Higher Education Quick Takes
A Virginia jury on Wednesday convicted George Huguely V of second-degree murder in the death of Yeardly Love in 2010, The Washington Post reported. The case, involving lacrosse players at the University of Virginia, attracted national attention to the issue of domestic violence among college students. Huguely did not deny that he played a role in Love's death, but his lawyers had urged a conviction of manslaughter, while prosecutors sought a first-degree murder conviction.
The Michigan Legislators is trying to block graduate research assistants at the University of Michigan from unionizing. AnnArbor.com reported that the Michigan Senate voted Wednesday to define the graduate assistants as students, ineligible for collective bargaining. Michigan's Board of Regents has backed unionization rates for the students, but many administrators have criticized the union drive.
The University of Utah has changed its admissions policy for older applicants -- those who have been out of high school for seven years and who have not previously enrolled in a college -- following a complaint that it violated the rights of one such individual, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy specifies exactly which courses in high school applicants must have completed, earning certain minimum grades. The complaint concerned an applicant who was rejected -- without as clear a system in place -- when he mentioned having only a fourth grade reading level.
California's community colleges face an unexpected $149 million budget cut this year because of low property tax revenue and a "dramatic" increase in the number of students who qualify for tuition waivers, Jack Scott, chancellor of the 112-college system, said in a written statement. The shortfall, which would represent a 2.75 percent decrease in the system's overall budget, follows $502 million in previous cuts. Scott said colleges would have to cope by further reducing course offerings, borrowing more money and eliminating jobs.
The Community College League of California told the Los Angeles Times that the state typically picks up the slack when the system's tuition and tax revenue lag. But a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance said the gloomy predictions were premature, according to the newspaper.
Rick Santorum last week told an audience at the Detroit Economic Club that President Obama "had a war on private education" and that his administration has unfairly attacked private-sector, or for-profit colleges, that do most of the worker training for new jobs, according to a transcript published by The Detroit Free Press. The surging Republican presidential candidate promised that his administration would have a different attitude.
"He believes that private sector schools are somehow evil and they're abusive, and his Education Department has done everything they could to make it harder for them to compete for loans and other things and to stay in business," Santorum said. "Yet they are going to be the principal tool, along with community colleges, to respond to this, what I believe will be exploding demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers to do the jobs of the future."
Two more colleges have sued the Obama administration over its requirement that religious employers, including colleges, provide insurance covering birth control -- despite a recent compromise that would require the insurance company, not the institution, to pay for that coverage. Louisiana College, a Baptist institution, and Geneva College, a Pennsylvania college affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, filed lawsuits Tuesday with assistance from the Alliance Defense Fund. They join two colleges that have filed suit through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Alliance Defense Fund says that more lawsuits can be expected.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted Tuesday to oppose a bill in the State Senate that would ban graduate research assistants from unionizing, The Detroit Free Press reported. In doing so, the board disregarded the wishes of senior administrators at the university, who believe that the graduate assistants should count as students and should not unionize.
Junior faculty members at Israeli universities have announced an open-ended strike, saying that their negotiations with the Committee of University Presidents failed to result in a contract agreement, The Jerusalem Post reported. The presidents' committee responded by saying that the faculty union "has decided to hurt university students without any justification."