The University of Pennsylvania has received a $225 million gift from Raymond and Ruth Perelman for its medical school, which will be renamed in their honor, The New York Times reported. The funds will support scholarships, faculty positions and research.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Saint Paul's College, in Virginia, announced Tuesday that it will eliminate its entire intercollegiate athletic program as a money-saving move, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Saint Paul's currently has seven teams for men and seven for women.
The American Council on Education and other higher education groups are asking federal officials for flexibility on visa and other rules for the approximately 2,000 Libyan nationals studying in the United States, many of them with family members. The letter from the council noted that most of these students are funded by the Libyan government, and are currently unable to obtain funds or to return home.
Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, on Tuesday announced a suit against JLF University Inc., which she said defrauded medical and nursing students by telling them incorrectly that the institution's graduates could become eligible for licenses to practice in Florida. In fact, the graduates are not eligible because the university is not accredited or approved by the state. Bondi's statement said that the owner tried at one point to let the students who made an additional payment "transfer" to a nursing program owned by his wife. The Sun Sentinel reported that JLF's main offices are in Haiti and that the phone numbers for the university had been disconnected.
The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a budget bill for higher education that would cut funds for any institution by 5 percent for offering benefits for any partners not based on marriage (which in Michigan is not available to same-sex partners). The measure is not in a Senate version of the bill, but many senators have previously opposed domestic partner benefits, which are offered by many Michigan universities. Michael A. Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council of State Universities in Michigan, said that the benefits are an important tool to recruit talent to the universities, in much the same way that many of the largest businesses in Michigan offer the benefits. He said that, aside from the policy question, the legislation intruded on the autonomy of the universities.
A second legislative committee in Louisiana on Monday approved a proposal to merge Southern University at New Orleans with the University of New Orleans, The Times-Picayune reported. The measure, strongly opposed by advocates for historically black Southern, now moves to a House vote.
Federal spending on career training for adults has an enormous return on investment, and the government should be stepping up, not planning to cut, its expenditures in that area, a new report argues. The report, by the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education and the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation, comes at a time when lawmakers are beginning work on a 2012 budget that could dramatically cut spending on adult and career education.
The Executive Committee of the board of the City University of New York voted Monday evening to authorize the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to award an honorary degree to Tony Kushner, reversing a controversial board decision of a week ago. The previous vote -- prompted by a single trustee who said Kushner was anti-Israel -- angered many faculty members and other artists and intellectuals who said that Kushner's views on Israel were irrelevant to the reason he was being honored (as a playwright) and that the trustee had distorted Kushner's views. Many faculty members also criticized other CUNY officials for remaining silent while Kushner was attacked at the meeting.
At Monday night's meeting, Matthew Goldstein, the chancellor of CUNY, offered a strong endorsement of honoring Kushner. "As anyone who has experienced Mr. Kushner’s work knows, he is not afraid to provoke, to reveal emotion at the gut level, but always to the higher purpose of creating for audiences the chorus of voices and complexity of intent that define our collective humanity," Goldstein said. "His expression is grounded in compassion, empathy, and intellectual rigor. In the spirit of all great artists, he challenges orthodoxy, confronts assumptions, and tests certainties, and, in so doing, ignites our imaginations, illuminates issues and ideas, and expands our vision — whether or not we agree with him, whether or not we take exception to some of his conclusions. I believe that in many ways this is also the highest ideal of the university — a search for knowledge and understanding that values questions, dialogue, and dissent."