Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:00am

To save about $22,000 a year on tuition, some out-of-state students at the University of California at Berkeley are marrying state residents, The Bay Citizen (a nonprofit journalism entity whose work appears in The New York Times) reported. While most such couples won't speak publicly about their marriages, the Bay Citizen said that it identified nine such couples.

Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:00am

The Orange County District Attorney on Friday charged 11 men affiliated with the Muslim Student Union at the University of California at Irvine with two misdemeanor counts each: one count of conspiracy to disrupt a meeting and one count of disturbing a meeting. If convicted, the students could face up to six months in jail. The charges stem from an incident a year ago in which members of the student group repeatedly interrupted a talk at Irvine by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States. Leaders of the Muslim student group have denied that they did anything wrong, and some at Irvine who criticized the heckling have said that this is a matter that should be adjudicated by the university (which has already done so). District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, however, said in announcing the charges: "This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI. These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting. This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution."

Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:00am

A former assistant coach for the University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team asked a booster to complete a written assignment and final exam paper for a player with a low grade-point average, according to a National Collegiate Athletic Association report released Friday. In addition, the former assistant coach, whom the report did not name, bought an airline ticket for another recruit. The report notes that Rick Herdes, the team's former head coach, failed to monitor the behavior of the assistant coach and knew of his rules violations. Southern Indiana must serve a one-year probation, vacate all wins in which the two players involved in the violations participated, and disassociate itself from the booster in question. Herdes and the assistant coach garnered two- and three-year show-cause penalties, respectively. As a result, institutions that hire them must inform the NCAA how they plan to monitor their behavior.

Monday, February 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Purdue University officials told their board Friday that they have uncovered two cases in which tenured faculty members committed financial fraud, The Lafayette Journal and Courier reported. Officials said that "corrective measures" have been taken, but declined to elaborate on them or to identify the professors involved.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Lisa Anderson, the new president of American University in Cairo, was scheduled to be inaugurated this coming Monday -- and the university has postponed the event indefinitely due to the current political crisis in Egypt. Anderson remains on the job in Cairo, and although classes and all other university events were called off this week, she has been posting updates on the university's website to keep students and faculty members informed.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

David Powers is suing St. John's University after its law school kicked him out over a 10-year-old conviction for selling LSD, The New York Daily News reported. Powers was ranked third in his class, but the university maintains he was not honest about his criminal past -- having admitted to a conviction for drug possession, but not for selling LSD. A lawyer for Powers appealed to the university's Roman Catholic heritage, saying: "This is a Vincentian university.... They're supposed to be about forgiveness."

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Dov Borovsky, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, was arrested last week on felony charges of grand theft and fraud based on his expense reimbursement claims, The Gainesville Sun reported. According to authorities, Borovsky took three trips to Malaysia as a consultant to a company based there, was reimbursed by the company for the travel, but also submitted expense forms to the university for travel reimbursement. Borovsky, whom the university has placed on leave, could not be reached for comment.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations, on Thursday released a letter strongly endorsing the proposed "gainful employment" regulations that are being opposed by for-profit colleges. The letter is designed in part to counter the lobbying campaign of the for-profit colleges, which has portrayed these institutions as helping low-income, minority students advance economically. "For-profit colleges have launched an all-out campaign using the American Dream as bait to trap vulnerable students into underperforming schools and saddle them with a lifetime of debt,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of the Leadership Conference, in a statement. “We support the Education Department’s efforts to hold these schools accountable by issuing this rule and vigorously enforcing it.”

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Amanda Bower of Washington and Lee University explains the Super Bowl’s rare position as a shared experience in modern American society, and what that means to advertisers. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The Washington State Supreme Court upheld the right of Western Washington University to hold closed disciplinary hearings for a professor who maintained that his rights were violated by the lack of open hearings, the Associated Press reported. The ruling said that state law permits public universities to create their own rules for peer-review based hearings.

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