Higher Education Quick Takes
The Rev. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, president of Ateneo de Manila University, a Roman Catholic institution in the Philippines, has issued a statement different from the more than 192 faculty members who jointly have endorsed legislation in that country that would make contraception more widely available. The president's statement said that the bill could "weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values." He said that he respected the faculty members' "social compassion," but he urged them to "continue in their discernment of the common good." Further he asked them to be sure that "the Catholic position" on the issue be taught in classes.
Sri Lanka's government has shut down almost all of the nation's universities, BBC reported. Faculty members have been on strike at the university, and government officials blamed the professors for turmoil on campuses, saying that they were giving students "darkness, without any hope." Academics say that they have been on strike and protesting over government plans to privatize some of higher education, and over political interference in campus decisions.
A former professor at Richard J. Daley College was indicted Wednesday on charges of theft from the government over allegations that she falsely claimed to have a doctoral degree to be paid extra money, The Chicago Tribune reported. Authorities say that Carol Howley was overpaid by $307,000 by the City Colleges of Chicago as a result of her fake degree. She claimed to have earned the degree at Rush University, but officials there said that she never enrolled. Howley could not be reached for comment. The college fired her in 2011.
Republican delegates have drafted a preliminary version of the immigration plank in the platform for the party's national convention that would deny federal funding to colleges and universities that allow illegal immigrants to enroll as in-state students, according to The New York Times. The plank reportedly takes a hard line on immigration generally. Delegates will consider the full platform for approval at next week's convention in Tampa, Fla.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that students with concealed carry permits could bring handguns to university classrooms. But this week, Jerry Peterson, a professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder and chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, said he would cancel classes if he found that someone had brought a firearm to class, according to the Daily Camera.
Although Peterson said he was only speaking for himself, Philip P. DiStefano, the chancellor at UC-Boulder, sent out an e-mail Tuesday to faculty members that they could not shut down a class if a student with a concealed carry permit brought a gun. “Such actions discriminate not only against the concealed carry permit holder – who is exercising a basic right granted under Colorado law – they deprive all other students of the education they have paid for and have a right to,” DiStefano said in his email.
A Christian college in Minnesota has joined a coalition opposing an amendment to that state's constitution to ban gay marriage. Augsburg College, associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, announced Tuesday that it had joined Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of organizations working to defeat the proposed amendment. (Minnesota state law does not allow gay marriage.) Minnesota state law allows organizations with nonprofit status, including colleges, to weigh in on ballot measures.
Augsburg is the second college to publicly oppose the amendment, although faculty members at other colleges have also spoken out against it. Capella University, a for-profit college, announced Aug. 3 that it opposed the amendment. "Capella is a stronger place because of our diversity, and we have made an intentional effort to create a workplace that is supportive of families of all backgrounds," the company's chairman and chief executive officer, Kevin Gilligan, said in a statement at the time. "Just as importantly, I am very concerned that this amendment will have a negative impact on the ability of Minnesota companies to attract and retain talented employees."
"No loans" policies -- in which students with family incomes below certain levels receive grants in place of loans --have resulted in colleges that adopted them seeing gains in the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants, says a report being released today by the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Private institutions saw a 1.7 percentage point average gain in Pell-eligible students, while publics saw a 1.3 percentage point increase. While the report praises these programs, it also identifies dangers in them. "When well-publicized, these programs have the potential to generate greater interest among high-achieving low-income students," the report says. "When this occurs, enrollment management professionals may be tempted to use these aid programs as a marketing strategy that simply drums up interest among the highest-achieving low-income students. As a result of this increased demand, opportunistic colleges may try to 'skim' the top low-income students without actually changing the total proportion of low-income students on campus."
The former University of Nebraska women’s basketball player who told police last month that three men broke into her house, pinned her down and carved anti-gay slurs on her body faked the attack, officers said Tuesday. Charlie Rogers, a lesbian who holds the Cornhusker record for second-most blocked shots ever at the university, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to filing a false police report, but officers told the Associated Press the attack was a hoax in which Rogers cut her own chest, legs, buttocks and abdomen. In identifying a motive, police pointed to this message Rogers had posted on her Facebook page four days earlier: "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me.” Like many of the fake hate crimes put on by college students looking to make a political statement or meet some personal ends, Rogers’s hoax prompted broad, public support for the alleged victim. Rogers’s lawyer said the former player stands by her report, which she made amid a local debate over a proposed city ordinance that would ban discrimination against LGBT people, and “has no reason to lie about what happened.”