Higher Education Quick Takes
A rally is planned for today at Trinity College in Connecticut following the third racial incident this semester and growing frustration by many minority students, The Hartford Courant reported. In the most recent incident, a minority student reported the use of a slur by a white student who is reported to have thrown a beer at the minority student's car.
Morris Brown College and the U.S. Department of Education are on the verge of a deal that would forgive most of the college's $10 million debt to the government, the Associated Press reported. The debt stems from unused financial aid that was supposed to have been returned to the government. Morris Brown, a historically black institution, lost its accreditation in 2003, and now educates a small fraction of the students it once did. Resolving the federal debt issue is seen as a key step toward efforts to revive the college.
Many colleges are relying on deception to inflate the rosters of women's teams to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, The New York Times reported. Colleges add women to teams even if the women never play or, in some cases, even realize they are on the team, recruit some women by telling them they need not attend practice, and list male "practice players" (who participate in practices) as members of women's squads, the Times reported. Colleges have found it less expensive to create women's slots through increasing the number of alleged athletes on existing teams than to create new teams -- and need to add to their women's totals because the institutions do not want to cut football.
Authorities arrested seven students at Emory University Monday night, following a series of sit-ins, Fox Atlanta News reported. The students are protesting Emory's dealings with a food service provider.
A new law in Washington State has created WGU Washington, a new division of Western Governors University that will offer WGU's competency-based online programs in the state. The new university -- part of an expansion of WGU -- will not receive state funds, and officials believe it will help many students obtain degrees more speedily than they might otherwise. The new branch of WGU is similar to an arrangement started last year in Indiana. In Washington State, some faculty members have objected to the new approach.
The vast majority of colleges and universities line up outside speakers for commencement ceremonies, setting off annual debates over the selections. California State University at Monterey Bay will this year skip the outside speaker for the first time, The Monterey Herald reported. The decision isn't related to the devastating budget cuts facing the California State system, officials said, noting that the university has never paid an honorarium. "It's a decision to try a different approach and try to put the focus on the students and their accomplishments as much as possible," said a spokesman.
The City of Boston has formally asked nonprofit organizations to pay up to 25 percent of the property tax bills they would face if they were not tax-exempt, The Boston Globe reported. Many nonprofits already make "payments in lieu of taxes" in recognition of the demands their students and faculty members place on city services, so some nonprofit leaders (including some of those in higher education) are not concerned by the formal request from the city. Others, however, see the potential for such demands to erode their nonprofit tax status.
The colleges and universities already making voluntary payments -- according to a Globe analysis -- would generally have a ways to go to meet the level demanded by the city. Harvard University currently pays $2.1 million to Boston, but the city wants $5.8 million. Boston University pays $5.1 million now, but the city wants $6.8 million. Northeastern University currently pays a little more than $30,000, but the city wants $4.3 million.
Sally Jackson has resigned as chief information officer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to object to a reorganization of her reporting structure, The News-Gazette reported. Under the shift, the CIOs of the three campuses in the system will no longer report to their respective provosts, but instead to a new university system CIO. The central administration says the shift will promote efficiency and will not distance the CIOs from their campuses, but Jackson and many faculty leaders at Urbana-Champaign object to the reorganization, saying it will shift technology functions from an academic to an administrative focus.
For several days last month, an earringed, mustachioed employee named Pete Weston did a range of jobs (with mixed success) at the University of California at Riverside. Only weeks later did campus employees find out that Weston had actually been Chancellor Timothy P. White, who on May 1 will become the first higher education leader to appear on CBS's "Undercover Boss," which puts corporate (and now campus) chief executive officers in disguise to see how their organizations work from the ground up. White said he learned much about the campus and was "moved and changed as a person" by participating in the hugely popular, if critically unacclaimed, show and seeing the "level of dedication of our students, staff and faculty."