Higher Education Quick Takes
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved draft legislation to ease the regulations for universities to hire foreign academics, Focus Taiwan News reported. Officials are concerned about brain drain and want to make it possible to attract more foreign talent.
The University of Georgia newspaper board has backed down on asserting the direction of The Red and Black, the student newspaper, The Associated Press reported. Last week, the student editors and staff walked out to protest board guidance that they said took away their control and encouraged them to minimize hard-hitting journalism. With the withdrawal of the guidance and an apology from the board, the students are starting to return to their former positions at the paper.
A newly released poll of influential types, including lawmakers, gave President Obama better marks than Mitt Romney on education policy. The poll, which was conducted by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm, focused mostly on K-12 issues. However, it found that a Romney administration probably would not seek to substantially revise student aid policies. Respondents also said for-profit colleges should be somewhat concerned about a second term for Obama.
The University of Colorado at Boulder announced Thursday that it will ban guns from undergraduate dormitories. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in March ordered the university to allow those with permits to carry a concealed weapon to bring it on campus. But the University of Colorado Board of Regents has said that, consistent with the decision, the campuses could still develop some rules. Boulder will let those with a concealed weapons permit bring guns into graduate housing, provided the weapons are kept in a safe when not being carried.
Jim Donnan, who was head football coach of Marshall University and the University of Georgia, was charged by federal regulators Thursday with running a Ponzi scheme that took money from fellow coaches and former players, The New York Times reported. Donnan is accused of, in collaboration with an Ohio businessman, cheating investors out of $80 million. A lawyer for Donnan did not respond to calls seeking comment.
People with student loans to repay, on average, might not qualify for mortgages because they have too much debt, according to a report the advocacy group Young Invincibles released Tuesday. The group said that the average single debtor, with consumer debt, student loans and a mortgage, would have a debt-to-income ratio of nearly 50 percent -- too high to qualify for many mortgages. The report, which used average credit card payment minimums, average student loan payments and a range of household incomes, found that student debtors making the median salary for college graduates could have trouble getting a mortgage.
"At least for a time, they can be completely cut out of the market," the group wrote, warning of the economic consequences of such a barrier.
In today’s Academic Minute, Arkhat Abzhanov of Harvard University explains the developmental shift that could have allowed dinosaurs to evolve into modern birds. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
A federal grand jury charged a man who lives in Dublin with sending dozens of bomb threats to the University of Pittsburgh this spring, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The threats led to considerable disruption and worry on the campus. The man who was indicted is in custody. Law enforcement authorities declined to speculate on the motive for all of the threats.
The long, disturbing tale of the Rev. Mark Gruber and Saint Vincent College has apparently come to an end, with a Vatican-imposed penalty barring the former faculty member from the priesthood in response to allegations -- disputed by his supporters and by civil authorities -- that he downloaded child pornography. Gruber, a longtime and widely respected monk and professor of anthropology at the Benedictine college in Pennsylvania, was one of the few campus officials who publicly criticized leaders there during a governance controversy in 2008, reportedly angering the then-president, James Towey, and the Right Rev. Douglas Nowicki, who headed the board of the Saint Vincent Archabbey.
The following fall, college officials barred him from the campus and reported him to local police, saying they had found child pornography on a computer in a common area outside his office. The charges were dropped after police concluded that no images on the computer had been of men under the age of 18, and that the computer was in a common area and many people had access to it. The following year, another Saint Vincent employee came forward and took responsibility for having downloaded the images.
Despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing by Gruber, Saint Vincent officials continued to push for his ouster as a priest through the Vatican. In a statement Tuesday, the Saint Vincent Archabbey said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had found him guilty of "canonical crimes" of possession of child pornography, "production of materials which gravely injury good morals; abuse of the Sacrament of Confession (but not a violation of the sacramental seal); and defamation of a legitimate superior." It ordered him to live the rest of his life in prayer and penitence in a residence chosen by the Vatican, barred him from "exercising any public priestly ministry," and restricted him from any contact with anyone under the age of 18.