Brenda Scheer, dean of the University of Utah architecture school, resigned on Thursday, following an 11-year tenure and a recent period of controversy, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Scheer has been criticized for the resignation of Prescott Muir as architecture chair. Students and faculty members accused Scheer of forcing Muir out, prompting her to apologize and Muir to agree to continue in the role. But the criticism of Scheer continued.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Federal authorities have charged 11 people in the Detroit area in four separate crime rings in which people applied for student loans for which they were not eligible, costing the government more than $1 million, The Detroit Free Press reported. The schemes generally involved distance education providers where students need not be physically present in class. Those applying for the loans lacked either a high school diploma or a GED and thus were not eligible.
Most universities will face only minimal effects from the automatic budget cuts that went into effect at the beginning of the month, according to a report released Thursday by Moody's Investors Service. The report looked at the projected financial effect of the 5 percent cuts to domestic discretionary spending, known as sequestration, and found that only 1 percent of colleges and not-for-profits stood to lose more than 3 percent of their annual revenue as the result of the cuts.
Research universities were most likely to be hit hard by the cuts because federal funding for scientific research is one of the areas affected. While some financial aid programs -- particularly federal work-study and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant -- will also be cut, the Pell Grant, bedrock of need-based financial aid programs, is safe for the 2013-14 academic year.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday unveiled a new database on consumer complaints on various financial services and products, including student loans. “By sharing these complaints with the public, we are creating greater transparency in consumer financial products and services,” said a statement from Richard Cordray, director of the bureau. “The database is good for consumers and it is also good for honest businesses. We believe the marketplace of ideas can do great things with this data.”
Chicago State University continues to face management and financial controversies. Many employees at the university have received no raises since 2010 and faculty members just received a raise of 2.25 percent. But President Wayne Watson -- whom some board members are trying to oust -- recently gave raises of 17.4 percent, 21.4 percent and 18.8 percent to three top administrators, The Chicago Tribune reported. He also gave promotions and 20 percent raises to two executive assistants in his office. One administrator who didn't get a raise was Glenn Meeks, vice president of administration and finance. Meeks was just fired -- and he says it was in retaliation for his raising questions about the raises. A university spokesman declined to comment on the dismissal of Meeks, and that the raises that were awarded were based on "merit and performance."
An independent report requested by the board of Roxbury Community College found that the Massachusetts institution had violated campus safety laws and may have lost track of significant sums of money, The Boston Globe reported. The investigation was requested after the departure of the last president and several board members, amid various allegations about the college. One finding was that the college had failed to investigate sexual assault complaints about two employees. New board members and administrators have said that they are already working on some of the issues identified in the report, and said that they would continue efforts to improve management of the college.
Boston College has told students to stop distributing condoms in dormitories, The Boston Globe reported. College officials said that condom distribution conflicts with the college's Roman Catholic values. Students say that they don't know why the college is cracking down now, given that the operation isn't new, and that the service is needed by many students.
In today’s Academic Minute, David Burley of Simon Fraser University explains how radiometric dating techniques are improving our understanding of exactly when the settlement of Polynesia began. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Central New Mexico Community College suspended its student newspaper this week after it published a sex issue, the Associated Press reported. The issue featured articles on such topics as sex toys and students' favorite sexual positions. While officials of the college said that the newspaper's content was offensive, the suspension was lifted amid widespread criticism from the student journalists and their supporters.