With regularity, new studies document the dangers to college students of binge drinking, generally defined as four drinks at a time for women and five for men. But today new research being released at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association reports that college students who binge drink are happier than those who do not. Carolyn L. Hsu, an associate professor of sociology at Colgate University, and Landon Reid, a law student at New York University, surveyed nearly 1,600 students at a residential liberal arts college that was not identified. The survey found that those students who engaged in binge drinking were happier than those who were not. Further, "higher status" groups on the campus (wealthy, white, male, heterosexual and Greek students, among others) were more likely than others to binge drink and to be happy about it. And students from "lower status" groups, if they engaged in binge drinking, were happier than were their counterparts who didn't engage in binge drinking.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Oregon has paid $25,000 to a political consulting firm to try to influence a student vote in October on whether to impose a new fee to finance renovations of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Administrators want the students to authorize the fee, but they have twice rejected the idea. A memo about the consultants' work obtained by The Register-Guard said that critics would be described as "narrow minded" and "stubborn." Student leaders are criticizing the decision to hire the consulting firm, saying that students should be able to express their views without an expensive campaign to influence them.
Taiwan's Cabinet has approved draft legislation to ease the regulations for universities to hire foreign academics, Focus Taiwan News reported. Officials are concerned about brain drain and want to make it possible to attract more foreign talent.
The University of Georgia newspaper board has backed down on asserting the direction of The Red and Black, the student newspaper, The Associated Press reported. Last week, the student editors and staff walked out to protest board guidance that they said took away their control and encouraged them to minimize hard-hitting journalism. With the withdrawal of the guidance and an apology from the board, the students are starting to return to their former positions at the paper.
A newly released poll of influential types, including lawmakers, gave President Obama better marks than Mitt Romney on education policy. The poll, which was conducted by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm, focused mostly on K-12 issues. However, it found that a Romney administration probably would not seek to substantially revise student aid policies. Respondents also said for-profit colleges should be somewhat concerned about a second term for Obama.
The University of Colorado at Boulder announced Thursday that it will ban guns from undergraduate dormitories. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in March ordered the university to allow those with permits to carry a concealed weapon to bring it on campus. But the University of Colorado Board of Regents has said that, consistent with the decision, the campuses could still develop some rules. Boulder will let those with a concealed weapons permit bring guns into graduate housing, provided the weapons are kept in a safe when not being carried.
Jim Donnan, who was head football coach of Marshall University and the University of Georgia, was charged by federal regulators Thursday with running a Ponzi scheme that took money from fellow coaches and former players, The New York Times reported. Donnan is accused of, in collaboration with an Ohio businessman, cheating investors out of $80 million. A lawyer for Donnan did not respond to calls seeking comment.
People with student loans to repay, on average, might not qualify for mortgages because they have too much debt, according to a report the advocacy group Young Invincibles released Tuesday. The group said that the average single debtor, with consumer debt, student loans and a mortgage, would have a debt-to-income ratio of nearly 50 percent -- too high to qualify for many mortgages. The report, which used average credit card payment minimums, average student loan payments and a range of household incomes, found that student debtors making the median salary for college graduates could have trouble getting a mortgage.
"At least for a time, they can be completely cut out of the market," the group wrote, warning of the economic consequences of such a barrier.