The American Bar Association has imposed a public censure on the law school of Villanova University over its past practice of reporting inaccurate grades and LSAT scores of incoming students in an apparent bid to improve its standing in the rankings, The ABA Journal reported. The sanctions could have been worse, up to removing Villanova from the list of ABA-approved law schools. But the ABA settled for a public censure because the law school determined who was involved in the deception, and none of those people are still employed there.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Texas Investment Management Company, which manages one of the largest university endowments, is increasing its use of derivatives as a hedge against an economic crisis that could seriously hit the fund, Bloomberg reported. Officials are worried about such possibilities as a massive European default or a collapse of the dollar.
North Dakota may finally be ready to cave on the "Fighting Sioux" name and imagery for athletic teams of the University of North Dakota. A new state law required the university to maintain the name, regardless of sanctions from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. But NCAA officials have now made clear they won't budge, and North Dakota doesn't want the sanctions, such as being unable to host postseason competition. North Dakota's Board of Higher Education voted Monday to retire the name, and state legislation is expected to follow later this year, the Associated Press reported.
Baltimore International College, a nonprofit college that focuses on culinary and hospitality education and was recently informed that it was losing its accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, is merging into a for-profit institution based in Virginia, The Baltimore Sun reported. Stratford University has many similar programs and is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. So if the merger is approved by Maryland officials, Baltimore International's students would continue to be attending an accredited college, and thus be eligible for federal student aid.
For about 48 hours this weekend, it appeared as if the chaos that reigns every few years when the college conferences that play big-time college sports start raiding one another's members was about to resurface. Word that Texas A&M University's Board of Regents would meet today to consider leaving the Big 12 Conference (still healing from the last round of league shifting) for the Southeastern Conference brought condemnation from Big 12 officials who viewed Texas A&M as breaking a commitment and from commentators who said it possible upheaval showed that no one is in control in college football. The prospective move by Texas A&M to become the Southeastern league's 13th member was seen as a precursor to the SEC raiding other conferences for a 14th member (if not 15th and 16th members), causing yet another round of money-fueled competition aimed at attracting bigger television contracts.
Sunday afternoon, though, the SEC's presidents announced that they would not look to add any additional members -- at least not right now. “The SEC presidents and chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment,” said Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida and chairman of the league's presidents. “We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion.”
John Sharp, former Texas comptroller, is expected to be named Monday as the next chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, The Austin American-Statesman reported. Sharp would be the latest in a series of former politicians named to lead higher education systems in Texas.
Arizona is a pivotal state in the national debate about immigration policy, but the state's approach has encouraged one academic expert to leave. Gabriel (Jack) Chin, who has been an outspoken critic of Arizona's approach, has left his law professorships at the University of Arizona for one at the University of California at Davis, The Sacramento Bee reported. "The Arizona Legislature's passed laws that I see as harsh, cruel and inhumane, and it seems unlikely it's going to stop in the next decade," Chin told the Bee, adding that he and his wife didn't want to raise their daughters in the state.
Three states in India have banned the opening of a film, "Aarakshan," which is in part about India's system of university quotas for members of some disadvantaged groups, The New York Times reported. The system in India is highly controversial, but is enforced by court orders. The name of the film means "reservation," which is how Indians refer to the set-asides for members of certain castes or ethnic groups. The film's website is here, and the trailer follows:
Nikolai Volodin, head of the Pirogov medical school, one of Russia's most prestigious, has been fired for allegedly admitting "ghost students" -- fake students whom would enable the medical school to then control who actually was offered admission, BBC reported. Under reforms adopted in 2009, Russian medical schools are supposed to use uniform admission standards so that the best students are admitted.
Western Kentucky University has banned from campus an incoming freshman who has been planking on campus, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The problem wasn't the planking itself -- a fad of posing flat in unlikely places, and posting photographs online -- but of the planker putting stickers on the spots where he planked. The university considers that act to be defacing property.