Higher Education Quick Takes
Pennsylvania State University, still reeling from the recent sex-abuse scandal, announced Thursday that it will give $1.5 million to groups with which the university will form partnerships to fight the sexual abuse of children. The money will come from Penn State's share of Big Ten bowl revenue.
The U.S. Education Department today published final rules to update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, making relatively few substantive changes from proposed regulations that drew significant comment and quite a bit of criticism from some college groups. The rules give colleges and universities more latitude to share student-level information with state agencies and others, without student consent.
Florida A&M University has dismissed four students for their roles in the death of a marching band member widely believed to have been hazed, the Associated Press reported. The university has said that it has a "zero tolerance" policy toward hazing, but others have charged that hazing in the band has been well-known for some time.
The first civil suit has been filed against Pennsylvania State University in the sex-abuse scandal that broke last month. The New York Times reported that the suit was filed by a 29-year-old man who was not one of the victims cited in the original indictments. The suit says that Jerry Sandusky abused him more than 100 times during a four-year period when he was a boy. The suit says that the abuse took place in many locations, some of them at Penn State and in one instance at a bowl game. Sandusky has denied abusing boys, but has not commented on the suit, which is against him, Penn State and a charity Sandusky founded.
Citing recent protests, the California State University System called off a board committee meeting scheduled for next week, saying that it could not be sure of the safety of the gathering. The committee was expected to discuss issues of presidential compensation -- and one of the complaints of protesting students (and some faculty members and politicians as well) is that the system is spending too much on pay for its executives.
The California Institute of Technology may have found "the perfect time" to sell a bond that matures over 100 years, and the university was able to obtain a record low interest rate, The Wall Street Journal reported. The record-low yield was 4.744 percent.
Bard College announced Wednesday that it has assumed ownership of the European College of Liberal Arts, in Berlin, Germany. ECLA will be a new satellite institution of Bard, with the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation providing financial support for the transition. ECLA was founded in 1999, one of a several small liberal arts colleges operating in Europe -- a region where large universities are the norm. Bard plans to expand the college's programs, and to offer dual degrees recognized in the United States and in Germany. The college also plans a study abroad program for American students who want to spend a semester or year studying in Berlin.
The American Association of University Professors on Wednesday released a letter it sent to Middle Tennessee State University, objecting to its recent move to stop giving the titles of various ranks of professor to some full-time non-tenure-track faculty members. The university recently sent new contracts to these faculty members, saying that to keep their jobs they would have to accept new titles -- lecturer and senior lecturer. The AAUP letter says that changing terms of employment in this way, and threatening to punish those who don't accept the changes, is a "reprehensible" act.
A spokesman for the university said via e-mail that the title changes were being made at the request of the Tennessee Board of Regents, which in April informed the university that it was using job titles for non-tenure-track faculty members that were "counter" to the board's policy. "We have been working for months on this issue with several of our key faculty groups, including the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs and the Dean's Council," the spokesman said.
The District of Columbia's human rights agency has ruled that Catholic University has the right to single-sex dormitories, the Associated Press reported. A law professor at George Washington University filed a complaint about the new policy. But the agency found that men and women were treated equally under the rule. Further, the agency said that barring the single-sex facilities would set a principle that would require the banning of single-sex bathrooms and athletic teams.