Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 23, 2015

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson has charged in legal filings that for-profit Globe University has violated state law by making unlicensed loans with "usurious interest rates” as high as 18 percent, The Star Tribune reported. Swanson asked that the loans to nearly 6,000 students be invalidated, so the students would not have to repay them and should be reimbursed for payments they have made. The filing said that the university wasn't registered to make the loans and the interest rates far exceeded what state law permits. University officials disputed the attorney general's statements, and accused her of trying to advance a political agenda.

 

March 23, 2015

The University of Massachusetts System, like many colleges and universities, has used debt financing in recent years to add and renovate facilities. But an article in The Boston Globe raises questions about the impact of using so much debt. The current debt level is $3 billion. This year, the university will pay $203 million in debt and interest, up from $137 million five years ago.

 

March 23, 2015

The office of California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday announced how it plans to distribute a new $50 million fund for innovation in higher education. The idea was to pick the best ideas that bubbled up from faculty and administrators at the state's public institutions. College were directed to submit proposals that attempt to increase degree production, encourage the acceptance of transfer credit and help students graduate on time. Brown's office picked 14 winners, with awards ranging from $2.5 million to $5 million.

March 23, 2015

In the latest "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, Tracy Mitrano of Mitrano & Associates and Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education joined Inside Higher Ed's Doug Lederman and the moderator, Casey Green, for a conversation about tension between free speech rights and efforts to ensure a welcoming campus environment. In our second segment, Coastal Carolina University's Ralph Byington and Thomas Hoffman discuss the institution's program that rewards faculty and staff members for increased student retention. Sign up here to be notified of new editions of "This Week."

March 23, 2015

Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto have rejected a tentative deal to settle a strike that started Feb. 27. The union announced that 992 members voted to ratify the deal, while 1,101 voted against. While the proposed agreement would have raises wages, some have said that the deal did not provide enough. The university issued a statement this morning from Angela Hildyard, vice president of human resources and equity, in which she said, “We continue to be in close contact with the provincial mediator and remain committed to finding a solution to this impasse that would end the strike and allow affected students to complete their academic term without further disruption."

March 23, 2015

Authorities have arrested a student at Edinboro University for allegedly shooting two other students Saturday, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. “It is important to note that this tragic incident is believed to be a matter between these individuals and not a random event,” said a statement from Julie Wollman, the president. “The individual charged with the crime is in police custody, and we have acted immediately to suspend this student.”

 

March 23, 2015

Protesters -- some students and many not -- have disrupted exams and blocked entrances at Lebanese University's Tripoli campus, The Daily Star reported. They object to two recent appointments of Christian academics to positions that they believe Sunni Muslims should hold. Students told the newspaper that most at the university do not believe that appointees should be judged by religious affiliation, but many in the country disagree.

 

March 23, 2015

McGill University has rejected the request of a Muslim female student to start women-only hours in the workout facilities on campus, CBC News reported. The request has prompted widespread campus debate in recent weeks. McGill's deputy provost for student life and learning, Ollivier Dyens, said, "We don't believe in the segregation of our services, we don't believe in separating some groups from others on campus. It's always been clear, McGill is secular and coed, and this is what we promote." McGill does have some hours for women only in the pool, but officials said that because people wear bathing suits, issues of modesty and privacy are greater there.

 

March 23, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Nicola Mitchell, a zoologist at the University of Western Australia, discusses research to recolonize the western swamp turtle and hopefully save the species from extinction. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

March 20, 2015

An engineering professor at the University of Florida was arrested and is being detained in Abu Dhabi pending resolution of his case, The Gainesville Sun reported. John Schueller was arrested last week, reportedly after taking pictures of buildings in the United Arab Emirates capital, and was released on bail. He was in Abu Dhabi on university-approved travel to attend a conference on world hunger.

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