Faculty members at Essex County College have voted no confidence, 101 to 6, in Edythe Abdullah, who is in her first year as president, The Star-Ledger reported. The resolution adopted called her "unresponsive, indecisive, untimely and an untrustworthy administrator." Much of the anger, the newspaper reported, came from Abdullah's push for more of a role in evaluating candidates for tenure, delaying the process for those professors up for promotion this year. Abdullah told the Star-Ledger, "Maybe I’ve gotten off to a rocky start in doing that. Maybe there have been some mistakes. Maybe I don’t understand the political culture enough here to have as smooth a start as I would have liked."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Education Department announced Tuesday that it is fining Virginia Tech $55,000 for violations of federal laws in the university's response to the mass killings that took place there on April 16, 2007. The fine focuses on the university's failure to immediately warn students of the danger -- after the university learned of the first shooting. Virginia Tech officials have maintained that they acted based on the best information they had at the time, and that they did not realize the potential for the killings that would take place later in the day.
The Apollo Group on Tuesday announced a quarterly loss and enrollment declines at the University of Phoenix that were largely attributable to changes in the for-profit institution's policies aimed at ensuring that more of the students it enrolls can succeed academically. The company's announcement of its second quarter results drove down its stock price, Bloomberg reported. Apollo saw enrollment of new students in University of Phoenix degree programs fall by 45 percent from a year ago, and said its policy of requiring new students with few academic credits to enroll in a free orientation program to see if they are cut out for college-level work had suppressed enrollments in the short term but put it "on a path of more consistently delivering high quality growth" in the future. Phoenix, as the biggest and most visible player in the for-profit higher education sector, has been under intense scrutiny amid discussion of increased federal regulation, and it has put in place a series of changes (including changing how it compensates recruiters), its officials have said, to try to lead the industry in a new direction.
Faced with a pending vote of no confidence, the president of Florida's Edison State College has agreed to reassign a senior administrator with whom faculty members said they could no longer work effectively, the Naples Daily News reported. The removal of James Browder as senior vice president was one of a series of concessions that President Kenneth Walker reportedly made after a Faculty Senate meeting at the Florida college boiled over and set up a vote of no confidence in Walker, the newspaper reported. Among the other concessions was an agreement to consider the re-hiring of another senior official, Steve Atkins, who resigned this month after Browder was promoted from a vice president's position.
The University of Southern California may discipline the students involved in photographs -- which went viral Tuesday -- showing a couple having sex on the roof of a university building, the Los Angeles Times reported. University policy bars unauthorized access to the roofs of buildings. The photographs are available here.
Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College, on Tuesday sent a letter to Governor Paul LePage of Maine to criticize his decision to remove a mural depicting Maine's labor history from the state Department of Labor building. Governor LePage said that the mural was too pro-labor. Pasquerella wrote that many Mount Holyoke alumnae were concerned about the situation because the mural includes Frances Perkins, an alumna who was a key figure in Maine and U.S. labor history. The governor also removed the Perkins name from a conference room in the labor building. "I was particularly surprised to read that you were influenced by an anonymous fax comparing the 11-panel mural to North Korean political propaganda, because the act of removing images commemorating Maine's history itself conjures thoughts of the rewriting of history prevalent in totalitarian regimes," wrote Pasquerella. "If the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, why can't she be honored with a conference room in Augusta?"
A think tank in Michigan has filed state open records requests seeking e-mail messages to and from labor studies scholars at three universities, related to the skirmishing over public employee unions in Wisconsin, according to the blog Talking Points Memo. In the wake of the controversial filing of a similar request for the e-mail records of a leading scholar at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy submitted requests under the state Freedom of Information Act to policy centers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University. The requests seek e-mails since early January that include the words "Scott Walker" (Wisconsin's governor), "Wisconsin," "Madison" and "Maddow" (for the MSNBC commentator Rachel).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday overturned a lower court's ruling that could have forced the University of Chicago to turn over invaluable Persian antiquities to a group of people suing Iran. Chicago has the antiquities on a long-term loan and has pledged to return them to Iran, but was temporarily blocked from doing so by a suit by American victims of a terrorist attack in Israel, who sued to recover Iranian assets in the United States after winning a finding that Iran was responsible for the attack. The appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs' approach (and the lower court's ruling) failed to recognize the protections the United States grants to the property of foreign countries. The University of Chicago and museum groups have worried that the lower court's ruling, if upheld, would discourage countries from allowing any objects of value to travel to the United States for any reason -- potentially limiting intellectually valuable scholarship or art exhibits.
EverFi Inc., a company that offers schools and colleges online programs on financial literacy, student loan management and other subjects, is today announcing that it has acquired Outside the Classroom, which operates AlcoholEdu, an online program for college students that has become a popular tool for colleges to use to discourage alcohol abuse. (EverFi's CEO, Tom Davidson, previously served on the board of Inside Higher Ed.)