Students and other supporters of ethnic studies held a protest at the University of Texas at Austin Wednesday, arguing that proposed budget cuts to those programs went too far, The Austin American-Statesman reported. At the same time, officials said that the cuts -- currently planned at 41 percent each for the Center for African and African American Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies -- were being scaled back as they were too deep for priority areas.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Some faculty members in a program designed to teach Texas college students how to gain access to public records could get in trouble if they encourage those students to seek records from their own universities, the Associated Press reported. The Texas A&M University System bars faculty members from encouraging students to seek access to documents anywhere in the university system. System officials defended the rule by saying that students could make such requests on their own.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association ruled Wednesday that Cam Newton, quarterback for Auburn University's football team and the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, is eligible to play in this weekend's Southeastern Conference championship game. Auburn declared Newton ineligible to play Tuesday following an NCAA finding that Newton's father broke NCAA rules by actively trying to shop his son around to institutions, including Mississippi State University, for payment. Concurrently, Auburn asked the NCAA for Newton's eligibility to be reinstated. Kevin Lennon, the NCAA's vice president for academic and membership affairs, said in a statement: "Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible.” It is not clear whether the NCAA and Auburn are still investigating whether Newton or his father received money for his playing at Auburn.
A court in Ireland has ruled that a lecturer at University College Cork should not be punished for sexual harassment for having shown a female colleague a paper on the sex life of fruit bats, The Irish Times reported. The court ruled that imposing sanctions in the case was "grossly disproportionate." The university had ordered the lecturer to undergo counseling and to be monitored for two years.
Martin Meehan, a Congressman-turned-college-president, on Tuesday withdrew his name from consideration to be the new president of the University of Massachusetts system, days after Gov. Deval Patrick expressed concern that the search process was not considering candidates with enough national education background, the Boston Herald reported. Meehan said he would remain as president of the university's campus in Lowell.
Darrel Hammon has resigned as president of Laramie County Community College amid criticism from some trustees and faculty members, The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. Hammon was criticized in an internal report for mishandling the suicidal behaviors of a student on a 2008 trip the president led to Costa Rica -- and he was also criticized for trying to block release of the critical report. Also, the Faculty Senate recently called for an investigation into whether the college is hiring too many administrators. In resigning, Hammon defended his record, but said that it would be difficult to lead the institution without full board support.
Colleges and universities shouldn't wait for the cities and towns where they are located to hit them up for tax payments (as often happens when economic woes grow) -- they should work with municipalities to craft fair and clear-cut arrangements, a new report argues. The report, from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, examines the deals known as "payments in lieu of taxes" (or PILOTs), and characterizes them as a logical way for tax-exempt colleges and other groups to both pay for the public services they use and provide much-needed revenue to their home areas. But the arrangements "are often haphazard, secretive, and calculated in an ad hoc manner that results in widely varying payments among similar nonprofits," says the report, in arguing for more thoughtful approaches.
The University of Louisville has named Walter Mischel, psychology professor and Niven professor of humane letters at Columbia University, as the winner of the 2011 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. He was honored for research showing that willpower can be learned – and that those who have it benefit over the long run. The honor provides Mischel with $100,000.
The University of Amsterdam has agreed to give Justus Eisfeld a new diploma to replace the one he received when he was a woman and graduated, the Associated Press reported. The university agreed to provide the new diploma after an equal opportunity commission said the refusal to do so would amount to discrimination.
The University of Phoenix is eliminating 700 jobs through layoffs, primarily in admissions departments, the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, announced Monday. “In recent months, we have accelerated the shift in our approach to student admissions, and have refined our business model. These staffing reductions are intended to better align our operations with these business decisions," a Phoenix official told Barrons.com.