Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, December 14, 2012 - 3:00am

Hampden-Sydney College has expelled one student and punished three others for their roles in an ugly gathering involving racial epithets after President Obama was re-elected. The students' guilt and punishments were determined by student courts. The student who was expelled was found guilty of violating college rules against disruptive behavior, harassment and lewd behavior. A statement from the college said: "Hampden-Sydney College reflects the diversity which is America.  Each day, we successfully live, work, and play together. However, we continue to make this community ever more open, accepting, and embracing of our increasing diversity. Our faculty is designing programming to encourage critical thinking about diversity. The Office of Student Affairs is working with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to revisit our residential life program and freshman orientation to ensure that students receive training on becoming 'upstanders' versus 'bystanders.' Most importantly, our student leaders are engaged in serious, thoughtful dialogue, have pledged to respect differences, and are committed to set the example for other students."


Friday, December 14, 2012 - 3:00am

The admissions office at the University of Chicago has received an unusual package -- addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr. (Indiana Jones, in other words). The package, as detailed on the admissions office's blog, included a detailed replica of a journal from a character in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The admissions office is still trying to figure out who sent the package, and why, and has posted some theories.


Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 4:05am

Some arts and sciences faculty members at New York University are pushing for a vote of no confidence in President John Sexton, The New York Times reported. Frustrations concern local issues (an expansion plan) and Sexton's drive to have the university open campuses in locations all over the world, including in countries that lack academic freedom. Sexton's supporters cite the university's increasing ability to attract top students and faculty members. Complicating the discussions at NYU is a debate over whether various bodies have the authority to hold a vote of no confidence.


Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:00am

An Oklahoma State University spokesman said administrators declined to notify police about allegations that a fraternity member had sexually assaulted nearly a dozen new members because it believed the alleged perpetrator was protected under the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act, Oklahoma’s News On 6 reported. The university waited nearly three weeks to go to police, handling the allegations through its own disciplinary procedures at first. FERPA, which explicitly states that the rule should not prevent institutions from approaching police with personally identifiable information about a possible crime, prohibits colleges from releasing identifying information in students’ private educational records. Further, as Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, pointed out on the FERPA Fact blog, universities are required under the Clery Act to issue timely warnings to campus whenever criminal behavior “represents a threat” to people there. Oklahoma State said it found a male student responsible for four sexual misconduct violations; the student has been suspended for three years. Local police are investigating the case.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 4:07am

David Geffen, the entertainment executive and philanthropist, has donated $100 million to the University of California at Los Angeles for scholarships for medical students. UCLA's medical school was named for Geffen in 2002 after he donated $200 million to support it. The new gift is designed to cover all medical school expenses for top students, allowing them to graduate debt-free.


Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Relatively few American families used tax-favored education accounts to save money for college, and those who did disproportionately had higher incomes, the Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Wednesday. The GAO report found that just 3 percent of families had funds in 529 or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts in 2010.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Stephanie Pfirman of Columbia University explains the importance of the geographic area destined to be the last refuge for year-round Arctic sea ice. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 4:09am

Sudan is seeing major student protests this week in the wake of the deaths of four students at Gezira University who participated in a protest over tuition rates, AFP reported. Protest organizers said that the four students were among participants in a peaceful protest that was disrupted by a pro-government student group. University officials said that the students drowned.


Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:00am

California Competes, a group led by U.S. Department of Education veteran Robert Shireman, on Wednesday filed a legal challenge to the shared governance structure of California's community college system. In a filing with the system's Board of Governors, the group seeks to overturn what it asserts are veto powers for local academic senates. The resulting "tangled bureaucracy" has contributed to accreditation crises in the system, the group said, most notably at the City College of San Francisco. Faculty leaders, however, have said that the system's governance structure functions properly and that governing boards have the power to act.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:00am

Kathryn Napper is retiring as dean of undergraduate admissions at George Washington University, after 35 years of work at the institution and one month after the university admitted that, for at least a decade, it had been submitting incorrect data on the high school class rank of its students to U.S. News & World Report for its rankings. An internal announcement of Napper's retirement, effective this month, praised her "loyal and dedicated service," and made no mention of the recent scandal. Napper and GW officials declined to comment on any relationship between her departure and the incorrect rankings data.



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