Higher Education Quick Takes
Just a week after its women’s basketball players were crowned at the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, Baylor University could be bracing for bad news from the NCAA. ESPN.com reported Monday that an investigation has found more than 1,200 instances of impermissible recruiting contacts on the part of Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball coaches. The university has reportedly already self-imposed a number of sanctions, including scholarship reductions and recruiting limitations for both teams. The NCAA could impose additional sanctions when its infractions report is made public as early as this week, ESPN wrote.
Over a 29-month period, Baylor’s basketball programs reportedly sent recruits 738 impermissible text messages and made 528 impermissible phone calls, most of which came from the men’s staff in 2007 and 2008. But the investigation also uncovered 405 impermissible calls and texts made across nine different sports during 2011. Both the university and its men's basketball coach, Scott Drew, face major violations charges of "failure to monitor" the sports programs, ESPN wrote.
Baylor's men's basketball team made it to the championship quarterfinals this year, and its football team boasted the Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Monday that the association “can’t get into details” regarding the case because it is still under review. “However,” he continued, “each member agrees to abide by the rules established by the association and our membership expects those who do not follow the rules will be held accountable.”
Students at Guilford College are pushing for a fee increase ($100 over two years) at a time when many college students are objecting to such increases. The News-Record reported that students want the increase to increase the student aid budget. The move comes as Guilford (along with other private colleges in North Carolina) face a loss of state funds for aid for North Carolina students. The college's board will vote on the proposal in June. Kent Chabotar, president of the college, said that he was surprised by the proposal. "The last thing you’d think would be that they’d want to increase the fees even more on their own authority." But he added that push to help fellow students was "a classic Guilford move."
The Record has exposed more cases of New Jersey colleges reporting incomplete information on SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report to inflate rankings. Ramapo College has been excluding about 22 percent of its new students (generally the most disadvantaged students) when reporting average SAT scores to U.S. News & World Report. As a result, the SAT average reported by Ramapo was more than 50 points higher than it should have been. New Jersey City University has also been inflating its SAT scores, the Record reported. Ramapo, shortly after the article was published Friday, said it would start reporting the averages for all students. New Jersey City University officials said that they were unaware of the practice.
What's so funny about a 68-year-old classics and religious studies professor -- decked out in a blue flannel shirt, navy dress pants pulled up to a generous height and sporty black shoes -- cruising around campus on a skateboard? Tom Winter still isn't sure, but the University of Nebraska at Lincoln instructor is playing along now that a photo of him riding an Arbor Pocket Rocket skateboard has gone viral, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. The picture, apparently taken by a Nebraska student, was the most-viewed item on Reddit.com one day last week and has been the subject of dozens of mock captions on Imgur.com.
Winter, who rides his bike to work every day, opts for a skateboard when he moves around campus. "I'm 19, but my joints are all of 68 years old," he told the Journal Star. "Sometimes, walking is simply unpleasant."
Imgur caption writers wrote "He has a Ph.D. in epicness" and "Tony Hawk in his senior years." Others were less kind: "Suddenly, broken hip," reads one comment. Sights of Winter weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic as his gray hair and decorative ties flap in the wind have long made him a cult celebrity in Lincoln. But the former roller skating champion who has spent more than 40 years on the Nebraska faculty seems to be taking his newfound global fame in stride.
"It's a pretty good photo," he told the Lincoln newspaper.
Jorge Gilbert, who formerly taught South American history and politics at Evergreen State College, was fined nearly $120,000 last year by the Washington State Executive Ethics Board for failing to account for $50,000 in student payments he received from student for a study abroad program in Chile. With that debt looming, the state attorney general's office reported last week that Gilbert has disappeared, The Olympian reported.
Student journalists might not be as funny as they think. The latest mea culpa, from the University of Missouri at Columbia's campus newspaper editor, centers around the retitling of The Maneater's April Fool's edition as The Carpeteater.
In a lengthy statement released Friday, Editor Abby Spudich explains that she "truly did not know that 'carpet eater' is a derogatory term used for a lesbian." She also apologized for other April Fool's jokes that fell on deaf ears, including a series of vulgar references to women. The paper won't publish an April Fool's edition next year, Spudich wrote. "Our April Fool’s issue serves as a cautionary warning about the consequences of ignorance," she writes, "but I hope the actions we will take in the near future will serve as an example of how to take steps forward to promote an inclusive campus for all."
If only there had been a cautionary tale available a couple weeks ago. It's been a tough month for America's student press, as an April Fool's edition at Boston University that made light of rape led to an editor's resignation.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has issued guidelines to help countries promote open access to research findings. While the guidelines are not binding on member nations, they suggest that countries take a consistent and broad approach to assuring free access to research findings. The report with the guidelines also rejects the idea that because partial access is available or even full access to some work in some countries, that these issues have been resolved. "There is a problem of accessibility to scientific information everywhere," the report says. "Levels of open access vary by discipline, and some disciplines lag behind considerably, making the effort to achieve open access even more urgent. Access problems are accentuated in developing, emerging and transition countries. There are some schemes to alleviate access problems in the poorest countries but although these provide access, they do not provide open access: they are not permanent, they provide access only to a proportion of the literature, and they do not make the literature open to all but only to specific institutions."
Chicago State University on Friday dropped a controversial policy that required faculty members to have prior approval before talking to the press, engaging in social media or engaging in most forms of public communication, The Chicago Tribune reported. The policy -- viewed by faculty members as inappropriate and illegal -- was abandoned after the Tribune reported on it. An e-mail message sent to faculty members by the university said that the policy "had not received proper review and approval through legal counsel prior to being distributed," and so was being pulled.