Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 12:28am

The Republican Party's platform, which was released on the first day of the GOP convention in Cleveland, included criticism of the Obama administration's handling of sexual discrimination on college campuses as well as calls to decouple accreditation from federal financial aid and to bring the private sector back into the financing of student loans. The document also criticized the dominance of liberalism on college campuses and argued for the encouragement of new systems of learning to compete with traditional, four-year colleges.

The platform decried ideological bias in public higher education, saying state officials should "preserve our public colleges, universities and trade schools as places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance or 'safe zones,' as if college students need protection from the free exchange of ideas." It also condemned infringements on free speech and campus-based boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel.

On Title IX, which is the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded programs, the Republican document said the White House's alleged "distortion" and micromanagement of the way colleges deal with allegations of abuse "contravenes our country's legal traditions and must be halted before it further muddles this complex issue and prevents the proper authorities from investigating and prosecuting sexual assault effectively with due process."

Citing rising college pricing, the GOP said public policy should advance affordability, innovation and transparency in technical institutions, online universities, lifelong learning and work-based learning in the private sector, while recognizing that a "four-year degree from a brick-and-mortar institution is not the only path toward a prosperous and fulfilling career."

Likewise, the platform said accreditation should be decoupled from federal financing to encourage new modes of higher education delivery to enter the market, while states should be "empowered to allow a wide array of accrediting and credentialing bodies to operate."

The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans, according to the document, reversing a change the Obama administration made. The restoration of private sector participation would help bring down college costs while giving students access to a multitude of financing options, according to the platform.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 3:00am

Arizona State University has overhauled its foundation and the specialty groups that had been housed within it, creating a new governance structure likened to a corporate holding company.

The university on Monday announced the creation this month of Enterprise Partners, an umbrella group made up of five nonprofit organizations: the ASU Foundation, defense researcher and consultant ASU Research Enterprise, intellectual property manager Arizona Technology Enterprises, real estate group University Realty, and nonprofit incubator Research Collaboratory. The ASU Foundation had previously been the parent of the other four groups.

Arizona State likened the change to Google's reorganization under the holding company Alphabet. At the university, however, the change gives each organization its own leader and board of directors. It could generate new sources of revenue, Arizona State said. But the groups share support systems and services under the umbrella organization.

"This model allows us to add new entities for diverse revenue as those opportunities come along," ASU Foundation CEO R. F. Shangraw said in the university's announcement of the new group.

Arizona State is billing the group as the first of its kind to follow its organizational model.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 4:17am

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that one of their citizens, who matches the description of a student at MacEwan University, in Canada, is among those killed in the terrorist attack in Nice, CBC News reported. The authorities declined, however, to confirm that the victim is Mykhaylo Bazelevskyy, who has been studying at MacEwan and has been missing since the attack. Bazelevskyy was in France, with four other students and a faculty member at the university, for a program at the European Innovation Academy. On Sunday, the University of California, Berkeley, confirmed that one of its students was killed in the attack in Nice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 4:26am

The College of the Ozarks has banned Pokémon Go from parts of its campus, OzarksFirst.com reported. The college campus has memorials to veterans and to those who died on Sept. 11 and does not want those playing the game to distract from the experience of visiting those memorials, officials said. Students may still play in their residence halls and some other parts of the campus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Dylan Gee, assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, examines why these disorders peak in adolescence. A transcript of this podcast can be found here.

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:00am

The University of California, Berkeley, on Sunday reported that one of its students, Nicolas Leslie (at right), 20, has been identified among the 84 people killed in the terrorist attack in Nice on Thursday.

Berkeley earlier reported that three of its students were injured during Thursday's terrorist attack in Nice, and that Leslie was missing. He was a junior in the College of Natural Resources. Leslie was one of 85 students attending a Berkeley study abroad program on entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe connected with the European Innovation Academy.

The three injured students are also participants in the program. The university said Friday that two of the students have broken legs. The third student has a broken foot.

Eighty-four people were killed, and 202 wounded, in Nice after a terrorist drove a truck through a crowd during a Bastille Day fireworks display.

Berkeley's study abroad program has been temporarily suspended for a three-day national mourning period in France, but will continue through its scheduled end date of July 24. Seven students have accepted the university's offer to return to the U.S. early.

Earlier this month another UC Berkeley student, Tarishi Jain, was killed in a terrorist attack at a café in Bangladesh. Jain was doing an internship with Berkeley’s Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies.

In a statement Sunday, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said, “This is tragic, devastating news. All of us in the UC Berkeley family -- both here on campus, and around the world -- are heartbroken to learn that another promising young student has been lost to senseless violence. I join Nick’s parents, friends and the entire campus community in condemning this horrific attack, and in mourning the loss of one of our own.”

Other Students Missing or Injured

MacEwan University, in Alberta, Canada, also announced that one of its students is missing in Nice.

The missing student, Mykhaylo (Misha) Bazelevskyy, is a supply chain management major with Ukrainian citizenship and Canadian permanent residency. He is part of a group of five MacEwan students and a faculty member participating in a three-week program in entrepreneurship, also at the European Innovation Academy.

The Singapore University of Technology and Design also announced that one of its students was injured in the Nice attack.

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 4:20am

Phil DiStefano, chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the Board of Regents last week that some black athletes called the campus athletic center "The Plantation" as they viewed it as the place their unpaid labor benefited others, The Daily Camera reported. DiStefano said a staff member told him about this name for the athletic center, and the reason it was used. The staff member "said that even though the black football players and men's basketball players are getting a free education and a free ride, everything they do pays for the young white female playing tennis or on the golf team or track and field," DiStefano said. "He said they talk about being part of 'The Plantation,' that their sweat and tears are really for other people, not for them."

Added DiStefano: "Whether we agree, disagree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, it's how they feel. To me, in all my years, it's the first time I'd heard that. And it just sticks with me, and I'm thinking, 'We gotta change something.'"

 

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:00am

Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, is facing a lawsuit from two shareholders who are seeking to postpone or terminate the company's sale, according to a corporate filing posted Thursday.

Earlier this week, Apollo learned that the shareholders had filed a complaint against the company in the Superior Court of Arizona prior to a required 90-day waiting period. That complaint, in addition to requesting terminating the Apollo merger, accuses the company of corporate waste and abuse of control.

In May, Apollo shareholders approved a $1.14 billion deal for the company to be purchased by a consortium of investors.

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:00am

A new report out of the Wisconsin Hope Lab finds that a large proportion of students eligible for Pell Grants are underfiling in states with explicit deadlines.

Because higher education funding at the state level is limited, most states use some form of a deadline as a way to ration need-based grant aid within budgetary limits. These states require students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the spring or summer prior to the funded year. One state, New York, aligns its deadline with the federal deadline of June 30 following the funded year.

"On average, state deadlines fall more than 400 days before the federal deadline and often do not align with institutional aid deadlines, creating communication challenges and increased complexity," says the report, which was co-authored by Sara Goldrick-Rab and Russell Cannon.

Overall, 45.6 percent of Pell-eligible students in states with explicit deadlines filed the FAFSA after deadline.

Monday, July 18, 2016 - 3:00am

Temple University President Neil D. Theobald does not seem to be going away quietly.

Theobald on Friday was the subject of a strongly supportive press release listing his accomplishments and saying that his focus “is on students and faculty.” The release, issued by a consulting and crisis communications firm, came days after Temple's Board of Trustees recorded a vote of no confidence in Theobald and announced its plans to fire him.

The board scheduled a vote on Theobald's removal for Thursday. The vote was scheduled only weeks after the president abruptly removed Hai-Lung Dai as provost, surprising many at Temple. Dai's removal came as a $22 million financial aid overrun was revealed.

Friday's news release on Theobald does not reference his possible removal. Instead, it references “the significant highlights of his first four years in office.” Highlights listed include improving Temple's research classification, increasing its funded research, boosting fund-raising, raising the university's ranking and bringing in large, academically strong and diverse student classes.

The release also includes supportive quotes from faculty and alumni.

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