Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 27, 2012

Administrators at Bryan College, a Christian college in Tennessee, tried to stop the student newspaper from publishing an article about an assistant professor's arrest in an FBI sting. The assistant professor was accused of trying to meet underaged girls at a gas station. The editor of the weekly newspaper, The Triangle, published the article himself, posting copies in public spaces at the college, after the president asked him not to print it, he said in a note attached to the article. A spokesman for the college told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press that administrators didn't want the story published because they couldn't verify its facts.

September 27, 2012

City College of San Francisco is planning today to unveil a series of reforms that officials hope will balance its budget and allow it to hold on to accreditation, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Among the reforms: forcing students who don't pay their tuition to do so, eliminating many "enrichment" classes to shift the curricular focus to courses that allow students to earn degrees or transfer, eliminating paid sabbaticals, increasing the workload of clerical staff members from 37.5 to 40 hours a week and across-the-board salary cuts of 1 percent.

 

September 27, 2012

The 21 students and recent graduates who sued the University of California at Davis after they were pepper-sprayed by police at close range during a nonviolent Occupy protest last fall will receive a $1 million settlement, they announced Wednesday. The class action lawsuit targeted Chancellor Linda Katehi, UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza, and John Pike – the officer seen using pepper spray and who no longer works at Davis – among other administrators and police. The Davis regents approved the terms Sept. 13 and a federal judge is expected to approve the settlement agreement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said in a statement.

The ACLU will also receive $20,000 from the settlement and will work with the university to develop new student demonstration and crowd management policies. And $100,000 will be set aside for students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed or arrested but were not named plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Katehi announced just a couple of days after the Nov. 20 incident that the university would drop all charges against the students who were pepper-sprayed and pay their medical bills. The district attorney’s office in Yolo County last week announced there would be no criminal charges filed against the UC Davis police officers.

September 27, 2012

The American Institutes of Research, the new home of the Delta Cost Project, released a report Tuesday detailing trends in college and university revenues from 2000-2010, the first of a series of four weekly reports about where colleges get money and how they spend it.

Because the data the reports are based on are two years old, many of the trends described in Wednesday's report will be familiar. Among the noteworthy findings in the report were that state appropriations have continued to decline over the decade; that per-student revenue at community colleges in 2010 was less than it was a decade ago; that net tuition revenue -- the amount colleges make from tuition after aid is subtracted -- at private institutions did not grow significantly between 2009 and 2010; and that tuition revenue exceeded state appropriations at public doctoral and masters institutions. The report also found that, in contrast to previous years, sticker prices at four-year public universities increased faster than gross tuition revenue. "This suggests that the practice of using other tuition revenue -- in particular from out-of-state students -- to mitigate tuition price increases for in-state students was no longer tenable in 2010," the report states.

September 26, 2012

Colorado Technical University improperly awarded financial aid dollars to dozens of students, the U.S. Education Department's inspector general said in an audit this month. The audit, whose findings were challenged by the for-profit college, a unit of Career Education Corp., recommended that the university be required to reimburse the government for $173,000 in improper payments and to examine the records of thousands of other students in its CTU Online unit to see if similar improprieties occurred.

September 26, 2012

Students and faculty members at Long Beach City College gathered at the college's board meeting Tuesday night to protest the planned elimination of 17 academic programs (and the likely layoff of 10 full-time faculty members), The Contra Costa Times reported. Most of the programs are in the arts or skilled trades, and those protesting said that these programs are vital for many students. College officials said that they had few options, given the severity of budget cuts in California.

 

September 26, 2012

The University of Notre Dame has invited President Obama and also Mitt Romney to speak on campus during the presidential election campaign. The university's announcement of the invitation noted that Notre Dame has a tradition of inviting presidential candidates to appear, and that many have done so. The university also has a tradition of inviting presidents to deliver commencement addresses, and when Obama did so in 2009, there was a huge uproar from some Roman Catholic and anti-abortion organizations that objected to such an honor going to someone who supports abortion rights. An official of the Pro-Life Action League told The Indianapolis Star that the organization didn't object this time, since Romney also received an invitation. The Cardinal Newman Society is criticizing the new Obama invitation -- and also expressing concerns about a possible Romney appearance, noting that Romney has expressed support for embryonic stem cell research.

September 26, 2012

Students at the University of California at Irvine have recaptured the world record for the largest dodgeball game, The Los Angeles Times reported. More than 6,000 players participated to set the record.

 

September 26, 2012

An academic at the University of New England, in Australia, has lost his job over a poem he wrote to offer sympathy to a colleague who lost his job, The Australian reported. The poem referred to senior officials in the music program by their instruments, calling them names such as Oboe, Horn and Organ. The university considered the poem a work "calculated to bring senior officers of the university into disrepute." After various letters from lawyers, the poem is no longer online, nor is its author working at the university.

 

September 26, 2012

Wetakeyourclass.com, one of several websites featured in an Inside Higher Ed story last week about services that offer to complete a student’s online course for a fee, has been taken offline.

Inside Higher Ed received a call Tuesday from someone claiming to be the site’s owner. The caller, Kevin, who declined to give his last name, said the site was not all that lucrative and with the added attention garnered last week, he decided to take it down. He added that he does not think sites like We Take Your Class are a problem; the problem, he believes, is that education is structured in a way that makes it easy to cheat. 

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