Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Friday that it has cited Saint Mary’s College of California with a failure to monitor its men’s basketball program after a head coach was found to have knowledge of a former assistant coach providing impermissible benefits to recruits. The benefits, mostly centered on an international prospect, included travel, local transportation and the arrangement of host family accommodations, the public infractions report said. The assistant coach also provided private financial information to a second international prospect who was trying to get a student visa. The NCAA Committee on Infractions said the head coach was aware of the team’s impermissible training from non-college employees and some of the recruiting violations and ignored “red flags” that should have prompted “heightened vigilance,” such as the assistant coach’s previous dismissal from a two-year college because of improprieties.

The head coach, Randy Bennett, was also charged with failure to monitor and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance, and the former assistant coach was charged with unethical conduct.

Penalties for Saint Mary’s include public reprimand and censure; four years’ probation beginning March 1; a five-game suspension for the head coach during the 2013-14 season; a prohibition of off-campus recruiting for the head coach during next season; a two-year show-cause order for the former assistant coach, meaning that any college that wants to hire him must make its case to the NCAA; reduction of team scholarships from 13 to 11 for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons; elimination of foreign tours by the team until the 2017-18 season; prohibition on multiple-team events until the 2015-16 season; and prohibition on skill instruction during the 2013-14 season, meaning no coaches may be present during training.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The board of the University of Virginia is once again taking steps that raise questions about micromanaging and undercutting President Teresa Sullivan, The Washington Post reported. The board and Sullivan recently exchanged drafts about the goals on which her performance will be evaluated. Helen Dragas, a board member who last year engineered the aborted move to oust Sullivan, gave Sullivan a highly detailed list of 65 goals. Sullivan responded by noting that university presidents typically receive broad goals from their boards, not detailed lists. Sullivan also responded -- according to e-mail messages the Post obtained -- by noting that 22 of Dragas's goals had not previously been discussed, that several required board action, and that one “requires me to do something that the General Counsel tells me I am not legally authorized to do.”

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Kristin Bluemel of Monmouth University explains the appeal of early 20th-century books illustrated by female engravers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:00am

The chair of architecture at the University of Utah, Prescott Muir, has agreed to stay on, reversing his decision to leave the position, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Muir's departure was widely blamed by students and faculty members on Brenda Case Scheer, dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at Utah. She issued an apology for making decisions about Muir "without full information," and that apology cleared the way for Muir to stay on.

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 3:00am

William Stewart has resigned as a trustee of Southwestern College, a community college in California, saying that the administration was not providing accurate information to trustees or the faculty union with which it is negotiating. The college's student newspaper, The Sun, published the resignation letter, in which Stewart said that "without information, without all information, oversight is a sham." Stewart is a philosophy professor at San Diego City College. A spokeswoman for Southwestern told NBC 7 San Diego that "we would have to respectfully disagree with" Stewart's statement. "We've been providing all the budget information the board and the union has asked for. We're just sorry he chose to resign."

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Tensions are growing over the board of the Southern Illinois University System, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn removed three trustees. They all happened to be trustees who blocked another terms as board chair for an appointee of the governor's. Now, board members, administrators and politicians are all raising questions about the way the board functions.

 

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:00am

The president of Saint Louis University, Rev. Lawrence Biondi, sent a conciliatory letter Wednesday to faculty members and students, many of whom have been calling for his ouster, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Father Biondi pledged to be more collaborative, to work to improve the faculty role in governance, and to increase faculty and staff salaries. Faculty leaders say they want to see evidence that he will carry out the pledges. “I think people don’t have enough information to know if this is sincere or not,” said Ellen Carnaghan, chair of political science. “At this point, words are not enough.”

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:00am

WASHINGTON – The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday and now headed to President Obama’s desk to be signed, includes the Campus SaVE Act, a provision that will require more crime reporting and sexual assault prevention measures. Higher education and civil rights groups have been pushing Congress since last year to pass a version of the bill that would expand more protections to college students.

The House’s vote to pass the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA ends a long, contentious political battle over whether to include LGBT, Native American and immigrant victims (the House didn't want to). With the passage of the SaVE Act, colleges will be required to report instances of dating violence and stalking in addition to other crimes they must already report under the Clery Act. They must also strengthen procedures for notifying victims of their legal rights and maintain campuswide policies for addressing and preventing sexual assault.

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 4:24am

Many admissions officers, not to mention college presidents, have for years complained that prospective students focus too much on "sticker price" (stated prices of a college) rather than the actual cost to students and families (which may be considerably lower than sticker price, once aid is factored in). A new survey by the Art & Science Group and the College Board of SAT test-takers finds that the frustration is likely to remain. More than half (54 percent) of students reported that they judge a college's cost by sticker price without considering financial aid. And the survey was conducted in last 2012, after much publicity over the availability of "net price calculators," which allow those who share basic financial information to find out how much aid they would receive at a given college.

 

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 3:00am

Bridgepoint Education Inc. announced Thursday that its Ashford University has been placed "on notice" by the for-profit college's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The sanction, which is less serious than probation, is based on the commission's concerns about Ashford's inability to meet new standards for accreditation, which the commission put into effect in January, as well as Ashford's current noncompliance with the accreditor's "substantial presence policy" (which requires institutions to have a meaningful physical presence in the agency's geographic region), according to a Bridgepoint corporate filing. Ashford last year had its bid rejected for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. And the commission's sanction follows a site team's recommendation last week that the University of Phoenix be put on probation.

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