Higher Education Quick Takes
The families of the donors who gave Columbia University $400,000 in 1927 to build Casa Italiana are suing the university, arguing that it has ignored the intent of the gift, Bloomberg reported. The purpose was to create a center for study of the Italian language and culture, the suit argues. Instead, the university has placed a research center there that, though focused on Italy, runs many programs that are "elitist and detached, European and international." Further, the suit charges that some of the programs play on Italian-American stereotypes. One such program identified in the complaint was called "What’ya mean I’m funny? Ball-busting Humor and Italian American Masculinities," A Columbia spokesman said that the university does not comment on litigation.
The University of Texas at Austin is in negotiations about joining two prominent organizations that offer MOOCs (or massive open online courses), The Texas Tribune reported. The two are Coursera and edX. Texas officials said that the outcome of the negotiations could be announced in a few weeks.
Regent University announced Wednesday that it plans to filed a trademark complaint against the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for naming two merged institutions Georgia Regents University, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Before the Georgia regents voted on the name, Regent University expressed concern about the plan. The Georgia system declined to comment. Georgia Regents University combines Augusta State and Georgia Health Sciences Universities.
The most famous line in the movie "Dirty Dancing" is "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Karlstad University, in Sweden, is debating whether neon artwork with that line belongs on its new library, The Local reported. Åsa Bergenheim, the rector, has defended the artwork. "It means that we straighten our backs and give our best because we are capable," she said. Bergenheim said she wasn't concerned about skeptics of placing the quote on the library building. "There are always critical voices when it the university is concerned. Words are obviously very controversial as art," she said. But some at the university have taken to denouncing the placement of the quote, with one person calling the decision to decorate the library in this way "the most stupid thing I have seen in ages."
Greg Williams resigned, effective immediately, as president of the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday, stunning the campus, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Williams, in office just under three years, cited personal reasons, but did not elaborate.
In today’s Academic Minute, Larry Widrow of Queen's University, in Ontario, reveals evidence for a galactic shakeup, right in our cosmic backyard. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Although the student loan interest rate crisis of the summer has been resolved, college affordability has continued to play a role in President Obama's campaign. In an event Tuesday at Capital University, in Ohio, Obama focused on his administration's support for the Pell Grant and criticized his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, for telling college students concerned about tuition prices to "shop around," according to The Plain Dealer. The Obama campaign has sought to emphasize its student loan and Pell Grant policies in recent days, as the entrance of Representative Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate has renewed debates about federal education funding: also on Tuesday, the campaign introduced a website about income-based student loan repayment.
Cooper Barton, 5, a kindergartner in Oklahoma City, was forced last week to turn his T-shirt inside out to avoid violating a citywide rule on school clothing, The Detroit Free Press reported. The violation? Barton was wearing a University of Michigan shirt with "The Big House" written on it. The Oklahoma City rule, designed to prevent students from wearing gang clothing, banned not only gang slogans on clothing, but also non-Oklahoma college attire.
Community colleges should participate in the federal student loan programs and, when appropriate, encourage students to borrow -- as long as they counsel students against borrowing too much, according to "Making Loans Work," a report released Tuesday by the Institute for College Access and Success and the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association. About 3 percent of community college students borrow federal loans in California; borrow federal loans? do we need to say in here somewhere that the reason these groups are encouraging colleges to enter the federal loan program isn't because they are eager for students to borrow, but so that students who do can borrow federal rather than private loans? dl nationwide, about 13 percent do. The report highlighted practices at some community colleges -- such as requiring in-person counseling or identifying students who might be overborrowing -- and encouraged community colleges to emulate them. The groups urged colleges to participate in the federal loan program in part because they fear that without it, students will turn to private loans, which have fewer protections, instead.
Humboldt State University announced Tuesday that it was calling off the men's soccer season for the fall. A statement from the university said that the decision "stems from a party held off-campus Aug. 4, which involved more than 20 members of the soccer team. There were multiple instances of hazing designed to humiliate and degrade certain players. There was also highly dangerous level of alcohol use and underage drinking, though no students received medical attention." The university also said that it is investigating allegations of hazing involving the women's soccer team.