Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 22, 2014

University of Delaware officials confirmed that Eric Tranby, an assistant professor of sociology, is on leave and is expected to resign following allegations of sexual harassment, The News Journal reported. About 300 people rallied Friday at Delaware, criticizing the university for not being more open about why Transby has been placed on leave. The rally followed an article in The Review, the student newspaper, that said that Tranby was investigated over a student's allegation that he had offered her an A in return for sexual favors. Domenico Grasso, the provost at Delaware, sent an email to the campus in which he said the article in the student newspaper included "errors of fact," but he did not specify them. He said that he couldn't discuss specifics of the case, but that "this matter was handled promptly and appropriately, with sensitivity and clear communication with the student and her advocate, and in accordance with all University policies and the requirements of federal law." Both Grasso's email and a response from the Review may be found here.

In an email to Inside Higher Ed, Tranby said: "Last spring, there was a claim of quid pro quo sexual harassment made against me. I strongly deny any allegations that I asked for sexual favors in exchange for a grade, nor did I threaten the complainant in any way. The university takes all claims very seriously, as they should, and they promptly and appropriately investigated the claim. There were no findings of quid pro quo harassment, I was not disciplined, and I remain on faculty. I was upset by the allegations and ensuing rumors, and chose to take a leave of absence while I sought new employment."

 

September 22, 2014

First-time enrollment at U.S. graduate schools increased by 1 percent between fall 2012 and 2013, driven by 11.5 percent growth in new international students and despite a 0.9 percent decrease in U.S. citizens and permanent residents, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. About one in five new students at U.S. graduate schools is on a temporary visa.

Total enrollment at U.S. graduate schools (not just first-time) fell by 0.2 percent between fall 2012 and 2013. The CGS report includes extensive data broken down by field, degree level, and student demographics.

September 22, 2014

Minority students at Syracuse University are protesting cuts that they say will hurt the enrollment of minority students, Syracuse.com reported. Among the cuts they are protesting are a decision to reduce from three to one the cities through which Syracuse will recruit students through the Posse Foundation, which places groups of students from disadvantaged areas in colleges that will support them and provide financial aid. Syracuse officials acknowledged that they were scaling back involvement with Posse, but said that the university was committed to "attracting the best and diverse students we can from across the nation."

The protests follow a presidential transition at Syracuse in which a president who focused heavily on diversity (and who said she didn't care about rankings) was succeeded by one who has indicated more interest in rankings.

 

September 22, 2014

"This Week," Inside Higher Ed's weekly news podcast, this week featured a discussion between the New America Foundation's Stephen Burd, Editor Doug Lederman and the moderator Casey Green about the foundation's new report assessing how successfully (or not) colleges are using their Pell Grant funds to enroll low-income students. And in our other segment, Kyle Shachmut of the National Federation of the Blind's Massachusetts chapter argued for legislation designed to ensure that colleges make digital educational materials accessible to students with disabilities.

Stream or download the program here.

Or click here to receive a reminder when each week's "This Week @ Inside Higher Ed" podcast is available.

September 22, 2014

Florida State University, which has been widely criticized for its handling of sexual assault allegations against Jameis Winston, has upped its punishment of Winston for standing on a table and shouting a vulgar and sexist phrase, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. The university originally announced that Winston would sit out the first half of a football game against Clemson University, a punishment that many viewed as a slap on the wrist. Late Friday night, the university announced Winston would sit out the full game. Those offended by explicit language may wish to stop reading here. Winston reportedly stood on a table and shouted: "Fuck her right in the pussy." The saying is associated with an Internet meme based on a fake viral video -- a prank of sorts where passersby say the phrase during live news broadcasts.

September 22, 2014

The University of Michigan had planned to have a drone deliver the game ball to a football game Saturday, but the Federal Aviation Administration banned the operation, The Detroit News reported. The FAA noted that federal regulations restrict access to airspace over football stadiums seating 30,000 or more fans. The university complied, and called off its plans.

 

September 22, 2014

Eastern Connecticut State University has announced that it no longer requires SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate admissions.

September 22, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Jennie Brand, associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles, takes a look at the effects of job loss on single mothers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 19, 2014

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that a long-time adjunct can pursue her case of age discrimination against Clark College, which passed her over for full-time positions in favor of younger candidates, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that there was evidence both to back the adjunct's claims and those of the college, and that a jury should hear the case. Lower courts had backed the college and rejected the case.

 

September 19, 2014

College of DuPage's full-time faculty union has voted "no confidence" in college President Robert L. Breuder, 189 to 53. Glenn Hansen, president of the National Education Association-affiliated union and a DuPage photography instructor, said Breuder has contributed to an atmosphere of "distrust" on campus. He cited a recent controversy in which the president was revealed, via a leaked email, to have planned to ask the state of Illinois for $20 million in pre-appropriated funding for a building that already had been built using college money. Breuder planned to say the money would go toward another new, $50 million teaching and learning center, even though the estimated cost of construction was only $30 million. Breuder said he was being creative about how to obtain once-promised funds, and the college says that if it ever receives that $20 million, it will be used to "scale" the center plan. (Note: This sentence has been updated from an earlier version, to clarify that the college would use the funds for the center.) But critics said the president was being greedy at the expense of taxpayers.

Joseph Moore, college spokesman, in an email attributed faculty tensions to union contract negotiations going back to 2011, and said that the recent vote was limited to full-time faculty only (the college says it has more than four times as many adjuncts as full-time faculty members, 1303 compared to 305, respectively). He continued: "Overall, the campus climate, as measured in 2014 by a nationally normed employee satisfaction survey administered by an outside agency, is excellent, with scores for 'healthy campus climate' now tying our all-time recorded high.”    

 

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