Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 3:00am

A Bloomberg article explores the power of the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, known as FratPAC. The article describes how the political action committee has discouraged anti-hazing legislation (saying it is not needed) while protecting tax breaks for Greek houses.


Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 4:20am

A new Gallup Poll has found that most American adults oppose the consideration of race in admissions decisions. The poll question asked whether "applicants should be admitted solely on the basis of merit, even if that results in few minority applicants being admitted" or "an applicant's racial and ethnic background should be considered to help promote diversity on college campuses, even if that means admitting some minority students who might not otherwise be admitted," a large majority picked the former. There was no racial group for which a majority picked the latter, although more black Americans picked the latter than the former (by a narrow margin).

Here are results:

  Solely on Merit Consider Race
All 67% 28%
White 75% 22%
Black 44% 48%
Latino 59% 31%

Breakdowns were not provided for Asian Americans.

Inside Higher Ed works with Gallup on a number of survey projects, but played no role in this poll.

Gallup's results mirrored those of a recent poll by The Washington Post-ABC.


Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 4:25am

The California attorney general's office went to court Wednesday to seek to force Bridgepoint Education to turn over many documents, the Associated Press reported. The documents cover information about marketing, sales, and academics. The attorney general's office has been investigating reports of false advertising by some for-profit colleges, and officials said that Bridgepoint had failed to turn over the requested documents. A Bridgepoint spokeswoman declined to comment.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 4:30am

A California appeals court has ruled that the names of the officers involved in the notorious pepper spray incident at the University of California at Davis are covered by the state's open records law and should be released, the Associated Press reported. The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee have been requesting the names. The appeals court issued a stay for the ruling, giving the union that represents the officers 40 days to file an appeal with the California Supreme Court.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 3:00am

Louisiana Tech University has agreed to use online learning materials that are accessible to the blind, under an agreement to resolve complaints of discrimination investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department found that the university had been using materials that caused a blind student to fall behind on his schoolwork. That student will receive more than $23,000 under the settlement.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 4:24am

The board of the California State University System on Tuesday set the salaries of six campus presidents, and officials made a point of saying that none of the salaries represented an increase over what the presidents' predecessors had earned, The Los Angeles Times reported. In addition, the university said that there are no supplemental pay packages for any of the new presidents. The system has been criticized in the past by politicians, students and faculty leaders for significant raises for new presidents over what previous presidents had earned.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 4:28am

The Minerva Project has found a partner in accreditation. Minerva is a much-publicized venture that aims to educate top undergraduates from around the world -- online -- moving the cohorts of students around the world for residencies in various cities. One of Minerva's challenges has been lack of accreditation. Ben Nelson, the founder, told Inside Higher Ed in April that Minerva would deal with this by using "various loopholes" in accreditation rules, such as aligning itself with an accredited institution. On Tuesday, such a partnership was announced -- with the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. The partnership still must be approved by Keck's accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Alan Willner of the University of Southern California reveals how twisting light could drastically increase data transmission speeds. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

Harvard University acted in "good faith" in conducting secret searches of e-mail files of some instructors, an outside report has concluded, The Boston Globe reported. The outside report, by a law firm, was commissioned amid widespread faculty and student anger over the e-mails searches, which were conducted as the university was concerned about leaks about a cheating investigation. Administrators believed at the time that they were acting in ways consistent with university policies, and administrators did not read the e-mail messages in the accounts that were searched, the report said.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

Two months after faculty and staff votes of no confidence in his leadership, Ray Staats has been placed on leave as president of Gadsden State Community College, in Alabama, WBRC News reported. Faculty said that his priorities were misplaced, charging him with creating administrative positions and spending on facilities that weren't needed at a time that programs important to students lacked for funds. Staats did not respond to a requeset for comment.



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