Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 17, 2014

The University of Wisconsin at Madison on Saturday announced a $100 million gift from John and Tashia Morgridge -- an alumni couple -- to support faculty enhancement. The gift is the university's largest from individual donors. The money will be used to match donations for new and enhanced professorships, chairs and distinguished chairs.

 

November 17, 2014

A new survey has found that about 20 percent of colleges students report that they have at least once abused prescription stimulants, with Adderall and Ritalin the top two drugs. The national survey was sponsored by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

 

November 17, 2014

Vanderbilt University announced Friday that it is working to make the Vanderbilt University Medical Center a "not-for-profit academic medical center that is financially distinct from Vanderbilt University." The announcement said that changes in the economics of health care require more flexibility and independence for the medical center. But the statement from Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos stressed that "the two organizations will remain tightly woven together by mission and the respected Vanderbilt name. The mission of VUMC will not change. It will continue to be at the pinnacle of medical excellence, and be one of the world’s preeminent academic medical centers."

November 17, 2014

On the latest edition of "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free weekly news podcast, the Urban Institute's Sandy Baum explored the signals sent by the College Board's annual report on college tuition and student financial aid. And in our second segment, Brown University President Christina Paxson and Gregory Weight of the Washington Internship Institute discuss recent initiatives by Brown and other institutions to ensure relevant out-of-classroom experience for all students. Sign up here for notification of new "This Week" podcasts.

 

November 17, 2014

Westchester Community College has called off its basketball season amid investigations into alleged transcript fraud by some of its former students who subsequently enrolled at other colleges to play on the teams, The Journal News reported. The New York State Inspector General's Office and the National Junior College Athletic Association are both currently conducting investigations of the college's program.

 

November 17, 2014

The New York Times has published another investigative report detailing special treatment for a Florida State University football player, in this case with the favoritism coming both from the local and university police forces. The report concerns what appears to be an open-and-shut case of hit-and-run by P.J. Williams, the football player, who left the scene of an accident. The Times compares his treatment -- traffic tickets -- with that received by another hit-and-run driver, who faced much more serious charges.

Sports Illustrated reported on how Florida State fans responded by tagging the article as spam, resulting in Twitter briefly blocking links to the article.

 

November 17, 2014

For the second time this year, the American Association of University Professors has criticized program cuts and layoffs at the University of Southern Maine. Earlier this year, AAUP joined an effort to prevent roughly two dozen layoffs. This time around, far more layoffs are on the table: the university’s new president plans to eliminate between a fifth and a sixth of Southern Maine's faculty and roughly a seventh of its staff -- that's 50 professors and 100 staffers -- and to embark on a vast restructuring of its academic departments. AAUP is arguing that the financial rationale for the cuts and the changes is unsound.

November 17, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Jin Montclare, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NYU-Policy discusses work fabricating microfibers from proteins. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 17, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association released several documents Friday in an attempt to provide "important context" to emails recently made public during an ongoing court case that seemingly revealed that the NCAA doubted its authority to punish Pennsylvania State University over the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. The emails, which critics have pounced on in last week, also appeared to show that the association threatened Penn State with the "death penalty" if they did not accept the consent decree, thus agreeing to several sanctions that included vacating years of Penn State wins, suspending the university from participating in postseason games, and fining the institution $60 million. The NCAA has since walked back some of those historic sanctions, including ending Penn State's postseason ban in September, two years earlier than what the sanction had called for.

"When taken out of context, some of this material creates a misleading impression of the important issues related to the consent decree between the NCAA and Penn State,” Erik Christianson, an NCAA spokesperson, said in a statement. “The NCAA believes the full story will emerge at the trial scheduled for January 2015.”

The NCAA also filed a motion Thursday in Pennsylvania state court urging the judge to decide that the consent decree was "not entered into under duress." The documents released Friday by the NCAA were mostly emails the association felt demonstrated that the decree between the NCAA and Penn State was a fair agreement reached by both sides in order to avoid a lengthy and unpredictable infraction process. "I had to weigh accepting this outcome versus what might come with a traditional infractions process in an opinion," Gene Marsh, Penn State's lawyer, wrote in an emial to the NCAA's David Berst. "I laid it all out and gave my opinion, but the call was not mine. I think they made the right choice." Penn State officials said last week that they found it "deeply disturbing that NCAA officials in leadership positions would consider bluffing one of their member institutions" into accepting sanctions outside of the normal infractions process.

 

November 14, 2014

West Virginia University placed a moratorium on all Greek activities Thursday after a "catastrophic medical emergency" occurred at one fraternity chapter and 19 students were cited at another. Last week, Morgantown police arrested three students and cited 16 others for underage possession and consumption of alcohol. All 19 students were pledges of Sigma Chi, and the chapter was suspended. The medical emergency occurred at a separate house early Thursday and required a 911 response, the university said in a statement. The university referred to the student as "gravely ill," but many on campus took to social media on Thursday offering their condolences and saying that the student had died.

The moratorium comes three weeks after the university moved to quickly expel several students involved in a riot near campus -- and at a time when its president, E. Gordon Gee, is trying to clean up the university's hard-partying image. West Virginia joins a growing number of universities, including Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that are imposing systemwide bans of Greek parties and social functions following incidents at one or two houses. "The action to halt fraternity and sorority activities while these matters are being reviewed is being done with the well-being and safety of our students in mind," Corey Farris, dean of students at West Virginia, said. "That is -- and must always be -- our foremost priority."

“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...
“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...
“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...
“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...
“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...
“First, our hearts, prayers and support go out to the student who is gravely ill and his family. Right now that is our utmost concern,” said Dean of Students Corey Farris, Inter-Fraternity Council President Ansh Kumar and Panhellenic Council President Rachel Poe in a joint statement. - See more at: http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/n/2014/11/13/wvu-releases-joint-statement-on-stu...

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