Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Duncan Eddy, a student at Rice University, has created a website called Save Duncan's Butt to try to raise enough money for him to pay for damage he caused while attempting to participate in a campus tradition. The tradition involves running through the library naked and leaving body marks by covering certain body parts in shaving cream and pressing those parts against glass surfaces. Eddy's attempts broke a window in the library and he now must raise $15,000 to replace it -- or leave the university, according to his website. So far, he has raised more than $9,000.

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 4:20am

The Iowa Board of Regents will consider proposed rules this week that would bar public universities going forward from naming centers or institutes after public officials who are still in office, The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported. The proposal is a response to criticism of the board's decision in April to name a center at Iowa State University the Harkin Institute for Public Policy, honoring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat. Many Republicans criticized the decision.


Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

Among the items that went viral on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere this weekend was a professor's obituary, written with love by his son. Robert Spiegel taught Russian literature for decades at Central Connecticut State University. The mix of serious and humorous sentiments in his obituary prompted many to share it. Here's an excerpt: "Over the course of 43 years of teaching, he introduced countless neophytes to the wonders of the well-written word, passionately teaching the likes of Dostoyevsky, Vonnegut, Gogol, Gibson and virtually everyone in between. The final, and an immensely popular course he taught, was that of the literature of baseball. This was thinly veiled therapy to alleviate the trauma he sustained from coaching arguably the worst little league team in recorded (or unrecorded) history and from the sufferings he endured from 40 years as a devout Mets fan." The full obituary is here, and an Associated Press article about the obituary may be found here.

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

In the Chicago area, relatively few reports of sexual assault on campuses are prosecuted, The Chicago Tribune reported. The newspaper examined records from 16 local colleges and found that police investigated 109 reported sex crimes since fall 2005. Those investigations led to only 12 arrests and 5 convictions. While prosecutors blame lack of evidence for hindering arrests in some cases, some victims and some campus officials believe that solid cases were not taken seriously enough.


Monday, December 5, 2011 - 3:00am

A judge in Washington State ruled Friday that Seattle Central Community College may evict Occupy movement protesters who have been camping at the college for more than a month, The Seattle Times reported. The college recently adopted a "no camping" rule that the judge upheld. The Occupy Seattle encampment is not primarily focused on the college, but on general issues of economic inequality. College officials adopted the rule after saying that they were facing clean-up charges and security issues -- in part because of non-students attracted to the encampment. The article reported that the college may not have to enforce its new rule because the protesters appear to be moving to an abandoned warehouse elsewhere.

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Florida A&M University has dismissed four students for their roles in the death of a marching band member widely believed to have been hazed, the Associated Press reported. The university has said that it has a "zero tolerance" policy toward hazing, but others have charged that hazing in the band has been well-known for some time.


Friday, December 2, 2011 - 4:35am

The National Science Foundation on Thursday released "Rebuilding the Mosaic," outlining the agency's plans for providing support in the social sciences. The report places a strong emphasis on research that is "interdisciplinary, data-intensive and collaborative." Among the subject areas identified for a special focus:

  • Population change.
  • Sources of disparities.
  • Communication, language and linguistics.
  • Technology, new media and social networks.

The report is the result of a year-long review.


Friday, December 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Savannah State University has agreed to pay Robby Wells, its former football coach, $240,000 to settle his suit claiming that he was forced out by the historically black institution because he is white, the Associated Press reported. The university paid an additional $110,000 to his lawyers. Savannah State officials continue to deny that they discriminated against Wells.

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The quality of data used to inform state policy decisions on education has improved, according to a new analysis from the Data Quality Campaign, but still lags in many areas. For example, only a few states are using broad data on whether students need remediation in college. Also of concern are efforts to track workforce development: 38 states are not adequately matching and sharing data between colleges and the workforce.

Friday, December 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Inadequate and diluted resources at the state regulatory level have led to lax oversight of for-profit colleges, according to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, and those regulatory gaps have contributed to fraud and other problems. The Boston-based consumer advocacy group found that regulators are often understaffed, particularly in Delaware, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming. The report also claims state for-profit supervisory boards often include industry representatives, sometimes even a majority hailing from for-profits, which is a conflict of interest that gives the industry "undue influence."


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