Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Stephen Kinzey, an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University at San Bernardino, is a fugitive as authorities seek to press charges related to allegations that he led a group called the Devils Diciples (sic), a motorcycle gang that sold methamphetamine, The Los Angeles Times reported. Sheriff Rod Hoops announced the search for Kinzey at a press conference, saying: “It’s alarming to me -- I have kids in college." Albert Karnig, president of the university, issued a statement in which he said that Cal State was unaware of the allegations until they were announced. "If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing," he said.

Kinzey's Twitter feed indicated that on Wednesday and Thursday, he may have been late for class.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Harvard University has upped to $65,000 the family income level at which students will not need to pay anything to attend the institution. In 2004, Harvard revamped its aid program, and said that students with family income below $40,000 would not need to pay anything. That figure was increased two years later to $60,000.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Julius Nyang'oro has resigned as chair of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but will remain on the faculty, amid reports of possible links between Nyang'oro and a football scandal, reported The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. The resignation followed reports in the News & Observer that Nyang'oro had hired a sports agent to teach a summer class this year without telling his dean about the agent's field of work.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department has published guidance about the package of new federal regulations known as its "program integrity" rules, in the form of a new website with questions and answers about each of the regulations: gainful employment, state authorization for institutions that operate outside their borders, and incentive compensation, to name a few.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

The resignation of two senior officials at Columbia University -- both of them African American -- has led to questions from some faculty members about the institution's commitment to diversity, The New York Times reported. The two officials did not cite issues of race in leaving Columbia, and only the second resignation was acrimonious, but faculty members said that they had many questions. June Cross, an associate professor of journalism, said, "I’m not saying race is the issue, but it is the subtext.” Noting the resignation of Michele Moody-Adams as undergraduate dean, in a dispute over authority, Cross said: “Michele Moody-Adams was advertised as, ‘Here’s our commitment to diversity.’ If you’re not going to stand behind what you say you hired her to do, what does that say about your commitment?” Other faculty members -- and President Lee Bollinger -- said that the university has a strong track record on support for diversity, and that the dispute over Moody-Adams did not suggest otherwise.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

Baltimore International College, a nonprofit college that focuses on culinary and hospitality education, is finding it more difficult than expected to save its accreditation by merging into a for-profit institution. After the Middle States Commission on Higher Education revoked recognition, Baltimore International announced plans to merge into Stratford University, with the hope that Maryland officials and Stratford's accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, would approve the switch. But Middle States rejected the college's bid to hold on to its accreditation until a switch can be made, forcing Baltimore International into court this week to obtain a restraining order to stay accredited. Now in order to win an injunction to preserve accreditation from Middle States while it pursues the merger and new accreditation, the college may need to offer evidence that it has quality that Middle States previously doubted, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Friday, September 2, 2011 - 3:00am

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board has rejected a bid by the United Auto Workers for the right to hold an election to unionize graduate research and teaching assistants at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. The ruling cited past findings by the NLRB that graduate student workers at private universities should generally be considered to be students, not employees. However, the ruling also noted that there are ways that the graduate students at NYU-Poly interact with the university as students, and that there are other ways that represent more of an economic relationship. With regard to research assistants, the ruling cited more reasons -- based on their support with external grants -- why they should not be considered eligible for collective bargaining.

The UAW -- which wants a way to challenge the precedents cited in the ruling -- is expected to appeal the decision. Union officials did not respond to e-mail or calls seeking comment. A spokesman for NYU, James Devitt, issued a statement praising the NLRB ruling. "The ruling not only follows the precedent [of the ruling finding teaching assistants to be students] ... but also acknowledges that even if that decision was overturned, research assistants would still not be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act -- a conclusion consistent with four decades of precedent."

The UAW is also seeking to organize teaching assistants at NYU's main campus, and expects to use that case to push for a reconsideration of these issues by the NLRB.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

More than 200 members of United University Professions, the faculty union of the State University of New York, protested at the Canton campus Wednesday over a plan to have a single president (not the current Canton leader) for the Canton and Potsdam campuses, North Country Now reported. Canton faculty members say that savings will be minimal if any, and that the two-campus presidency shouldn't be forced on them. SUNY is a 64-campus system facing deep budget cuts, and system leaders say that they hope to promote efficiency by sharing campus services where possible, including a few presidencies.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, the University of Texas at Austin's Michael Webber discusses how when we waste food, we are also wasting valuable energy. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:00am

Two weeks after the Southeastern Conference put the brakes on intense speculation about an impending round of athletic conference switching, Texas A&M University announced Wednesday that it would leave the Big 12 Conference for another, unnamed sports league -- almost certainly the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M's long-anticipated move could prompt another of the sorts of chain reactions that have occasionally buffeted big-time college sports in recent years. Texas A&M's departure, planned for July 2012, would leave the Big 12 with nine members (after last year's departures of the Universities of Nebraska and Colorado at Boulder), and the Southeastern Conference with an uneven 13. Many commentators expect it to try to add another member for an even 14 to split between its two divisions.

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