Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 3:00am

A state auditor has found that Northwest Missouri State University has violated state law by extending some contracts for food services, facilities management and other functions without competitive bids, in exchange for gifts for stadium renovations, The Kansas City Star reported. University officials said that they were trying to move forward to correct any problems.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Massachusetts officials plan to announce today that -- for the first time in decades -- some state funds for higher education will be distributed based on plans for certain goals, not on enrollment, The Boston Globe reported. Funds will be available to colleges for plans to raise graduation rates, to improve science education or to close racial gaps in student achievement. While only a small amount of money -- $2.5 million -- is involved, officials said that the shift represented an important philosophical move for the state.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

A Montana State University investigation has found that Shuichi Komiyama, who is conductor of the orchestra at the university, had an "intimate" relationship with a student, and violated policies against sexual harassment, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. The investigation found that a female student has a "reasonable belief" that Komiyama has "considerable power over her success" at the university and in gaining admission to graduate school, and so felt she had to give in to sexual advances. Further, the report found that otehr female students said that Komiyama had made sexual advances toward them, and investigators concluded that "there is a preponderance of evidence supporting these allegations." Komiyama has denied the allegations. A lawyer for the professor told the newspaper: "I think it's sad this matter is being treated opportunistically by a former student.... I think this is probably a case of hurt feelings that unfortunately is being turned into something else. These are complicated relationships, particularly in the arts."

 

Komiyama, 47, a charismatic conductor credited with breathing new life into MSU's orchestra and jazz programs, has denied all the allegations.

 

The investigation concluded the female student had a reasonable belief that the professor had "considerable power over her success" and that she had to give in to his sexual advances to receive his assistance in furthering her career, receiving special instruction and getting into graduate school.

The investigative report says the student alleged that Komiyama, 47, insisted on a sex act in his MSU office. She further alleged that, after she tried to end the affair, he once forced her to have sexual intercourse.

Komiyama denied ever having sexual contact of any kind with the student, the report said. MSU identified the student throughout the report as Student A.

The report also says that other female students accused Komiyama of making sexual advances toward them, and investigators concluded, "there is a preponderance of evidence supporting these allegations, further supporting the allegations of Student A."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Scotland's government is strongly committed to effectively providing tuition-free education for students from Scotland. But with the British government withdrawing funds for universities, in theory to be replaced in part by tuition revenue, some universities in Scotland are adopting tuition (of up to £9,000 pounds, or about $14,500) for English students, and those from elsewhere in the United Kingdom outside of Scotland. Under European Union rules, the Scottish universities can't charge students from other EU nations more than they charge those from Scotland, so French or German students would pay much less than English students to enroll in Scotland. Some British legal experts are planning challenges to this evolving tuition policy, The International Herald Tribune reported. But on Monday, the University of Edinburgh became the latest university to embrace it, The U.K. Press Association reported. The university has said that it has generous financial aid to enable low-income students from throughout Britain to enroll.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

The board of the University of Central Arkansas voted Friday to buy out the contract of Allen Meadors, who has been president since July 2009. The board voted the day after Meadors apologized to the board for not fully briefing members that a $700,000 "gift" from Aramark to renovate the president's home was linked to a contract for the company to provide food services at the university.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

University of New Mexico officials thought they had a plan to save about $70,000 by eliminating the job of a vice provost (at a salary of $192,000), and replacing him with three part-time administrators. But The Albuquerque Journal reported that officials brought on the part-timers before they realized that the vice provost already had been given (and had signed) a contract for the year. So now the university has the vice provost (being assigned new duties) and the three part-time administrators on payroll.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

University of New Mexico officials thought they had a plan to save about $70,000 by eliminating the job of a vice provost (at a salary of $192,000), and replacing him with three part-time administrators. But The Albuquerque Journal reported that officials brought on the part-timers before they realized that the vice provost already had been given (and had signed) a contract for the year. So now the university has the vice provost (being assigned new duties) and the three part-time administrators on payroll.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

Dalhousie University, in Canada, has decided to end use of Turnitin, saying that it was unhappy that student papers were being stored by the plagiarism detection service on servers in the United States, The Toronto Star reported. Student groups have long complained about the use of plagiarism detection software, but many faculty members are upset by the decision, saying that they lack a new system as the fall semester is starting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

New Zealand's University of Auckland is rejecting calls that it fire Margaret Mutu, head of the Maori studies department, over controversial statements she recently made. Mutu called for the country to limit immigration by white people, saying that they bring "an attitude of white supremacy" that hurts people from indigenous groups. News 3 New Zealand reported that Stuart McCutcheon, the vice chancellor, issued a statement focused on academic freedom. "The vice-chancellor understands the concerns raised ... but believes very strongly in the right of academics to comment on issues in which they have expertise, even when those comments may be controversial," he said.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 3:00am

The Education Department is taking its leaders on the road for a back-to-school bus tour focusing on education and the economy. Martha Kanter, the under secretary of education, will spend today at Monroe Community College, in Rochester, N.Y., discussing public-private partnerships and "cradle-to-career" education reform. Other department officials, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, are touring Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois as part of the bus tour, the department's second such effort. Last year's trip focused on the South and the Northeast.

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