Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 21, 2013

Tuskegee University on Saturday announced the resignation, effective immediately, of President Gilbert L. Rochon. The announcement gave no reason for the departure of Rochon, who has been in office three years. Matthew Jenkins, a board member, will serve as interim president. Tuskegee referred questions to an outside public relations company, which declined to comment on the sudden change.

 

October 21, 2013

A 34,000-student university in Chile affiliated with Laureate Education, Inc. has received notification from the National Accreditation Commission that its institutional accreditation will not be renewed at the end of its current three-year term. The Universidad de las Américas plans to appeal the decision, which -- if it stands – would mean that new students would be ineligible for government loans or grants.

The university has not yet received the report from the accreditor indicating the reasons for the decision, said Matt Yale, a Laureate spokesman. He’s confident of the university’s chances for a successful appeal nonetheless. 

“We are very confident because this is a really great university with a world-class management team, commitment to student outcomes, and a track record of operating a very good university,” Yale said.

Laureate, a for-profit university system, has grown its overseas footprint rapidly in recent years, expanding to operate 78 institutions in 30 countries. It operates six higher education institutions in Chile, including three full-fledged universities.

Laureate is not the only multinational for-profit education operator to face accreditation woes in Chile. In 2012, the National Accreditation Commission rescinded its approval of the Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación, which is operated by Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix.
 

October 21, 2013

Cricket -- a sport popular in Britain and the countries that were once ruled by Britain -- is growing on American campuses, The Boston Globe reported. The first American college championship of club teams took place in 2009, with five teams. Now there are 70 such teams. While most players come from countries such as India and Pakistan, where cricket remains very popular, some of those learning the game and embracing it are Americans.

 

October 21, 2013

The Common Application -- facing intense criticism over technical glitches that have made it impossible for many people to apply to college -- on Friday issued a new update on its problems, and an apology. The statement pledged to do better at both fixing the problems and updating people on the status of the situation. "All of us who work with and for The Common Application -- from the Board of Directors to the staff to our technology partners at Hobsons -- understand the significance of this moment, both for the college application process and for the reputation of the association itself. To those of you who have offered words of support and encouragement, we thank you," the statement says. "To those of you who have lost faith in our ability to adequately meet the needs of you and your students, we understand."

Several colleges have delayed early decision or other deadlines in light of the difficulties students have had filing with the Common Application.

 

 

October 21, 2013

The University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, is facing fallout from a series of allegations about sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. The abuse is not alleged to have taken place at the university, but St. Thomas has been drawn into the scandal.

  • The Rev. Michael Keating, a professor of Catholic studies, is on leave following the filing of a lawsuit by a woman alleging that he abused her in the late 1990s when she was 13 to 15 years old. While Father Keating has not spoken about the allegations, his lawyer has denied the allegations. Minnesota Public Radio has reported that documents it obtained suggest that church leaders may have planned to communicate with the university about the allegations as early as 2006.
  • The Rev. Harry Flynn, a former archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis at a time that many victims say the church didn't do enough about abuse allegations, has resigned from the St. Thomas board.
  • The Rev. Kevin McDonough, former vicar general of the archdiocese, and who investigated allegations against Father Keating and others, has also resigned from the St. Thomas board, The Star Tribune reported.
October 21, 2013

Martin University on Friday announced 16 faculty and staff layoffs, The Indianapolis Star reported. The layoffs follow an enrollment drop. The university expected to have 700 students enroll this fall, but ended up with only 522.

October 21, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Stephanie King of the University of St. Andrews explains recent findings that point to the use of names by dolphins. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

October 21, 2013

Grambling State University football players refused to travel by bus the 154 miles to Jackson State University for their scheduled game Saturday. The forfeiture comes after the team walked out of a meeting with Grambling State President Frank Pogue and then boycotted two practices, all over administrators' refusal to address poor facility conditions, the firing of head coach Doug Williams, and excessively long travel to games, athletes said.

Grambling State, a historically black university in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, is in dire financial straits, officials have said. In an apology to the Jackson State president, Pogue said "unfortunately too many of our players don't understand the degree of our fiscal challenges."

October 21, 2013

Ernesto Perez, the CEO of Dade Medical College, a Florida for-profit institution, has been charged with perjury and filing false information for failing on various records to indicate that he has a criminal past, The Miami Herald reported. Perez was asked about his background on forms he filled out when he was appointed to the Florida Commission on Independent Education, which oversees for-profit colleges in the state. Perez pleaded no contest, after a 1990 arrest, to misdemeanor charges of battery and exposing his genitals to a child. The Herald said that the victim was a 15-year-old fan of the heavy metal band in which Perez was then playing. Perez told the Herald that any forms that were not filled out completely were simply the result of an "honest mistake."

October 21, 2013

Many minority faculty members at the University of California at Los Angeles feel that they encounter bias and insensitivity regularly, and that the university is not necessarily committed to resolving their concerns, says a report released by the university last week.  The report was prepared by Carlos Moreno, a former justice of the California Supreme Court, who was assisted by lawyers so that minority faculty members could discuss their concerns without fear of hurting their careers. The report says that  "we found widespread concern among faculty members that the racial climate at UCLA had deteriorated over time, and that the university’s policies and procedures are inadequate to respond to reports of incidents of bias and discrimination. Our investigation found that the relevant university policies were vague, the remedial procedures difficult to access, and from a practical standpoint, essentially nonexistent."

Gene D. Block, chancellor at UCLA, announced in response to the report the creation of a new position, a full-time discrimination officer, and he pledged further policies to make UCLA welcoming for all professors. "Our campus can and must do a better job of responding to faculty reports of racial and ethnic bias and discrimination and take steps to prevent such incidents from ever occurring," said Block in an e-mail message to the campus. "It is one thing to talk about our commitment to diversity and creating a welcoming campus; it is quite another to live up to those ideals. Rhetoric is no substitute for action. We must set an example for our students. We cannot tolerate bias, in any form, at UCLA. I sincerely regret any occasions in the past in which we have fallen short of our responsibility."

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