Higher Education Quick Takes
The family of a donor to Johns Hopkins University is suing the university, claiming that administrators are violating the intent of a gift agreement made when Elizabeth Beall Banks sold a 138-acre farm to the university at a discounted price in 1989. The university plans to develop the land into a science park as part of an economic development plan created by Montgomery County, Md. While the deed limits the use of the property to “agricultural, academic, research and development, delivery of health and medical care and services, or related purposes only,” which a spokesman for the university said the institution is abiding by, the family claims that the university is developing the property too densely and for commercial purposes, violating the original agreement. The university has not formally responded to the suit.
The University of California at Davis plans to drop all charges against the students on whom it used pepper spray last week, and also will pay their medical bills. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi made those announcements Tuesday night at a town hall meeting on campus, The Sacramento Bee reported. With calls growing for her resignation, Katehi is speaking out more about her views on what happened.
An Associated Press account of Tuesday's meeting said that Katehi said she barred the police from using force. "I explicitly directed the chief of police that violence should be avoided at all costs. It was the absolute last thing I ever wanted to happen," Katehi was quoted as saying. "Because encampments have long been prohibited by UC policy, I directed police only to take down the tents. My instructions were for no arrests and no police force."
Florida A&M University has called off all performances by its marching band, amid reports that one of its members who died over the weekend in Orlando was the victim of hazing, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Law enforcement officials said that they believed the death was hazing-related. Officials at Florida A&M said that they had received seven reports of hazing over the last decade.
In today’s Academic Minute, Daniel Benjamin of Cornell University questions the role happiness plays in the decision making process. Find out more about the Academic Minute here. (For those of you addicted to the Academic Minute, we'll be publishing podcasts in the series Thursday and Friday, too, despite the holiday.)
Karen Pletz, former president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, was found dead early Tuesday in Florida, The Kansas City Star reported. The cause of death has not been released, but there were no signs of foul play. Pletz was a widely respected civic leader in Kansas City credited with promoting growth at the university. Her firing in 2009 stunned her many supporters. Last year, a federal grand jury indicted her on charges that she had embezzled more than $1.5 million from the university, engaged in money laundering, and falsified tax returns. She had denied wrongdoing.
Newt Gingrich, who is experiencing a surge in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, said Monday that -- as president -- he would teach a free online course, NBC reported. He said that the course would be distributed in a manner similar to the online offerings of Kaplan or the University of Phoenix. The subject matter would be his policies. Gingrich holds a Ph.D. in history.
Twenty current or former students of a wealthy Long Island high school have now been charged in an SAT cheating scandal, the Associated Press reported. Thirteen of the charges were filed by the local district attorney on Tuesday. Some of those charged allegedly paid others to take the SAT on their behalf. Prosecutors said that they believed that 40 students and former students were involved, but that the statute of limitations prevented charges from being brought against all of them.
Career Education Corporation on Monday disclosed that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has asked the for-profit higher education provider to demonstrate the adequacy of "administrative practices and controls relative to the company's reporting of placement rates." A recent review by an outside law firm found that some of the company's 49 health education and art and design schools did not have sufficient documentation to back up job placements, and that 13 failed to meet the accreditor's placement rate requirement. Career Education's president and CEO, Gary E. McCullough, resigned shortly after that news broke.
The company will present to the accreditor next month on the discrepancy, and "continues to take corrective action," according to the disclosure to investors. The accreditor released a statement about the matter this month, saying: "We are currently conducting an internal review of our processes for evaluating placement rates, including a review of data collected from site visits and audits of Career Education Corporation from the last few years, to determine why those problems were not detected.”
Clark University announced Monday that it will make the SAT or ACT optional for undergraduate admissions. Officials said that the decision followed a study by the faculty and the admissions office, which concluded that the university could make admissions decisions based on such factors as high school grades, rigor of the high school courses taken and extracurricular activities.
Indiana University on Monday formally returned a 15th century painting called "The Flagellation of Christ" to a Berlin museum from which it was stolen in the aftermath of World War II, the Associated Press reported. The painting was stolen by a British soldier and subsequently purchased from a gallery by Indiana's museum, with officials unaware that it was stolen.