Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 29, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service last week released a report documenting its findings from a series of audits it conducted stemming from a broad, six-year review of tax compliance at hundreds of colleges. The report contained relatively few surprises, given that the revenue service had previewed its conclusions in previous analyses at earlier stages of its comprehensive review. The major findings of the Colleges and Universities Compliance Project Final Report focused, among other things, on colleges' improperly unrelated business income losses from activities that did not qualify because the agency determined that they had not been conducted with the purpose of making a profit.

 

April 29, 2013

Colleges should not retaliate against students who raise a civil rights complaint – either with an individual institution or with the federal government – The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent out last week. “Discriminatory practices are often only raised and remedied when students, parents, teachers, coaches, and others can report such practices to school administrators without the fear of retaliation,” the letter reads. “Individuals should be commended when they raise concerns about compliance with the Federal civil rights laws, not punished for doing so.”

In February, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student said the campus judicial filed charges against her after she spoke out about her rape and what she said was a flawed Honor Court hearing. Administrators initially said they couldn’t intervene because the court is student-run, but UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp suspended the proceedings the following month when the student filed a federal complaint alleging retaliation.

It’s been a little over two years since OCR began cracking down on sexual assault with a dear colleague letter reminding colleges of their responsibilities to address the issue under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In recent months, students have filed Title IX complaints regarding sexual discrimination and subsequent mistreatment by their universities at a handful of institutions, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College and Swarthmore University.
 

April 29, 2013

French studies is fading at many Canadian universities outside of Quebec, The Globe and Mail reported. Relatively few students are signing up for the programs, the article said, and budget cuts have led universities to close or shrink programs with low enrollments.

 

April 29, 2013

After three judicial losses, Quinnipiac University has agreed to retain all of its women’s sports, settling a lawsuit that began in 2011 alleging that the institution violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it attempted to cut volleyball and replaced it with competitive cheerleading. The settlement mandates that the university keep volleyball for at least three more years, and add more women’s scholarships and other benefits, including facilities improvements and full-time coaches. A federal judge first ruled that replacing volleyball with competitive cheerleading violated Title IX in July 2010 because the latter did not qualify as a varsity sport and thus, the university was not providing equal athletic opportunities for women. A U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirmed that ruling in August, and just last month, a federal judge ruled that Quinnipiac had made some progress toward coming into compliance with Title IX but not enough to lift the injunction that prevented Quinnipiac from eliminating volleyball.

April 29, 2013

A California judge ruled Friday that Patrick Harran, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, must stand trial on charges in a lab fire the caused the death of his assistant in 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported. He had sought to have the judge dismiss felony charges of violating state health and safety rules. Harran, backed by the university, has maintained that the death was the result of a tragic accident, not any violations of law.

 

April 29, 2013

The University of New South Wales has announced that it will accept scores from the gaokao, China’s national college entry examination, for direct admission to many of its undergraduate programs, The Australian reported. While the gaokao is commonly criticized for emphasizing rote learning, a 2009 Australian Education International report found that the use of gaokao cut-off scores in admissions could “produce students with outstanding ability.” Several other Australian universities, including La Trobe and Monash Universities and the Universities of Adelaide and Sydney, also accept gaokao scores for direct admission.

April 29, 2013

WASHINGTON -- While the Pell Grant is exempt from the mandatory, across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect in March, other federal higher education grants are not. Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grants, for the children of members of the military killed in action, have been cut back by 10 percent for new recipients beginning March 1, the Education Department announced in guidance issued Friday. TEACH Grants, for students planning to become teachers in high-need areas, have been reduced by 7.1 percent.

April 29, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Steve Yetiv of Old Dominion University explains why U.S. foreign policy is closely tied to foreign and domestic oil production. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

April 29, 2013

Jim Geddes, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, is calling on liberal arts departments at the flagship campus at Boulder to hire more professors who are conservatives, The Daily Camera reported. Boulder has long been seen as a liberal campus, and the university recently filled a new visiting position in conservative thought. But Geddes said that more action is needed. "If I were sending one of my children off to college, I'd tell them I want you to go to a university where you are going to hear smart intellectuals on both sides of issues so you can learn for yourself and form your own opinions," Geddes said. "I wouldn't be in favor of sending my child to a purely conservative university. They've already had that course their whole life living with me." He said that departments that lack conservatives should seek them out and hire them.

 

April 26, 2013

A fraternity video in which a student appeared in blackface has sparked outrage at the University of California at Irvine, CBS Los Angeles reported. The student in blackface is portraying the rapper Jay-Z, and the video was made to welcome new members of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity. “We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone whatsoever," said the fraternity's president. "On behalf of my brothers who were involved in the video, know that it was unintentional. But unintentional or not we do know that it was wrong."

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