Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 20, 2015

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans want to reduce state oversight of offerings at the state's public and private colleges, Capital reports.

The state's strong Education Department has authority over what degree programs public and -- most notably -- private colleges offer. As part of negotiations over the state budget, Cuomo proposed (and the Republican-led State Senate embraced) eliminating the department's review process, giving accredited institutions more control over their own offerings.

Supporters of the change say less oversight would allow colleges to adapt to quickly changing market conditions. Opponents, including Democrats in the state Assembly, argue that reducing regulations could reduce quality.

March 20, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Jay Pasachoff, director of Hopkins Observatory, chair of astronomy and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, discusses a cosmic phenomenon. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


March 19, 2015

Syracuse University's head basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, will retire in three seasons, its athletics director has resigned and the university will appeal some of the sanctions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association earlier this month. The three announcements were all included in an e-mail sent by Kent Syverud, Syracuse's chancellor, to students and faculty members on Wednesday. Syverud said the university remains "disturbed by the severity of certain penalties" imposed by the N.C.A.A. over allegations that the university and its basketball coach did not properly monitor the program, leading to academic fraud, improper payment to athletes by a booster and failure to follow its own drug testing policies.

The university will appeal the vacating of certain wins for the men's basketball team (the N.C.A.A. would like to vacate more than 100 of them) and the reduction in men's basketball scholarships. "The decision to appeal is not taken lightly," Syverud stated. "However, based on the facts and a review of previous N.C.A.A. infractions decisions, the university believes the impact of these specific penalties is excessive and disproportionate. The university also will support Coach Boeheim should he choose to appeal penalties that affect him personally."

Boeheim has not announced yet whether he will appeal any penalties, but Syverud said Wednesday that Boeheim will retire in three seasons, bringing an end to his 40-year career as head coach. "His goal in making this decision and announcement now is to bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years and enable and plan for a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership," Syverud said.

Daryl Gross, who has been the university's athletics director for a decade and helped lead Syracuse's transition from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, resigned from his position on Wednesday. He will remain with the university as Syverud's vice president and assistant and as an adjunct professor of sport and human dynamics. "Our vision was to graduate student-athletes and provide them with the tools with which they can make a positive impact on society, and I feel that goal was accomplished," Gross said in a statement.

March 19, 2015

University of California System President Janet Napolitano was caught on video at a Board of Regents meeting calling a student protest "crap," The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The university records and posts video of board meetings. On Wednesday, students interrupted a board meeting with protests of a tuition increase and a new campus. Students stood on chairs, took off their shirts and threw fake money, while shouting. As police escorted the students from the room, Napolitano turned to the board chair and, in a comment she probably thought was not being recorded, said, “Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.” The regents left the room and returned after the protesters had been removed.

March 19, 2015

University of Georgia Greek leaders have announced that they will no longer approve costume themes for parties that involve antebellum hoop skirts, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The move followed discussions between administrators and Greek system leaders about the recent video of a University of Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant. Fraternities at the university have in recent years moved away from events in which some members dressed as Confederate soldiers.

March 19, 2015

The University of North Georgia has stopped using a controversial cover to its continuing education catalog, amid criticism of the message sent by the illustration, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The cover (visible at the link) shows two white men, dressed in professional attire, winning a race, defeating a woman and a black man struggling to keep up.

A statement from the university said: "After looking into the issue, we determined that this is an isolated case of poor judgment, and was not intentional. However, the image was not representative of U.N.G.’s commitment to diversity, and this will serve as an opportunity for increased dialogue about diversity issues and we expect that to better inform our processes and publications. The image has been removed from the department’s Web site and social media pages, and the catalog will be reprinted before further distribution. Additionally, we have taken steps to provide for broader review of publications like this to ensure they fully meet institutional expectations and reflect our community and our values."

March 19, 2015

President Obama gave an interview to ESPN as part of the unveiling of his picks for the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament. In the interview he called for the N.C.A.A. to change the rules of the game by shortening the shot clock to 30 seconds from the current 35, as well as to move back the three-point line, which would allow perimeter players to drive inside more easily. The president said his preferred changes would make the college game more like that of the National Basketball Association (N.B.A.).

"The fact of the matter is I like how basketball is going in the N.B.A. because it's fluid," he said. "What [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich did with San Antonio I think is being replicated now with Atlanta and Golden State, and you're seeing a lot of teams move in that direction. I'd like to see college basketball get back to that. It's a fast game -- let's get it down to 30 seconds at minimum."

Obama's bracket had the undefeated University of Kentucky team going all the way and beating Villanova University in the final. He picked the University of Arizona and Duke University to join those two teams in the Final Four.

March 19, 2015

WASHINGTON -- A group of demonstrators interrupted a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing Wednesday, decrying proposed reductions in higher education spending in the budget blueprints released this week by Congressional Republicans.

United States Capitol Police escorted the demonstrators from the hearing room as they chanted, “No cuts, no fees, education should be free.” Seven individuals were arrested, according to public information officer Shennell Antrobus, who said they would each be charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding," a misdemeanor under District of Columbia law. 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a budget outline that would sharply reduce the rate of federal spending, but the plan offers very few details on how lawmakers would go about doing that. Like the House budget resolution introduced Tuesday, the Senate plan would also freeze the maximum Pell Grant over the next decade, The New York Times reported.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, blasted the Republican proposal at Wednesday’s hearing, saying it would “cut $90 billion in Pell Grants” over the next 10 years.

The demonstration at the hearing was organized by the United States Students Association. “If Congressional Republicans are going to balance the budget on the backs of students, we think it necessitates action now,” said the group’s president, Maxwell John Love. He said that the association planned to bring 300 students to Capitol Hill later this week to lobby for student aid funding. 

March 19, 2015

Keiser University announced Wednesday that it will buy Northwood University's campus in West Palm Beach, Fla. Keiser is a nonprofit university with 18 campuses across Florida. It converted from a for-profit to a nonprofit in 2011, and now enrolls roughly 20,000 students. Northwood is a Michigan-based nonprofit institution. All of Northwood's almost 600 students at the West Palm Beach campus will have the opportunity to become Keiser students later this year, the university said.

March 19, 2015

The University of Toronto has reached a tentative deal with its union of teaching assistants to end a strike that started Feb. 27, The Globe and Mail reported. Details of the agreement have not been released. The two sides have been at odds over compensation issues.



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