Lambuth University announced Thursday that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has denied an appeal of a decision to revoke its accreditation, The Jackson Sun reported. At the same time, however, the private university in Tennessee won a court injunction barring SACS from following through on its decision while a legal challenge is pending. The revocation of accreditation would mean that Lambuth students could no longer receive federal student aid. Lambuth has been suffering from serious financial difficulties for several years.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A lawsuit against Texas Christian University -- which has been enjoying national publicity over the success of its athletics programs -- charges the university with fraud for failing to protect students from athletes with patterns of inappropriate and dangerous behavior. The Associated Press reported on the suit, filed by a woman who says three university athletes raped her in 2006. Records in the suit indicate that two of the athletes were allowed to remain on campus despite numerous violations of university rules, and that the instructor of one of the athletes considered him "dangerous."
A Louisiana judge has refused to block a study for the Louisiana Board of Regents on the idea of merging Southern University of New Orleans and the University of New Orleans, The Advocate reported. Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, has called for consideration of the merger -- an idea strongly opposed by advocates of the historically black Southern system. Some of those supporters charge that the lack of diversity on the Board of Regents makes the body unconstitutional -- an argument rejected by the judge.
For-profit college fever is spreading in the U.S. Senate. Yet another committee (the third, by our count) plans to hold a hearing examining possible malfeasance by higher education companies, with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) announcing a March 2 hearing of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, which he chairs. Carper said the hearing would examine the flow of money from the Defense Department's Tuition Assistance Program to current service members enrolled at for-profit colleges, and allegations in recent news reports that, as he put it, "some bad actors have taken advantage of our military personnel and have failed to deliver the quality of education they promise to our men and women in uniform." Unlike most of the Senate hearings about for-profit colleges in the last 18 months, this one will not occur in the hotbed of career college scrutiny: Senator Tom Harkin's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. But Harkin will still play a role: the Iowa Democrat is scheduled to be a star witness.
The American College Health Association reinforced the importance of constantly developing cultural awareness and sensitivity among campus professionals, with the goal of having members be “responsive to the needs of a diverse and changing student population,” in a statement released Wednesday.
The Cultural Competency Statement -- in its first revision since its initial publication in July 2000 -- compels ACHA members to cultural inclusion, cultural respect, equality and equity, and includes a number of criteria that demonstrate cultural competency for individuals, institutions and the association. Vanessa Britto, chair of the revision task force, told Inside Higher Ed that given the shifts in student demographics, international enrollment and experiential learning, the ACHA felt it was time to update and clarify the statement. “It’s just a much, much more diverse and complex world that we live in,” she said. “You can’t have [the statement] be static; it has to be dynamic.” So the task force cleaned up the document, clarifying actions and definitions, removing outdated items and adding ones that arose during the last decade.
It states that culturally competent individuals “have a mixture of beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, experience, and skills that help them to establish trust and rapport in effective communication with others.” ACHA member institutions, the statement says, “should commit to the cultural competency of campus health professionals by implementing, strengthening, and supporting a variety of activities” that promote diversity and inclusivity throughout the campus. Finally, the association charges itself with promoting cultural competency through programming, individual leadership, advocacy and collaboration with other organizations.
Despite taking legal action, Reed College has been unable to remove the website for the “University of Redwood,” an institution that is not known to officially exist and whose website features content that appears to be taken from Reed’s. (Reed jokingly calls the site “Reedwood”). Compare this page with this page, or this page with this page to see the similarities. Reed says it has filed complaints with the Attorneys General of Arizona and California, home to the website's internet provider and to its mail-forwarding company, respectively.
Reed was successful in removing the website for 10 days last year after its lawyers sent Go Daddy, the website’s domain host, a cease and desist letter; however, 10 days after the website’s removal, Go Daddy restored it. Go Daddy says it was acting in good faith and in accordance with the law. "In November, Go Daddy was notified of alleged copyright infringement on specific URLs within the site in question," said Ben Butler, director of network abuse for Go Daddy. "In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and our internal procedures, we disabled the website. After receiving proper notice that the allegedly infringing material was removed, Go Daddy re-enabled the site, and we have not received any further communication or infringement notification from the original complainant."
Kevin Myers, a Reed spokesman, said his understanding is that Reed's lawyers had approached Go Daddy a second time. He says Reed will contact Go Daddy again. "It’s good to know what the next step is," said Myers. "Being taken down should mean being taken down forever."
The Redwood website lists one contact, a box number at Shipito, a mail-forwarding company. Shipito suspended the Redwood account in the fall after receiving a complaint from Reed and has not forwarded any mail to the the entity since. Shipito says the account was opened by someone in China with a Western name. Reed, for its part, is still vigilant. “Who knows what the scam really is?” said Myers. “We’re continuing to try to track them down,”
The American Association of University Professors announced Wednesday that it will likely investigate the recent decision by the Idaho Board of Education to suspend the Faculty Senate at Idaho State University. The suspension followed a vote of no confidence in the university's president, Arthur C. Vailas, who is backed by the board.
A bill that would have barred public colleges in Utah from awarding tenure to professors beginning in July died in a legislative committee Wednesday, the Deseret News reported. College administrators in the state opposed the legislation, which its sponsor said was needed because tenure locked the state into long-term liabilities that it could not afford in economically difficult times.