Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 17, 2014

The Board of Trustees of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania met Saturday and said that it would review the actions of President Robert R. Jennings (at right), but the board said so only after initially expressing strong support for Jennings.

Jennings has drawn widespread criticism in the last week after video surfaced of him making remarks that many thought blamed women for sexual assaults and suggested a problem of false reports. He also faces criticism over falling enrollment and the way he treats faculty members. The board's president, Kimberly Lloyd first said Saturday that the board "is satisfied that Dr. Jennings is working diligently to bring about the change Lincoln needs," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

But the board then followed that with a statement saying that it would review the performance of Jennings. Lloyd issued this statement "regarding recent comments" by Jennings: "The Board of Trustees of the Lincoln University has reviewed the actions of the president and has referred the matter to the Executive Committee to develop a definitive plan of action to advance the mission of the University for the benefit of all of its students, faculty, alumni, staff, and other stakeholders. The board considers this an issue of the utmost importance and therefore intends to begin its review as soon as possible. The review must be thorough and comprehensive and we will take the necessary time to ensure that happens."

It is unclear that the second statement will stop criticism of the university. The board met in a room with limited public seating, and the university would not let anyone in the room stand, angering many who came to demand that Jennings resign. Students and alumni continue to use social media and online petitions to demand that Jennings be fired.

 

 

November 17, 2014

The association representing the nation’s leading research universities said Friday that it planned to develop and administer a sexual assault climate survey for its members, in part to fend off efforts in Congress to mandate such surveys. The Association of American Universities said that it had hired a research firm to design a survey that its 60 U.S. member institutions may choose to have conducted on their campuses next April. The group plans to then publicly report the “cumulative results” from those surveys.

AAU President Hunter Rawlings said in a statement that the surveys were aimed both at helping inform university decision-making on campus sexual assault issues and also at preempting efforts by the federal government to force colleges to conduct the surveys. “[W]e have been deeply concerned about the possibility of Congress or the administration mandating that campuses conduct a government-developed survey,” he said. “Such an initiative would likely be a one-size-fits-all survey that would provide potentially misleading data, given the extraordinary diversity of higher education in our country, and would not reliably assess the campus culture on this issue.”

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Senators Claire McCaskill and Kirsten Gillibrand, have proposed requiring all colleges to conduct such surveys and post the results publicly for prospective students and families to see.

Victims advocacy groups have pushed for campus climate surveys, which they say more precisely gauge the prevalence of sexual violence, which often goes unreported.

November 17, 2014

Oregon State University officials said last week that they will investigate the university's response to allegations made in 1998 that football players were involved in the gang rape of a woman, The Oregonian reported. No formal charges were brought in the case and the woman and others argue that the university's response was minimal to the point of siding with the football players. The university's announcement followed an Oregonian interview with the woman, who came forward with her name to tell her story publicly for the first time.

November 17, 2014

The American Psychological Association will conduct an independent investigation into whether it colluded with the government concerning post-9/11 interrogation practices, The New York Times reported. The investigation appears to have been prompted by new revelations about association staff members' involvement in shaping policies for psychologists involved in interviewing suspected terrorists during the Bush administration. The revelations appear in a new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, written James Risen, an investigative report for The Times. The association criticized Risen's reporting last month, but Risen said it didn't refute key claims.

November 17, 2014

Mohammad Qayoumi, president of San Jose State University, announced two resignations on Friday --  Wanda Ginner, a member of the board of the university's foundation, and Rebecca Dukes, vice president for university advancement. While Qayoumi did not explicitly identify them as the subjects of recent campus debate, social media and local news reports said that they were. Protests last week were held amid reports that a member of the foundation board had said at a meeting that "I contribute to the university because these little Latinas do not have the DNA to be successful," and that a senior university official at the meeting said nothing. The Associated Press reported that Ginner has denied the quote attributed to her.

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.

 

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