Higher Education Quick Takes
The Florida A&M University board voted Thursday for cuts of more than 200 jobs (many of them paid for to date with federal stimulus funds) and the consolidation of many academic programs, and the elimination of others, WCTV News reported. Students have been organizing rallies against the cuts, which the university says are painful but necessary. "We're going to need more than English to make it out there because we're not just competing with English-speaking people for jobs anymore," said Ciara Taylor, a student in a Spanish program that is being cut.
Arizona lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to legislation that would allow concealed and openly carried guns in public spaces on the state's public college campuses, The Arizona Republic reported. To try to assure passage, the bill's backers had narrowed its scope in recent days; the measure originally would have allowed weapons anywhere on the campuses, including in classrooms. Governor Jan Brewer is expected to sign the legislation, which is one of several such measures moving through states in recent months.
A professor at Folsom Lake College last week offered to raise students' grades if they helped the college's fund-raising efforts, but the offer was withdrawn after faculty members and students voiced concerns, The Sacramento Bee reported. Bernard Gibson, the professor, did not return calls from reporters.
The U.S. Education Department on Wednesday praised college financial aid officers (in a letter to their bosses, college and university presidents) for the relative ease with which their institutions handled what could have been a disruptive switch last year in how federal student loan funds are disbursed. "Your financial aid officers were able to quickly adapt and continued to seamlessly and effectively administer the financial aid programs on your respective campuses," William J. Taggart, chief operating officer of the Federal Student Aid office, wrote. "Their dedication and professionalism throughout this period is commendable." He closed by urging the presidents to "provide your financial aid offices with the necessary support" to enable them to continue to do their jobs effectively.
The Battle of Wisconsin rages on. With the University of Wisconsin System's Board of Regents set to meet Thursday to hear a proposal for greater flexibility for all of the system's campuses, the chancellor of Wisconsin's flagship campus at Madison urged the university's supporters to lobby for its own autonomy plan over the system's proposal. In a letter to the Madison campus, Chancellor Carolyn A. (Biddy) Martin said that the system's Wisconsin Idea Partnership "does not come close to doing for UW-Madison what public-authority status would," and that it is time for them to "express [their] support more openly and visibly." She asked them to ask legislators for their support, and to speak out "as individuals, citizens and taxpayers, and not on behalf of the university."
David Protess, a leading journalism professor at Northwestern University known for his work investigating wrongfully convicted individuals, has been in a high-profile dispute with the institution, which suspended his teaching duties this semester. Protess and his supporters have accused the university of failing to protect his rights as law enforcement officials have questioned his tactics. But on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported, Northwestern officials told faculty members that Protess had doctored records and lied repeatedly to the journalism dean.
The University of California at San Diego and the California Western School of Law have placed a "pause" on talks about merging the private law school into the university. Officials cited the budget crisis currently facing the University of California.
A deadly shooting stunned Southern Union State Community College, in Alabama, on Wednesday. The Opelika-Auburn News reported that Thomas F. May III returned to the campus at 6:45 p.m. and told reporters he was the man authorities were seeking. At around 4 p.m., a man opened fire on a minivan, killing one and injuring three others.