Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 3:00am

James H. Shelton, former U.S. deputy secretary of education, will join the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to lead the philanthropic limited liability company's ed-tech efforts. Shelton, who served in a similar role for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, joins the initiative after a one-year stint as chief impact officer with the online program management company 2U. Zuckerberg unveiled the initiative last year, saying he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, will invest 99 percent of their Facebook shares (worth about $45 billion at the time) toward improving education, curing disease and protecting the environment, among other goals.

Chan, Zuckerberg and Shelton appeared during a live event streamed on Facebook, during which they discussed plans for the education initiative. Zuckerberg said the initiative will focus on personalized education (which he described as using technology to give every student an experience equivalent to working one-on-one with a tutor) and underserved communities. They did not make any mention of higher education.

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 3:00am

College fraternities are known for hanging offensive and sexist banners in front of their houses. The practice has drawn controversy before, even resulting in Sigma Nu suspending its chapter at Old Dominion University last year. Fraternities at Northwestern University are now under fire for hanging a different kind of sign: banners that raise awareness about campus sexual assault. "This is everyone's problem," one banner read. "Theta Chi stand against sexual assault," read another.

The banners, which were fixed to the outside of fraternity houses during April, were meant to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But some students on campus found the signs to be in poor taste, arguing that fraternities should do more than hang banners when combating campus sexual assault. “To display a banner [saying] that ‘We support survivors’ is really something you have to earn by actually walking the walk,” one student told the Daily Northwestern.

On Monday, Northwestern's Interfraternity Council announced that it would discourage chapters from hanging the banners in the future, and that it would create a four-year sexual assault education program for fraternities. “We recognize now how this campaign may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected,” the IFC's executive board said in the statement. “This was not our intent, but it is our fault for not being cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 3:00am

Bowling Green State University will pay $712,000 to a former football player who says he suffered permanent brain injuries because the team's coaches and medical staff did not immediately pull him from practice after suffering multiple concussions. In a statement, the university said it admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement and only agreed to pay the player, who had filed a lawsuit against the university, to avoid a trial.

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Martin Krieger, professor of planning at the University of Southern California, discusses the pros and cons of urban living amid so many people.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.

The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 4:16am

The Minnesota State College and Universities system announced Tuesday that athletic teams in the system would not be permitted to travel to North Carolina, The Star Tribune reported. The move is part of a system decision to boycott North Carolina due to a law there that prevents public colleges and universities and other state agencies from allowing transgender people to use bathrooms other than those designated for their legal gender at birth. The system's teams include squads that are contenders for two National Collegiate Athletic Association baseball championship tournaments (one in Division II and one in Division III) scheduled to take place in North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of Tulsa's board may today vote to rename John Rogers Hall, which houses the law school and honors a man who was a key benefactor and supporter of the university, The Tulsa World reported. The action would be a response to research on the involvement of Rogers with the Ku Klux Klan and a related organization in the 1920s.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

Boston University is investigating posters that appeared on campus this week, one of them saying “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” another saying “Atomwaffen Division Massachusetts,” and another featuring an image of a Paul Revere-like figure shouting, “The Nazis Are Coming!” The university's president, Robert A. Brown, released a letter to the campus, calling the posters “a reminder that the human capacity for hate is deeply rooted and never as far from our daily lives as we would like or hope. We also know that the human capacity for healing and renewal in a spirit of generosity and understanding is deeply rooted.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 3:00am

A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy identifies the key metrics that would help federal and state data systems provide information on colleges' performance, efficiency and equity.

The report, developed in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, details that the information provided today leaves out answers to college access, progression, completion, cost and outcomes. Using the three metrics identified in the report and integrating them into federal and state systems will make the information available to all students from all types of institutions.

"This report draws on the knowledge and experience of higher education leaders and experts to lay out in detail the metrics we should be collecting and explains why those data will make a difference, for all students, but particularly for those who traditionally have been underserved by higher education," said Michelle Cooper, IHEP's president, in a news release. "The field needs a core set of comprehensive and comparable metrics and should incorporate those metrics into federal and state data systems."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 4:06am

Many worry that rising levels of student debt limit home ownership. But a new study from the Brookings Institution says that data cited as proof of those fears don't actually demonstrate their accuracy. What the statistics show, the Brookings analysis says, is that the dividing line between those who own homes and those who don't is actually between those with a college education and those who lack one. The study was done by Susan Dynarski, a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan.

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