microaggressions, which are described as “daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights and insults that send hostile, derogatory or negative messages to people of color." The respondents described how other students seemed hesitant to sit near them in class, how affirmative action was frequently mentioned by nonminority students as the reason racial minorities were able to attend the university, and how they were often called on specifically to provide a racial minority perspective during discussions.

A similar report was published in January by Harvard University’s Voices of Diversity project.


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