Higher Education Quick Takes
The New York City Police Department not only monitored Muslim student groups at colleges in New York City, but tracked them at colleges outside city limits, the Associated Press reported. Police officers took steps to monitor students at colleges including the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, went on a whitewater rafting trip to meet some students, and talked to authorities in Buffalo about a professor.
A federal jury on Friday awarded more than $1 million to three women who sued Alabama State University, charging their supervisor there with various forms of harassment, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. A supervisor -- who was black -- repeatedly used the word "nigger" in interacting with the three plaintiffs, two black women and one biracial woman, the suit charged. The supervisor also was accused of referring to one of the women as a "white bitch," and of suggesting that she strip to show how many tattoos she has on her body. The university is considering an appeal.
The colleges in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I voted last week to uphold their ability to award multiyear scholarships to athletes, narrowly rejecting an effort by some of the division's members to block such grants. The multiyear scholarship rule was one of several that the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors approved in a burst of legislative activity last fall aimed at quelling concerns about rule breaking and about the association's treatment of athletes -- and one of two rules that significant numbers of Division I members sought to block because of concerns that they would favor wealthier programs and conflict with how most institutional financial aid is awarded, among other reasons. The NCAA's governance process provides a mechanism in which the division's members can formally vote to override decisions by the Division I board.
Last week's vote on the multiyear scholarship rule would have required a five-eighths majority of Division I members to block it from taking effect. But only 205 of the 330 participating colleges and conferences -- two short of the 207 needed -- opposed the scholarship plan. Twenty-five institutions and leagues did not vote. "I am pleased that student-athletes will continue to benefit from the ability of institutions to offer athletics aid for more than one year," said the NCAA's president, Mark Emmert. "But it's clear that there are significant portions of the membership with legitimate concerns. As we continue to examine implementation of the rule, we want to work with the membership to address those concerns."
Maryland's higher education system is among the country's strongest in college attainment and productivity, but is leaving the state's minority and low-income populations behind, a report from a research center at the University of Pennsylvania states. The report, from Penn's Institute for Research on Higher Education, is the third in a series of five examining higher education performance and governance in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Washington.
Dozens of students at Kean University walked out of class Thursday and marched to protest the decision of the institution's board to keep Dawood Farahi as president even though several of his résumés contained inaccuracies, The Star-Ledger reported. Students said that they were outraged that the board did not see the issue as one over which a president should be dismissed. A board statement said that trustees were concerned, but that they saw the issue as an old one, and not sufficient to end what they consider to be a successful presidency.
Michael Reilly, who heads a council of Washington State's six public university presidents, was named Wednesday as the new executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. In his current role, Reilly represents the interests of the six universities before state leaders. He previously served in admissions and student affairs roles at California's Humboldt State University; Central Washington, Washington State and Seattle Universities in Washington; and Iowa State University. At AACRAO, where he'll begin work June 1, Reilly will succeed Jerry Sullivan.
American University adjuncts have voted to unionize and to be represented by the Service Employees International Union. A memo from the university's provost, Scott A. Bass, said that the vote to unionize was 379 to 284. The memo said that the university would respect the vote, and would not file any appeals of the election. The SEIU Local 500 website includes statements from numerous adjuncts about why they wanted a union.
The Education Department's advisory committee on accreditation is seeking comment on a draft of its final recommendations for Education Secretary Arne Duncan on how the system of higher education quality assurance might be revamped. The draft final report, which was published in Friday's Federal Register, was previewed in an article on Inside Higher Ed this month. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity will solicit comment on the draft report and then hold an April 13 teleconference to discuss and possibly act on the report.