Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 17, 2014

New York University, which has faced scrutiny in the last year over real estate perks for top administrators, was facing new questions Wednesday after The New York Post reported that Jed Sexton, the son of President John Sexton, had lived for years with his wife in apartments normally reserved for faculty members. Jed Sexton was an aspiring actor at the time and his wife was an administrative employee at the law school. NYU paid to have two apartments converted into a duplex for them, and they lived there for five years. An NYU spokesman said that they paid rent, but declined to say if the rent was at market rates. The spokesman said that combining apartments was not unusual. The Post article noted that the couple shared this apartment at a time that NYU officials were talking about a severe faculty housing shortage near campus.

 

April 17, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, John Roe, assistant professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, is tracking, studying and helping to develop strategies that will help to revitalize the leatherback population. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 17, 2014

Florida State University officials on Wednesday expressed “deep disappointment” in a front-page New York Times article suggesting that administrators erred in their response to sexual assault allegations against star quarterback Jameis Winston, saying in a statement that the Times omitted FSU statements and did not accurately reflect the university’s efforts to support victims. The Times wrote that an assistant athletic director knew that a former student had accused Winston of rape, but, “in apparent violation of federal law,” the AD either failed to pass the information on to higher-up administrators or did so and they failed to pursue the case. Title IX requires that once a college “knows, or reasonably should know” about sexual harassment, officials “must promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.” The article also details how repeated missteps by local police sabotaged their own investigation and contributed to the inability of prosecutors to move forward with the case.

Officials said in a statement that the university “does not tolerate sexual assault” and must weigh several factors -- including federal guidance and the victim’s wishes -- in deciding how to handle sexual assault. The statement also notes many services that FSU provides, including counselor referrals and support and resources for family members.

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights announced last week it will open an investigation stemming from the alleged victim’s federal complaint that FSU fails to protect students from sexual assault.

April 17, 2014

Excelencia in Education has released a new report with state-by-state data on Latino college completion rates. The report notes that raising those rates can be a key strategy for those who want to increase the percentage of Americans with college credentials.

April 16, 2014

Ball State University is planning to toughen post-tenure review to weed out "chronic low performers" on the faculty, The Star Press reported. Under the plan, faculty members whose performance is unsatisfactory two years in a row or three years out of five will be given a year to improve or to face termination. Ball State officials said that only a very small share of faculty members fit this category, but that failing to deal with them creates extra work for other professors. Dave Pearson, chair of the University Senate, said, “It’s a very, very small problem, but it can cause real problems in small departments.... I think the faculty have bought into this."

April 16, 2014

Dartmouth College is running an advertising campaign touting its work to better prevent and respond to sexual violence on campus, to counter another online ad campaign by the women’s rights advocacy group UltraViolet, which says Dartmouth has a “rape problem.” Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the UltraViolet ads, which are aimed at prospective and current students and alumni, have been seen more than 60,000 times since they started running more than a week ago. The Dartmouth ads, which are running on websites including that of The Boston Globe, redirect readers to a web page describing how – “Consistent with President Obama’s call to action to address sexual assault” – the college is “making progress on a number of fronts.”

Dartmouth is one of a few dozen colleges whose sexual assault response is being put under the microscope by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. However, the review at Dartmouth differs from the investigations OCR has recently opened at dozens of other colleges in that it's a compliance review, opened proactively by OCR, and did not stem from an official federal complaint (by a student or otherwise) alleging that the college has violated Title IX.

(Note: This article has been updated to reflect that Dartmouth is undergoing a compliance review, not a Title IX complaint, by OCR.)

April 16, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Legislative Council voted Tuesday to let Division I institutions offer free unlimited meals, not just the standard three a day, for athletes, USA Today reported. The change still requires approval by the Division I board.

April 16, 2014

Inside Higher Ed is today releasing a free compilation of articles and essays -- in print-on-demand format -- about the flipped classroom. The articles and essays reflect key discussions about pedagogy, technology and the role of faculty members. Download the booklet here.

This booklet is part of a series of such compilations that Inside Higher Ed is publishing on a range of topics.

On Thursday May 8, at 2 p.m. Eastern, Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will conduct a free webinar to talk about the issues raised in the booklet's articles. To register for the webinar, please click here.

 

April 16, 2014

A University of Calgary student has been charged in stabbing to death five other students early Tuesday morning, at a party held to mark the end of the semester, The Calgary Herald reported. Authorities said that the victims were "targeted one by one."

April 16, 2014

The National Federation of the Blind announced Tuesday that it plans protests for the campus of Atlantic Cape Community College. The group says that the New Jersey college not only fails to provide basic technology services needed by blind students, but that it has required a blind student to be accompanied by a sighted person when using certain facilities. A spokesman for the college denied that there is such a requirement, and said that aides are provided upon request. The spokesman added that "the college has made outreach to the National Federation of the Blind to discuss college policy, procedure and practice.  We respect the public’s right to free speech, and remain open to a continued dialogue about our programs and services."

 

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