The University of Oregon has paid $25,000 to a political consulting firm to try to influence a student vote in October on whether to impose a new fee to finance renovations of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Administrators want the students to authorize the fee, but they have twice rejected the idea. A memo about the consultants' work obtained by The Register-Guard said that critics would be described as "narrow minded" and "stubborn." Student leaders are criticizing the decision to hire the consulting firm, saying that students should be able to express their views without an expensive campaign to influence them.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved draft legislation to ease the regulations for universities to hire foreign academics, Focus Taiwan News reported. Officials are concerned about brain drain and want to make it possible to attract more foreign talent.
The University of Georgia newspaper board has backed down on asserting the direction of The Red and Black, the student newspaper, The Associated Press reported. Last week, the student editors and staff walked out to protest board guidance that they said took away their control and encouraged them to minimize hard-hitting journalism. With the withdrawal of the guidance and an apology from the board, the students are starting to return to their former positions at the paper.
Steve M. Street, a well-known supporter of adjunct faculty rights and a leader of several organizations working on behalf of adjuncts, died Friday of cancer. He was 56. Street taught writing and literature as an adjunct at several colleges since 1980. Street was part of the New Faculty Majority, the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, and the United University Professions, the faculty union at the State University of New York. Street also wrote about the precarious situation for adjuncts in several publications, including Inside Higher Ed.
“Steve was a clear and forceful thinker and writer, someone who was never afraid to speak truth to power,” said Maria Maisto, president of the New Faculty Majority, in a message she posted on an e-mail list for adjuncts. “He gave more than he took, and we miss him deeply,” said Mark Street, Steve M. Street’s brother, and an assistant professor of visual arts at Fordham University, in an e-mail.
The University of Colorado at Boulder announced Thursday that it will ban guns from undergraduate dormitories. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in March ordered the university to allow those with permits to carry a concealed weapon to bring it on campus. But the University of Colorado Board of Regents has said that, consistent with the decision, the campuses could still develop some rules. Boulder will let those with a concealed weapons permit bring guns into graduate housing, provided the weapons are kept in a safe when not being carried.
Jim Donnan, who was head football coach of Marshall University and the University of Georgia, was charged by federal regulators Thursday with running a Ponzi scheme that took money from fellow coaches and former players, The New York Times reported. Donnan is accused of, in collaboration with an Ohio businessman, cheating investors out of $80 million. A lawyer for Donnan did not respond to calls seeking comment.
A newly released poll of influential types, including lawmakers, gave President Obama better marks than Mitt Romney on education policy. The poll, which was conducted by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm, focused mostly on K-12 issues. However, it found that a Romney administration probably would not seek to substantially revise student aid policies. Respondents also said for-profit colleges should be somewhat concerned about a second term for Obama.
People with student loans to repay, on average, might not qualify for mortgages because they have too much debt, according to a report the advocacy group Young Invincibles released Tuesday. The group said that the average single debtor, with consumer debt, student loans and a mortgage, would have a debt-to-income ratio of nearly 50 percent -- too high to qualify for many mortgages. The report, which used average credit card payment minimums, average student loan payments and a range of household incomes, found that student debtors making the median salary for college graduates could have trouble getting a mortgage.
"At least for a time, they can be completely cut out of the market," the group wrote, warning of the economic consequences of such a barrier.