Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

A panel of Division I college presidents has recommended that the National Collegiate Athletic Association cut the number of football scholarships in the top competitive level to 80 from 85, restrict the number of non-coaching staff members in some sports, and bar foreign tours by teams during the summer months, all to save money. The recommendations of the Resource Allocation Working Group, one of several panels appointed by President Mark Emmert to consider significant changes in NCAA rules, are to be voted on by the Division I Board of Directors at next month's NCAA convention. The panel is also proposing that the number of scholarships awarded at any time in Division I women's basketball be reduced to 13 from 15, and that the number of grants awarded by Football Championship Series teams drop to 60 from the current 63.

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Robert Berdahl was named Friday to serve as interim president of the University of Oregon, following the ouster of Richard Lariviere, who clashed with the State Board of Higher Education.  Lariviere's tenure in office will end this month. Berdahl has held several prominent positions in higher education, having served as president of the Association of American Universities, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, and president of the University of Texas. He also has strong ties to the University of Oregon, having served there earlier in his career as a history professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Berdahl has criticized the ouster of Lariviere -- and has backed the soon-to-be-former president's call for more autonomy for flagship universities that are part of state systems.

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, on Saturday kicked off a new effort to help women in Muslim nations study science at women's colleges in the United States. Through the program, the New York Academy of Sciences will provide the women with mentors, and participating women's colleges will provide financial assistance. "Today’s next Madame Curie could be sitting in a high school classroom in Cairo, Jakarta, or Mogadishu, yearning for opportunities to explore her potential. The United States is determined to help give her that chance," said Clinton, in announcing the new effort.

 

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Paul Greenfield is resigning in January as vice chancellor (the presidential equivalent) at the University of Queensland amid an admissions scandal at the Australian university, The Australian reported. Details remain vague, but someone described as a "close relative" of Greenfield was admitted to a medical program under an admissions procedure that should not have applied to the student.

 

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University each suspended multiple men's basketball players Sunday in the wake of a wild brawl Saturday that left some participants -- and their sport -- with a black eye. The annual game between the two Cincinnati-based rivals (known as the Crosstown Shootout) ended prematurely because of the fight, in which players threw and landed brutal punches. Players and coaches also drew criticism for post-game comments in which some of them appeared to justify their actions. "We're grown men over here," a Xavier player, Tu Holloway, said in a post-game interview with reporters. "We got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room. Not thugs, but tough guys on the court."

 

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The successful lobbying campaign by for-profit higher education to scale back the Obama administration's "gainful employment" regulations is no secret, but an article Saturday in The New York Times provided an in-depth look at the effort:

  • For-profit colleges and associations spent more than $16 million on lobbying, with much of the money going to Democrats with ties to the White House.
  • The biggest spender in the lobbying effort was The Washington Post Company, owner of Kaplan University ($1.71 million), followed by the Coalition for Educational Success ($1.65 million), Career Education Corporation ($1.60 million), the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities ($1.45 million), and the Apollo Group ($1.43 million).
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The Internal Revenue Service has denied tax-exempt status to an unnamed foundation that provides scholarships to students who seek to enroll in college credit study programs. The foundation's board of directors own a separate online education company that provides test-preparation materials. As a result, the IRS determined that the scholarship fund operates in the interests of the for-profit company.

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Joseph Diaz, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at Emory University, has posted an account of his arrest last week in the university's library. According to his account, he tried to help a homeless woman he knows who frequents the library when he saw police talking to her, and the police then roughly demanded his identification and -- unhappy he didn't provide it instantly -- arrested him. A friend who was with him made a video now on YouTube, prompting many to question the actions of Emory police:

 

Emory released the following statement on the incident: "Emory police officers responded to a call from library staff regarding a woman who was sitting down in the entrance vestibule of the Woodruff Library and appeared to need assistance. As the officers attempted to assess the woman’s condition, they were repeatedly interrupted by a man who said he was a student and demanded to know what they were doing. He refused repeatedly to leave the vestibule and refused to produce an ID, as Emory students are required to do upon request by university officers. The woman in distress was transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. She was not arrested. The student, identified as Joseph Diaz, was arrested for obstructing or hindering law enforcement officers. Emory is still actively gathering information about this incident."

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland on Friday voted to endorse an "alliance" between the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Maryland at Baltimore, but rejected the idea of merging the institutions. The idea of enhanced collaboration is generally popular with both campuses. Some supporters of College Park, the state flagship, felt it could be more of a player among research universities with the addition of the Baltimore campus, which is strong in the health professions. But many in Baltimore feared that such a move would shift too much attention to College Park, in the Washington suburbs.

Monday, December 12, 2011 - 4:29am

Rutgers University officials have said for years that big investments they were making in athletics -- such as a $102 million football stadium expansion -- were necessary for the sports program to have success on the field and to bring in money. But an analysis by The Star-Ledger found that deficits are growing, despite completion of the stadium project and football success. For instance, the newspaper found that the percentage of people paying for football tickets has dropped in the last two years from 76 percent to 59 percent. And even with the university passing out more free tickets, thousands of seats at games are empty. Last year's operating loss of more than $26 million put Rutgers in the top 10 for athletics deficits among major programs, the newspaper said.

 

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