Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

A new state audit has identified numerous financial problems at Chicago State University, disappointing officials who hoped that a new administration there would put an end to such issues, the Chicago Tribune reported. Among the problems identified were a period of several months last year when the university did not send bills to students, and paying vendors more than they were entitled to under contracts. The university did not dispute the findings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

Liberty University last week temporarily blocked access to a local newspaper, The News & Advance, from the campus network, the newspaper reported. Jerry Falwell Jr., chancellor of the university, declined to say why the newspaper was blocked, but said that, as a private university, the administration could "block a number of sites at will." He added that "[m]ost of the websites that are blocked have to do with obscene material, material that is inappropriate.... It just so happened last week The News & Advance was blocked for a day or two. We’re a private organization and we don’t have to give a reason and we’re not.” Jim Romenesko's Poynter Institute blog reported (and subsequently updated the item) that Liberty acted in the wake of an article in the newspaper noting that Liberty was the top recipient in Virginia of federal student aid.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 3:00am

A state judge has thrown out a lawsuit by supporters of Southern University at New Orleans, challenging the right of the Louisiana Board of Regents to take actions while lacking minority members, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported. The suit was an attempt to block the board from recommending a merger of historically black Southern-New Orleans with the University of New Orleans. Since the suit was filed, Governor Bobby Jindal -- an advocate for merger -- has appointed a minority member to the board, which has recommended a consolidation plan for the two institutions. The lawsuit was based on a provision in Louisiana's Constitution calling for the board to reflect the diversity of Louisiana.

Judge Tim Kelley ruled that there was nothing illegal about the board operating without that diversity reflected. "The issue is what’s legal," the judge ruled. "No matter how morally wrong, how offensive to your citizens, how damaging to this state’s commitment to eliminate perceived prejudice and injustice, nor how politically ill-advised and damaging, both in short term and in long term, it’s not this court’s job to tell the governor how to do his job."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

Maryland's General Assembly has passed, and Governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is today expected to sign legislation to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges and universities, The Baltimore Sun reported. Maryland will become the eleventh state to do so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, California Western School of Law's James Cooper explores immigration as seen from the Mexican side of the border. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

University of Oxford officials found themselves in the uncomfortable position of publicly debating with Britain's prime minister over his assertion that the elite institution had enrolled only one black Brit in 2009, BBC News reported. Prime Minister David Cameron made his comment during a public session in answer to a question about the impact of greatly increased fees that British institutions have begun charging as part of a new approach to university financing. Cameron said: "I saw figures the other day that showed that only one black person went to Oxford last year.... I think that is disgraceful. We have got to do better than that."

University officials disputed the statement, the BBC reported, saying that only one British undergraduate from that year's class had self-identified as "black-Caribbean," but that another 26 had identified themselves as either "black-African" or "black-other," among others who characterized themselves as mixed race with some black heritage. In total, in 2009 22% of Oxford University students were from ethnic minorities, the institution said.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, one of Korea's top universities, has seen four student suicides since January, The Wall Street Journal reported, and a faculty member killed himself over the weekend, prompting more discussion of why so many have taken their own lives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

La Salle University has suspended Jack Rappaport, a statistics professor at its business school, amid an investigation of allegations that he hired strippers to perform lap dances during an extra credit seminar he held on "the application of Platonic and Hegelian ethics to business," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Students paid $150 to attend the seminar, and the university is refunding the money. Rappaport could not be reached for comment. The incident was first reported by Philadelphia City Paper, which quoted students as saying that three dancers, wearing bikinis and high heels, performed lap dances on Rappaport and on some students. Two students who spoke anonymously to the Inquirer, however, said that while scantily clad dancers attended the class, they did not perform lap dances.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of San Diego and the University of California at Riverside are caught up in what could be college sports' next big scandal. Federal law enforcement officials on Monday unsealed indictments of 10 people -- including former players at both universities and a former coach at San Diego -- alleging that they had engaged in a conspiracy to bribe players to fix college sports games. San Diego's president, Mary Lyons, said in a statement that "[t]hese are very serious allegations and the university is fully cooperating with the investigation."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 3:00am

A federal appeals court on Monday overturned a lower court's 2009 ruling ordering the University of Louisville to reinstate a nursing student who was expelled after she wrote on a blog about her dealings with patients. The lower court judge had concluded that the university had breached its contract with the student, Nina Yoder, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the lower court had erred in that ruling because Yoder had not even alleged breach of contract before the court. The appeals panel sent the case back to the lower court to reconsider.

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