Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 19, 2016

Baylor University's football team defeated that of Rice University Friday night, but the Rice band may have attracted the most attention. In an attempt to remind Baylor fans of the university's now admitted mishandling of numerous sex assault charges against athletes, the band formed a IX (as a reference to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) in front of the Baylor fan area. The IX was followed by a star formation, while playing the song "Hit the Road, Jack," an apparent reference to Ken Starr, who left the presidency of Baylor amid the scandal of the university's handling of sex assaults.

Rice issued a statement Saturday distancing itself from the band's performance, saying, "The Marching Owl Band, or MOB, has a tradition of satirizing the Rice Owls’ football opponents. In this case, the band’s calling attention to the situation at Baylor was subject to many different interpretations. Although the band’s halftime shows are entirely the members’ projects with no prior review by the university administration, we regret any offense, particularly if Baylor fans may have felt unwelcome in our stadium. While we know that the MOB did not intend in any way to make light of the serious issue of sexual assault, we are concerned that some people may have interpreted the halftime performance in that vein. Sexual assault is a matter of serious concern on campuses across the nation, and all of us have an obligation to address the matter with all the tools at our disposal. The MOB sought to highlight the events at Baylor by satirizing the actions or inactions of the Baylor administration, but it is apparent from the comments of many spectators and Baylor fans that the MOB’s effort may have gone too far."

September 19, 2016

Paine College announced on Saturday that it would sue the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools after its college commission rejected Paine's appeal of SACS' June decision to strip the college's accreditation. The regional accrediting agency said at the time that Paine had failed to comply with several standards related to its financial standing and operations.

"We are disappointed that SACSCOC chose to ignore the voluminous evidence demonstrating that Paine College is a vibrant, financially stable institution," said Barbara E. Bouknight, chair of Paine's Board of Trustees. "It is deeply distressing that SACSCOC has removed us from membership when our financial condition has improved so markedly over the last few years. We are also deeply disturbed by the process that led to this result."

September 19, 2016

Wesleyan University in Connecticut settled with a professor who accused it of botching a sexual harassment claim against a former dean. Lauren Caldwell, an associate professor of classical studies, sued Wesleyan earlier this year for allegedly mishandling her report of sexual harassment by Andrew Curran, a professor of romance languages and literature. Curran was dean of arts and humanities at the time of the alleged harassment, which Caldwell said included inappropriate sexual references and calling her “white trash.” The university did not follow protocols in dealing with her complaint, according to Caldwell’s suit, and she was eventually singled out for disparate treatment both by Curran and other administrators in retaliation for coming forward. A judge dismissed Caldwell’s suit after lawyers reported the settlement, according to the Associated Press. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A Wesleyan spokesperson declined comment.

September 19, 2016

Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today our latest print-on-demand compilation, "The Future of Educational Materials and the Role of the College Bookstore." You may download the booklet, free, here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on the themes of the booklet, on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. Eastern.

September 19, 2016

George Washington University announced Saturday that it was dismissing its men's basketball coach, Mike Lonergan, amid charges that he had verbally abused players and acted irrationally. The Washington Post reported in July that some of the head coach's players had complained to administrators about how he treated them, following a significant number of transfers to other institutions in recent years. Lonergan dismissed the players' complaints at the time as anonymous griping.

The university's statement, from Provost Forrest Maltzman, said that its investigation into the charges "concluded that Coach Lonergan had engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university’s values."

September 19, 2016

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center today released a virtually comprehensive look at how long it took American college graduates in 2015 to earn their degrees. The new report is based on completion data for two million students who that year earned either an associate or bachelor's degree. It includes information on students who previously dropped out or transferred, which many other data sets struggle to capture.

The time-to-degree numbers include both students' active academic enrollment time and calendar years. Doug Shapiro, the center's executive research director, said the report is based in part on a complex measure devised to account for active enrollment, including factors such as part-time enrollment, colleges' varying academic schedules and students who were enrolled concurrently in multiple institutions.

On average, bachelor's degree earners from four-year, public institutions spent 5.2 academic years of full-time equivalent enrollment over a span of 5.6 calendar years. Students graduating from four-year private colleges took slightly less time to earn degrees: 4.8 academic years over 5.4 calendar years. Four-year for-profits had an average time to degree of 5.8 years across 8.8 calendar years.

On the community college side, the associate-degree earner had an average of 3.3 academic years of enrollment over 5.6 calendar years.

“Each additional term or semester has the potential to increase the cost to the student, both through forgone earnings and additional tuition expenses,” Shapiro said in a written statement. “Yet, spells of part-time enrollment and nonenrollment often enable students to mitigate these effects by combining earning and learning. Families and policy makers need to plan accordingly for this new reality.”

September 19, 2016

At Saturday's football game at Pennsylvania State University, the university played videos that honored the career of the late Joe Paterno on the 50th anniversary of when he became head football coach. In recent weeks, many outside Penn State have criticized the university's plans to honor Paterno, citing his failure to intervene to stop Jerry Sandusky, one of his top assistants, from abusing boys. At the game Saturday, Penn State fans gave the videos a standing ovation. But many fans of Temple University, the opponent in the football game, turned their backs, saying that Paterno had done that to Sandusky's victims.

September 19, 2016

The University of Delhi School of Economics has prevailed in a copyright lawsuit brought by three major publishers over the sale of photocopied books and pages. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis in 2012 sued the university and Rameshwari Photocopy Service, located on its north campus. The suit imposed a ban on the shop from selling course packs. The Delhi High Court dismissed the suit on Friday, writing that copyright is not a "divine" right, but "designed rather to stimulate activity and progress in the arts for the intellectual enrichment of the public." The ruling is expected to set a precedent in Indian copyright law, according to legal observers.

September 19, 2016

A British academic scheduled to give a series of lectures at Birzeit University, a Palestinian institution in the West Bank, was denied entry to Israel last week, according to a statement released by Birzeit.

According to the statement, Adam Hanieh, a senior lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, was held for questioning for 10 hours at the airport in Tel Aviv and taken to an overnight detention center before being deported back to London on the morning of Sept. 13. He was also barred from entering the country for 10 years.

Via email, Hanieh said he was not given any specific reason for the denial of entry. He said he was provided with a notice, issued by the Ministry of Interior, citing as a general reason “public security or public safety or public order considerations.”

Birzeit condemned the deportation of Hanieh in its statement, describing it as “part of a systematic policy of denial of entry to international academics, professionals and activists intending to visit Palestine.”

September 19, 2016

Today on the Academic Minute, Claire Vallotton, associate professor in the department of human development and family studies at Michigan State University, examines what effect a good dad can have on kids. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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