Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 22, 2014

The University of Michigan had planned to have a drone deliver the game ball to a football game Saturday, but the Federal Aviation Administration banned the operation, The Detroit News reported. The FAA noted that federal regulations restrict access to airspace over football stadiums seating 30,000 or more fans. The university complied, and called off its plans.

 

September 22, 2014

Eastern Connecticut State University has announced that it no longer requires SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate admissions.

September 22, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Jennie Brand, associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles, takes a look at the effects of job loss on single mothers. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 19, 2014

The Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that a long-time adjunct can pursue her case of age discrimination against Clark College, which passed her over for full-time positions in favor of younger candidates, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that there was evidence both to back the adjunct's claims and those of the college, and that a jury should hear the case. Lower courts had backed the college and rejected the case.

 

September 19, 2014

College of DuPage's full-time faculty union has voted "no confidence" in college President Robert L. Breuder, 189 to 53. Glenn Hansen, president of the National Education Association-affiliated union and a DuPage photography instructor, said Breuder has contributed to an atmosphere of "distrust" on campus. He cited a recent controversy in which the president was revealed, via a leaked email, to have planned to ask the state of Illinois for $20 million in pre-appropriated funding for a building that already had been built using college money. Breuder planned to say the money would go toward another new, $50 million teaching and learning center, even though the estimated cost of construction was only $30 million. Breuder said he was being creative about how to obtain once-promised funds, and the college says that if it ever receives that $20 million, it will be used to "scale" the center plan. (Note: This sentence has been updated from an earlier version, to clarify that the college would use the funds for the center.) But critics said the president was being greedy at the expense of taxpayers.

Joseph Moore, college spokesman, in an email attributed faculty tensions to union contract negotiations going back to 2011, and said that the recent vote was limited to full-time faculty only (the college says it has more than four times as many adjuncts as full-time faculty members, 1303 compared to 305, respectively). He continued: "Overall, the campus climate, as measured in 2014 by a nationally normed employee satisfaction survey administered by an outside agency, is excellent, with scores for 'healthy campus climate' now tying our all-time recorded high.”    

 

September 19, 2014

Legislation approved by the New Jersey Assembly's higher education committee would freeze tuition for state residents for nine consecutive semesters-- whether they attend a public or private college in the state, NJ.com reported. Numerous states have frozen tuition at public colleges, but it would be highly unusual -- and quite possibly unenforceable -- for lawmakers to seek to do so at private nonprofit institutions. The legislation would exempt any institution with an endowment of more than $1 billion from having to adopt any possible freeze; that provision would affect only Princeton University.

Public college officials object to the measure, which they say will leave colleges without sufficient revenue as their funding from the state has declined by 25 percent over a decade. The measure is not expected to gain much traction in the Legislature.

September 19, 2014

Clemson University has suspended an online Title IX training program after the university "learned of concerns about some anonymous questions in the module for undergraduate students," the university announced Thursday. The program, which undergraduates were required to take, included anonymous survey questions asking students about their involvement in athletics and Greek life, their drinking habits, and their sex lives. “The questions are a part of the training so that you may get a sense of the behaviors and experiences of other Clemson students,” said an email from the university, obtained by Campus Reform. “Often, students have an exaggerated perception of the behaviors of their peers, so these questions are in hopes of clarifying those misconceptions.”

The university said that individual responses to the questions were anonymous and could not be seen by Clemson or the program's vendor CampusClarity. "We have suspended the training until the content is further reviewed and revised to ensure that it meets our goal of making Clemson a safer campus for all students, faculty and staff, while also respecting individual privacy," Shannon Finning, dean of students at Clemson, said in a statement.

September 19, 2014

A former Oregon State University employee is in jail, facing charges that she sold 388 university-owned cell phones while she was an employee from 2008 through 2013, The Oregonian reported. The employee was on the IT support staff at the time, and allegedly received $14,465 for the phones.

 

September 19, 2014

Ice cream maker Ben and Jerry's is mulling whether to change the name of one of its flavors after anti-hazing activists said the flavor made light of dangerous hazing incidents on college campuses. "Hazed & Confused," a blend of hazelnut and chocolate ice cream that was released in February, is not a reference to hazing, a company spokesman told Bloomberg, but instead refers to the popular 1993 Richard Linklater film Dazed and Confused and the ice cream's featured ingredient. But when Lianne and Brian Kowiak saw an ad for the flavor six months after its release, they said they were "shocked" and "dismayed." The couple's son died during a hazing ritual in 2008 at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Hank Nuwer, an anti-hazing activist, told readers of stophazing.org to contact the ice cream company with their complaints. Ben and Jerry's told Bloomberg that it only received three emails, but it will consider a name-change anyway. “You hear about things like institutional racism and people will say, ‘You can’t see it because you are living in it, you were raised in it, you were born in it,’” a spokesman said. “This in no way was in reference to hazing at Ben & Jerry’s, but were we doing something that we should have been more aware of?”

September 19, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Joshua Weitz, associate professor of biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, discusses his use of mathematical models to study the changing abundances and traits of natural populations. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

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