The faculty union of the University of Rhode Island has filed an unfair labor practice charge after the state's Board of Governors for Higher Education rejected a three-year contract that had been negotiated with the union, The Providence Journal reported. The board also rejected contracts for other public colleges, and for graduate students at the university. Board members said that they didn't have enough information on the financial implications of the contracts. A statement from the American Association of University Professors, which represents the faculty members and grad students at the university, blasted the move, saying that "board negotiators represented to us that they were authorized to reach agreement with us."
Higher Education Quick Takes
A bill to keep the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent for another year failed to pass a key procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, setting up more conflict over how to stop the interest rate from doubling July 1. Democrats and Republicans have agreed on the need to keep the interest rate at its current, historic low for at least another year, but can't find common ground on how to pay for the extension. House Republicans passed a bill last week to take the needed $6 billion from a preventive care fund in the health care reform law, while Senate Democrats support changing tax laws to require high-earning stockholders in certain types of corporations to contribute to payroll taxes.
The Senate voted 52-45 in favor of allowing debate on the bill, but failed to reach the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.
The national accrediting agency for Career Education Corp. on Monday decided not to pursue penalties against 71 campuses that had been under review over reported problems with job placement rates. Four campuses, however, were placed on probation. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools had asked the for-profit higher education provider to demonstrate that its job-placement reporting was adequate after a recent review by an outside law firm found that some campuses lacked sufficient documentation. Career Education's president and CEO, Gary E. McCullough, resigned shortly after that news broke. Steven H. Lesnik, the new CEO, said in a news release that the company "had made great strides" but would continue to improve student job placement results.
Anthony Tricoli has quit as president of Georgia Perimeter College, which is facing a $16 million budget shortfall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The college is planning to suspend contracts, cut travel and delay hiring, among other steps to deal with the shortfall.
The University of Pittsburgh is joining the ranks of public universities responding to budget constraints by restructuring how it administers its campuses. The university announced Monday that it would have two of its (five) regional campuses report to a single president, and centralize numerous administrative functions for the campuses. Under the arrangement, the president of Pitt's Bradford campus, Livingston Alexander, will oversee the university's Titusville campus as well, with Titusville's current provost becoming a campus dean (responsible for day-to-day oversight) and reporting to Alexander. The announcement did not estimate how much the realignment might save.
The University System of Georgia is proceeding with a plan to merge several sets of campuses, and the State University of New York System has pushed (with mixed success) to consolidate the leadership over pairs of its campuses as well.
The Evansville Courier & Press reported that a highlight of this year's University of Evansville commencement was a line from President Thomas A. Kazee -- and the line seemed to be most popular in the sections for attendees who are family members of graduates. He won applause for telling students: "Move away from home and get a job as soon as possible. Your parents love you, but enough is enough."
Eastern Michigan University is apologizing after sending an expulsion notice intended for about 100 students to many more who were not in fact being expelled, the Associated Press reported. The university isn't sure how many people received the notice, but the group includes some recent graduates.
Ohio State University has spent more than $800,000 on President Gordon Gee's travel expenses since 2007, including more than $550,000 in the last two years, The Dayton Daily News reported. Ohio State officials noted the value of Gee's travel, in reaching donors and others, and in spreading the word about Ohio State across the world. But the newspaper noted that Gee's travel expenses exceeded not only those of two Ohio governors, but also of the presidents of other big public universities with global ambitions and intense fund-raising efforts -- the Universities of Michigan, North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia.
The Education Department is increasingly relying on collection agencies to obtain funds from those who have defaulted on student loans, but the department is failing to monitor complaints about these agencies, says a new report from the National Consumer Law Center. The center "found that contractors do not maintain accessible complaint systems and some agencies ignore the department’s minimum requirements for handling borrower grievances," the report says. "Overall, the complaint systems used by some collectors display a haphazard approach to resolving borrower disputes. The department also has failed to inform borrowers of the resources available through the agency to address complaints."