Higher Education Quick Takes
The Towson University chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a group that says it promotes traditional American values but that many critics view as anti-minority, caused a furor on the campus last week. The Baltimore Sun reported that the group's members chalked "white pride" in several campus locations. "As a black student, those words scared and concerned me," said Kenan Herbert, president of the Black Student Union. "A lot of other students and I feel unsafe with this organization being on campus." The university says that the chalkings are protected by the First Amendment.
The University of California at Berkeley has demoted Diane Leite, formerly an assistant vice chancellor, for giving several raises to a purchasing manager, Jonathan Caniezo, with whom she was having a sexual relationship, Bay Area News Group reported. The manager's immediate supervisor, who reported to Leite, objected to the raises as inappropriate. Between 2007 and 2010, a period of deep budget cuts for the university, the manager's pay was increased in a series of raises from $70,000 to more than $110,000. Leite and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. Her pay was cut from $188,531 to $175,000.
The University of Calgary student body's new vice president for student life won her election after using an unconventional campaign poster. The Calgary Herald reported that Hayley Wade placed posters seeking votes on top of urinals in men's rooms on campus. Underneath a photograph of the candidate is the tag line "Great dick bro!" While Wade won, the Herald noted that her mother was not pleased with the campaign tactic.
Admissions officers at the University of British Columbia medical schools, one of Canada's top medical schools, report increasing pressure from influential parents of applicants to admit them, The Vancouver Sun reported. Quoting from documents the newspaper obtained, the article cited as an example an applicant who ignored repeated e-mail reminders about deadlines for various materials, but who was allowed to file them late -- after an appeal from her well connected father.
Union supporters in Michigan -- faced with a major setback at the University of Michigan -- are pushing for state constitutional protection. Legislation awaiting the governor's signature would classify graduate research assistants as students, not employees eligible for collective bargaining. If the legislation becomes law, it would undo years of efforts to organize the University of Michigan's research assistants. The Detroit News reported that in response to this and other legislative moves, Michigan unions (many of which aren't focused on higher education) are considering a drive to get a measure on the ballot in the state in which voters could add a provision to the state's Constitution declaring that no state law can limit the right of collective bargaining.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday held a hearing to discuss several proposed bills relating to educational benefits for veterans and military service members. One piece of legislation would expand tuition reimbursement for students who attend out-of-state public institutions under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Another would require colleges to provide more information and counseling to veterans who are prospective students, while also bulking up reporting requirements for student complaints.
Also Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed new legislation that would prohibit some for-profit colleges from being eligible for military tuition aid. The bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, would require that institutions be eligible to receive federal financial aid under Department of Education requirements in order to collect student aid from the G.I. Bill and the military tuition assistance program.
A panel of state legislators in California on Thursday rejected a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce spending on CalGrants, the state's generous financial aid program, the Los Angeles Times reported. Brown's plan would have reduced the amount of state aid that could be used at private and for-profit colleges, and also raised the minimum grade-point average for incoming students to qualify for grants.
Morlan Isom, a star goalkeeper for the women's soccer team at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, was the first female athlete ever named Homecoming Queen when she won that title last fall. Now, she is trying for a different distinction: becoming a kicker on the football team. The Shreveport Times reported that if she makes the team, she would be the first female in big-time college football since 2003.