Allen C. Meadors, president of the University of Central Arkansas, on Thursday apologized to trustees who were upset to realize that a $700,000 "gift" from Aramark to renovate the president's home was linked to a contract for the company to provide food services at the university, the Associated Press reported. Meadors asked the trustees to consider rejecting the gift and seeking a new set of bids on the contract to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest. Meadors said that he thought it was common practice for such grants to be linked to contracts.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Stephen Kinzey, an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University at San Bernardino, is a fugitive as authorities seek to press charges related to allegations that he led a group called the Devils Diciples (sic), a motorcycle gang that sold methamphetamine, The Los Angeles Times reported. Sheriff Rod Hoops announced the search for Kinzey at a press conference, saying: “It’s alarming to me -- I have kids in college." Albert Karnig, president of the university, issued a statement in which he said that Cal State was unaware of the allegations until they were announced. "If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing," he said.
Kinzey's Twitter feed indicated that on Wednesday and Thursday, he may have been late for class.
Harvard University has upped to $65,000 the family income level at which students will not need to pay anything to attend the institution. In 2004, Harvard revamped its aid program, and said that students with family income below $40,000 would not need to pay anything. That figure was increased two years later to $60,000.
Julius Nyang'oro has resigned as chair of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but will remain on the faculty, amid reports of possible links between Nyang'oro and a football scandal, reported The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. The resignation followed reports in the News & Observer that Nyang'oro had hired a sports agent to teach a summer class this year without telling his dean about the agent's field of work.
National journalism groups are flocking to criticize the University of Kentucky for cutting off a student newspaper's access to the institution's basketball players. The Associated Press Managing Editors and the Society for Professional Journalists both sent letters to Kentucky officials Tuesday condemning what the APME called the "reprehensible behavior" of Kentucky's athletics department in revoking the access of a Kentucky Kernel reporter to interview men's basketball players at the institution one on one. The decision, the editors wrote, "amounts to no less than an attempt to bully the newspaper into submission and to censor news concerning operations of the University of Kentucky athletic department." Kentucky officials acted after they said the reporter, Aaron Smith, had violated its policies concerning how information regarding walk-on players could be made public.
Wide gaps persist in the graduation rates of Division I football players and other male students, and these gaps are not limited to "football factory" institutions, according to a report released this morning by the College Sport Research Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study found only two conferences in Division I -- the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- in which football players graduated at rates greater than the full-time male student body. The Pac-12 (formerly the Pac-10) had the greatest gap, with football players graduating at a rate 26 points lower than other male students.
Over 76 percent of people in a survey in China said that universities don't disclose enough information about themselves, Xinhua reported. The news service reported that many students say that they must rely on personal networks for basic information. As a result, many students receive inaccurate information, the article said.
Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.
A recent article here explored how West Virginia University and some of the other champion universities at obtaining earmarks are adjusting to a post-earmark era. An article today in The Boston Globe looks at how colleges in Massachusetts -- a state with some universities that do quite well under peer review distribution of grants -- are shifting gears. While many of the colleges are hiring lobbyists to find federal funds, others are laying off workers, accepting that funds won't be as easy to obtain as in the past.