The obituaries of Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, noted that the late British prime minister had enormous influence on her country -- with many divided about whether that influence was for the good. An article in Times Higher Education quoted supporters of Thatcher saying that she had promoted accountability and efficiency in ways that have had a positive impact. But the article also noted criticism from others that her budget policies started an erosion of the quality of Britain's universities.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Iowa Senate on Monday rejected two nominees of Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, for the Board of Regents, The Des Moines Register reported. The votes were largely along party lines, with Democrats opposing the nominees, who fell short of the two-thirds majority required for confirmation. Critics of the nominees cited concerns over whether they would be supportive of academic freedom, but Branstad and other Republicans said that the nominees were treated unfairly.
Wikipedia editors have been complaining about a University of Toronto psychology professor who encouraged students in a class of 1,900 to start posting entries, The Canadian Press reported. Some editors complained about entries that needed corrections, or that were plagiarized. Some even suggested banning entries from university IP addresses. But the professor pointed out that only 33 of the 910 articles submitted by his students were flagged for review.
Rutgers University will commission an independent review of “the circumstances surrounding the men’s basketball program as well as the procedures used to investigate allegations related to former head coach Mike Rice,” officials announced Monday. The review will look at how Rice’s behavior was addressed, form recommendations on how Rutgers can “improve,” and should move forward quickly, President Robert Barchi and Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo said in a joint statement.
Four Rutgers officials, including Rice and the former athletics director Tim Pernetti, have been fired or resigned since video of Rice physically and verbally abusing players at practice was made public last week. Izzo revealed Friday that the chair of the board’s Governors Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics had – like the ousted officials -- seen the video back in December but failed to act, and at least one state senator called on him to resign.
A committee of Colorado's House of Representatives killed legislation Monday that would have allowed the state's community colleges to offer four-year degrees, citing concerns about whether the state could afford to create new degree programs, the Associated Press reported. Most of Colorado's university leaders had opposed the bill, which officials of the Colorado Community College System said would allow programs only in fields where there was no competition with existing four-year institutions.
Boston University has been caught up in a messy fight over a collection of papers, videotapes and film reels of the independent filmmaker Mark Rappaport, The Boston Globe reported. Rappaport gave the materials to Ray Carney, a film professor at BU, in 2005. But Rappaport said he believed that he was turning over the materials for storage while he was going to be out of the country. But Carney has treated the agreement as a gift of the materials to him. With many film luminaries signing a petition demanding that Carney return the materials, some faculty members at BU fear that the reputation of their film program is being hurt by the dispute.
Valencia College has a national reputation as a leading community college, but President Sandy Shugart and some trustees have appeared to be having tense relations of late. The Orlando Sentinel reported on e-mails from Guillermo Hansen, one of the trustees who have been critical of Shugart. Hansen complained in an e-mail about his daughter not being interviewed for a job at the college. In addition he complained about the college not moving to advertise publications that might reach Latino students. Hansen is the owner and editor of a bilingual publication for Latinos. Hansen said that he was raising legitimate issues of importance to the college and its students.
Legislation in North Carolina would remove the state income tax break for parents if their children register to vote with a residence other than the home of their parents, WRAL News reported. The bill was apparently designed to discourage students from voting in the college towns in which many of them live.
Officials of Northern Kentucky University on Friday revealed why Scott Eaton was fired last month as athletics director: a series of affairs. NKY.com reported that over a period of years, he had four affairs with women who were university employees and one with a student. Two of the employees worked in jobs that fell under his authority.
The University of Arizona has announced an 11 percent cut in tuition for in-state residents and an 8 percent cut for out-of-state residents -- even as most other students at the university will be paying 3 percent more next year. The Arizona Daily Star reported that the press release said that the cuts were "part of the college's larger plan to help students manage law school costs." But the newspaper noted what was left out of the press release: Enrollment of first-year students dropped 14 percent last fall, and applications are down 35 percent since 2005.