Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of North Georgia has stopped using a controversial cover to its continuing education catalog, amid criticism of the message sent by the illustration, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The cover (visible at the link) shows two white men, dressed in professional attire, winning a race, defeating a woman and a black man struggling to keep up.

A statement from the university said: "After looking into the issue, we determined that this is an isolated case of poor judgment, and was not intentional. However, the image was not representative of U.N.G.’s commitment to diversity, and this will serve as an opportunity for increased dialogue about diversity issues and we expect that to better inform our processes and publications. The image has been removed from the department’s Web site and social media pages, and the catalog will be reprinted before further distribution. Additionally, we have taken steps to provide for broader review of publications like this to ensure they fully meet institutional expectations and reflect our community and our values."

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

President Obama gave an interview to ESPN as part of the unveiling of his picks for the N.C.A.A. men's basketball tournament. In the interview he called for the N.C.A.A. to change the rules of the game by shortening the shot clock to 30 seconds from the current 35, as well as to move back the three-point line, which would allow perimeter players to drive inside more easily. The president said his preferred changes would make the college game more like that of the National Basketball Association (N.B.A.).

"The fact of the matter is I like how basketball is going in the N.B.A. because it's fluid," he said. "What [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich did with San Antonio I think is being replicated now with Atlanta and Golden State, and you're seeing a lot of teams move in that direction. I'd like to see college basketball get back to that. It's a fast game -- let's get it down to 30 seconds at minimum."

Obama's bracket had the undefeated University of Kentucky team going all the way and beating Villanova University in the final. He picked the University of Arizona and Duke University to join those two teams in the Final Four.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON -- A group of demonstrators interrupted a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing Wednesday, decrying proposed reductions in higher education spending in the budget blueprints released this week by Congressional Republicans.

United States Capitol Police escorted the demonstrators from the hearing room as they chanted, “No cuts, no fees, education should be free.” Seven individuals were arrested, according to public information officer Shennell Antrobus, who said they would each be charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding," a misdemeanor under District of Columbia law. 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a budget outline that would sharply reduce the rate of federal spending, but the plan offers very few details on how lawmakers would go about doing that. Like the House budget resolution introduced Tuesday, the Senate plan would also freeze the maximum Pell Grant over the next decade, The New York Times reported.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, blasted the Republican proposal at Wednesday’s hearing, saying it would “cut $90 billion in Pell Grants” over the next 10 years.

The demonstration at the hearing was organized by the United States Students Association. “If Congressional Republicans are going to balance the budget on the backs of students, we think it necessitates action now,” said the group’s president, Maxwell John Love. He said that the association planned to bring 300 students to Capitol Hill later this week to lobby for student aid funding. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

Keiser University announced Wednesday that it will buy Northwood University's campus in West Palm Beach, Fla. Keiser is a nonprofit university with 18 campuses across Florida. It converted from a for-profit to a nonprofit in 2011, and now enrolls roughly 20,000 students. Northwood is a Michigan-based nonprofit institution. All of Northwood's almost 600 students at the West Palm Beach campus will have the opportunity to become Keiser students later this year, the university said.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:22am

The University of Toronto has reached a tentative deal with its union of teaching assistants to end a strike that started Feb. 27, The Globe and Mail reported. Details of the agreement have not been released. The two sides have been at odds over compensation issues.


Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

The Guardian profiles a Dutch student protest movement that has prompted debates in the Netherlands about the direction of higher education policy. The students are demanding a more democratic and transparent approach to higher education. The protests, which have included building occupations, have also prompted discussion about tactics that students are using.


Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Julia Hormes, psychologist at the State University of New York at Albany, discusses the correlations between social media usage and addiction. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Pennsylvania State University suspended its chapter of Kappa Delta Rho for a year Tuesday over allegations that the fraternity's members posted nude photographs of sleeping or passed-out women on a private Facebook page. According to a police warrant obtained by The Associated Press, a former member told police about the page, which featured photos and comments regarding "unsuspecting victims, drug sales and hazing." The page, originally called "Covert Business Transactions," had 144 active members, including both current students and alumni of the fraternity. The university is investigating which students posted the photos, a spokesman said, as are State College police. Kappa Delta Rho's national headquarters also suspended the chapter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 3:00am

Sweet Briar College alumnae and students, joined by faculty members, are speaking out with new concerns about the board's decision to close the institution. One new issue is that the board voted, days before its decision to shut down the college, to amend its bylaws so it could take actions with a smaller number of trustees than has been required. Sweet Briar's bylaws have required the board to have at least 24 members. A spokeswoman for the college confirmed that the board recently amended that measure and has only 23 members. The Sweet Briar faculty, with some citing the bylaw change, voted Monday night to oppose closure and to request more meetings with the board, The Roanoke Times reported. A college spokeswoman said that more discussions with the faculty would take place.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 3:00am

The domain extension ".college" became available on Tuesday, and colleges and universities can until April 17 register new Web addresses for free -- as long as they own the trademark. The company behind .college, XYZ, pitched the new domain extension as a branding opportunity. "As an example, Boston College could register for free before Sept. 22 domains such as Boston.College, BostonSciences.College, BostonLibrary.College, BostonExtensions.College and BostonAthletics.College as long as it is furthering an educational mission," the company said in a press release. 

Chatter on one chief information officer Listserv suggested institutions are likely to claim relevant Web addresses to avoid cybersquatting but stick with .edu, a more restrictive domain extension.


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