Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Oregon's State Board of Higher Education voted Friday to ban guns from classrooms, buildings, dormitories and sporting and entertainment events, The Oregonian reported. The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last year that the board could not by administrative decree ban guns from the state system's campuses, but the ruling said that the board had authority to set rules for facilities and events. So the board acted within that power. The new rules do not apply to someone with a concealed weapon permit carrying a gun on a campus walkway, but would apply if that person entered a facility.


Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Barnard College announced Saturday that its commencement speaker this spring will be President Obama. Barnard had previously announced that Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times, would speak, but the college said that, after the Obama possibility materialized, Abramson said that she would be happy to speak another time. Historically, presidents of the United States speak at commencements at three colleges -- one private college, one public college and one U.S. service academy.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Is Harvard University less expensive than public universities in California? A Bay Area News Group article explores the question, using a hypothetical family of four with $130,000 in family income. With Harvard's generous financial aid for middle class families, such a family would pay only $17,000 for a student to spend a year at Harvard. At Cal State, with much lower tuition rates, but much less aid, an in-state resident would pay about $24,000. Many students say these figures illustrate the flaws of California's policy of increasing tuition rates without sufficient financial aid.

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Rick Santorum, the Republican presidential candidate, is moderating his rhetoric in criticizing President Obama's call for all Americans to get at least one year of higher education. In several recent appearances, he called President Obama "a snob" for having that goal, and suggested that colleges are "indoctrination" units designed to make students liberal. A Fox News program Saturday indicated that the college-bashing may not be playing well. According to an account in The Los Angeles Times, an Ohio State University student told Santorum: "Your comments about Obama being a snob for wanting everyone to have the chance to go to college didn't really sit well with my campus." While not backing off his earlier statements, Santorum expressed support for everyone having the chance to go to college. Said Santorum: "His quote was, repeated often in the media, was that everybody should go to college. You see, there's something different than saying people should have the opportunity to go to college. That's fine. All my political career I've supported [that]. In fact, we do need a lot of people to go to college and get the education, and in some cases the training, that's necessary. But the idea that everybody should go to college -- again, it was this attitude: that we know better what's best for you."

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 4:25am

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Sunday scheduled an emergency meeting for today to talk about growing criticism of Michael Hogan, president of the system, The Chicago Tribune reported. A spokesman said that no action is expected at the meeting, but that board members want to talk about "issues that have been reported in the paper lately." Last week, 130 endowed professors and department chairs at the university's flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign wrote to the board expressing a lack of confidence in Hogan. The president, brought in after an admissions scandal led to the departure of his predecessor, has been clashing with faculty members over his plans to centralize enrollment management. Further, his chief of staff resigned after being accused of sending anonymous e-mails seeking to influence faculty deliberations.


Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

A coalition of college groups on Thursday unveiled the Higher Education Compliance Alliance, a website that collects and shares information about federal laws and regulations governing the higher ed industry. The clearinghouse, spearheaded by the National Association of College and University Attorneys, includes links to legal and regulatory language, advisory reports from various groups, and other information on a wide range of topics.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Last month, Meghan Darcy Melnyk resigned as president of the Mount Royal University Students' Association. On Wednesday, she was charged with robbing a bank in Calgary. Authorities said she walked into a bank and turned over a note to a teller, saying that she had a weapon and wanted money, CBC reported. She was tracked down after leaving the bank with money. Students at Mount Royal are stunned.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Ken Gobbo of Landmark College explains the range of symptoms contained beneath the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

The “academic, health and overall well-being” of athletes should be considered first and foremost as leaders of the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences weigh potential changes in the structure of the college football postseason, the faculty athletics representatives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I member institutions said in a statement sent Thursday to the commissioners and the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee. allie: this slight rewrite okay, to simplify a bit?  dl

Citing research tying length of seasons and numbers of games to negative health and academic outcomes, the faculty representatives said the new postseason model, which commissioners are forming now and which will take effect in the 2013-14 season, must not: increase the current number of games individual teams play (now 12 to 14, depending on how far a team makes it in the postseason); extend beyond Jan. 9 (ideally, not beyond Jan. 1); or interfere with classes and exams.

But while a four-team playoff to replace the bowl system -- an idea with broad support that is likely to emerge from the discussions, recent reports say -- meets those criteria, it could lead to “slippery slope consequences” of too many teams, too many games and too long a postseason, the FARs said. They pointed to the Division I men’s basketball tournament as evidence.

“We know that this concern is shared by all of us, including university presidents and chancellors; conference commissioners; and directors of athletics,” the FARs wrote. “We also know that all of us are concerned with the academic, health, and overall well-being of our football student-athletes. We therefore urge that a critical component in evaluating different post-season models should be what research tells us regarding the factors that most negatively impact student-athlete academic performance and that most contribute to football student-athlete injuries and serious injuries.”

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 3:00am

Students across the country made good on their word Thursday, coming out in droves to support the youth Occupy movement and advocate for affordable, accessible and democratic higher education. Frustrated by rising tuition and student debt, and their lack of influence on the system, students made major waves in the fall with rallies and protests reminiscent of Thursday’s nationally coordinated “Day of Action.” But things slowed down over the winter break, and Thursday was an attempt to get back into the national spotlight.

The most well-attended protests took place, as expected, in California and New York City, where several hundred students rallied. Students in the Washington, D.C., area also had a notable turnout for their march to Sallie Mae and the U.S. Education Department, and the University of Maryland occupation tweeted that Education Secretary Arne Duncan promised to respond to their list of demands within a week. Protesters in Alabama, Ohio and Texas were active on the Twitter streams. Students at DePaul University said they “seized” an administration office. Although police were on hand on many campuses and city streets, there appeared to be no major confrontations (unlike past rallies). One person drove a car through a group of about 150 students who blocked the entrance to the University of California at Santa Cruz campus, but nobody was seriously injured. Most classes had been canceled in light of the protests, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.


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