Higher Education Quick Takes
Many colleges admit some of their freshmen for the spring semester rather than the fall semester. An article in The Washington Post looks at the way this system works at the University of Maryland at College Park, which admits -- for a state flagship university -- an unusually large share of its first-year class this way. Between 1994 and now, spring freshmen have gone from making up 8 percent of the first-year class to 21 percent.
Evanston, Ill., home of Northwestern University, regularly sees town-gown skirmishes over new construction. Now an off-campus, non-university project that might serve those visiting Northwestern has some local residents concerned. Evanston Now reported that the Southeast Evanston Association has sent an email alert to members urging them to scrutinize plans for an extended stay hotel to be sure that it affiliated with "a hotel brand that will maintain a high quality of business, and not devolve into cheap housing for transient academics."
Inside Higher Ed emailed the association to seek more information on the dangers of transient academics, but has not heard back.
Weekend shootings of students in off-campus apartments stunned two Michigan universities. Two Michigan State University students were shot Friday night, and one of them died Saturday morning, The Lansing State Journal reported. The shootings took place at the students' off-campus apartment, in a complex that primarily serves students. Authorities are looking for the man they believe is the shooter.
Ferris State University announced that local police have arrested a man in the shooting of a student who was shot in an off-campus apartment early Saturday. The student was treated and released from a local hospital.
Black student and faculty groups at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities have asked the institution to stop using racial descriptions in crime alerts, CBS Minnesota reported. "[We] unanimously agree that campus safety should be of the [police department's] utmost importance; however, efforts to reduce crime should never be at the expense of our black men, or any specific group of people likely to be targeted. In addition to causing black men to feel unsafe and distrusted, racial profiling is proven to inflict negative psychological effects on its victims," said a joint letter from the groups. The letter responded to the the incorrect identification of a student as a suspect in an attempted robbery at the university.
Pamela Wheelock, vice president of university services. responded at a forum this week by saying that while racial profiling is inappropriate, full descriptions of crime suspects -- including race -- are appropriate. “I firmly believe that a well-informed community is an asset to public safety," she said. "I believe that sharing more information in our crime alerts, not less, is most beneficial in terms of public safety, especially when that information is available."
A federal judge has rejected a massive lawsuit against Yeshiva University by victims of sexual abuse at a high school run by the institution, The New York Times reported. The judge did not rule on the claims of the students, who said that university officials ignored complaints of abuse. Rather the judge said that the abuse took place decades ago -- from the 1960s through 1980s -- and that the statute of limitations has passed. The plaintiffs, who have vowed to appeal, argue that the statute of limitations shouldn't have applied because the university covered up the abuse. A statement from the university said that it was “gratified that the federal court recognized the validity of our arguments.” The statement added that "our thoughts and remorse remain with those affected and harmed.”
The federal government this week announced the launch of a new online complaint system for college students who are veterans or active-duty members of the U.S. military. The Education Department and Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, are participating in the interagency effort to protect students and Post-9/11 GI Bill investments. The complaint system will be a way for students report negative experiences with colleges and universities. Veterans groups called the announcement a "game changer," according to Stars and Stripes.
Swarthmore College plans to expand trainings and consent workshops, finalize its interim sexual assault and harassment policies, and establish more comprehensive and integrative prevention and education programs in accordance with the final report from an independent firm commissioned to review the college’s response to sexual harassment. Swarthmore President Rebecca Chopp shared an interim version of the report in July, less than a week after the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights announced it would investigate a federal complaint against Swarthmore. While Chopp’s request for the review preceded OCR’s announcement, her proactive approach will likely work in Swarthmore’s favor because OCR tends to view action taken before and during an investigation as an indicator that a college is committed to complying with the law. Swarthmore has already hired new staff to work on sexual assault issues and expanded educational programming for incoming students. During the spring and summer, it will continue to refine and improve adjudication processes, data collection and nonalcoholic social options, and will publish an annual report summarizing judicial cases.
The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education on Thursday released model legislation on how states can best provide college scholarships to recruit highly talented students to become teachers in high-need public schools.