Texas Southern University has suspended its marching band, pending an investigation of a report about hazing by one section of the band, the Associated Press reported. The band did not perform Thursday at a football game between Texas Southern and Sam Houston State University.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Carleen Basler, an assistant professor of American studies and sociology at Amherst College, resigned last week after senior faculty members discovered that she had plagiarized some of her scholarly work. The plagiarism was found as Basler was being evaluated for tenure, officials said. “She accepted responsibility and decided to resign,” said Gregory Call, the dean of faculty at Amherst and a mathematics professor. Biddy Martin, president of the college, said that Basler had worked at Amherst since 2003. When asked about the extent of plagiarism, Martin said it was "extensive." An automatic reply to an e-mail sent to Basler’s college e-mail account said: “Carleen Basler is no longer with Amherst College.” Basler did not reply by deadline to an e-mail sent to her private address.
John R. Silber, whose 25-year reign atop Boston University remade the institution in ways that enthralled supporters and often enraged critics, died Thursday, the university announced. Silber came to B.U. in 1971 after a career as a philosopher and dean at the University of Texas at Austin; his deanship there ended in dismissal when he battled regents over a plan to split up the College of Arts and Sciences. At Boston, he was expansionistic and at times imperialistic, greatly strengthening the quality of the university's faculty and its financial standing while simultaneously doing battle with his many critics, who took offense at his unguarded style of speaking and his pay, unmatched by other presidents' at the time.
Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation Thursday designed to give college students free digital access to textbooks in 50 popular lower-division courses offered by the state's public universities and colleges, and another bill Wednesday that requires significantly greater reporting of information by for-profit colleges in the state. The textbook legislation will, according to the Los Angeles Times, also make print copies of the key textbooks available for no more than $20.
Holden Thorp, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that in his last year in the position, major reforms will be announced for athletics at the institution, placing "academics first," The News & Observer reported. Thorp, after facing numerous scandals involving athletic programs, recently announced plans to step down. And he told the newspaper that one reason he did so was that the changes ahead would be so difficult. He said that admissions standards for athletes would be toughened, and that the number of exceptions to admissions standards would be reduced. In the last five years, 53 football players at UNC have been admitted under such exceptions.
Almost one in five households owed student loan debt in 2010, according to a new analysis from the Pew Research Center. The 19 percent total represents a significant increase from the level just three years prior (and before the start of the recession), when the figure was 15 percent. As recently as 1989, the figure was only 9 percent. Among households headed by someone younger than 35 in 2010, the rate was 40 percent.
Harvard University's endowment is down about $1 billion in the 12 months through June, Bloomberg reported. The fund, still the largest university endowment in the world, ended up at $30.7 billion, down about 0.05 percent. Harvard, like many other universities, saw major losses the year that the recession started, but many other universities have been posting gains more recently. Harvard officials said that their losses were due to investments in publicly traded non-U.S. companies and in "emerging market" shares.
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.
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.
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.