Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Monday, October 4, 2010 - 3:00am

Immigration issues took center stage Saturday in a debate of the gubernatorial candidates in California. The chief issue was the recent allegation that Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, who has called for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, was responsible for having hired a housekeeper without legal documentation to work in the United States. But the issue of immigrant students also came up. A California State University at Fresno student, who is undocumented, asked the candidates about legislation -- supported by Democrat Jerry Brown and opposed by Whitman -- to create a path to citizenship for students like her. Brown then pointed out that Whitman not only opposes the legislation, but has called for undocumented students to be kicked out of the state's public universities, the Los Angeles Times reported. "She wants to kick you out of this school because you are not documented and that is wrong, morally and humanly," Brown said. Whitman defended her stance, saying "I don't think it's fair to bar and eliminate the ability of California citizens to attend higher university and favor undocumenteds."

Monday, October 4, 2010 - 3:00am

Northeastern University, which eliminated football last year, is experiencing increases in the number of applicants and the number of donors since the decision, The Boston Globe reported. While officials there don't claim that the increases are because of the decision on football, they say that the trends debunk the theory that by eliminating football, colleges will undercut alumni or student support.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - 3:00am

A jury on Thursday convicted Raphael Haim Golb, a real estate lawyer, of impersonating a New York University professor and others who disagreed with the theories of Golb's father about the Dead Sea Scrolls, The New York Times reported. Golb claimed that that e-mails at the center of the case were parodies and not meant to be taken seriously.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Researchers who used a remote control helicopter to collect samples of whale snot and demonstrated that, "on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes" were among those honored last night with Ig Nobel Prizes, the annual recognition granted to scholarly work that "first makes people laugh, then makes them think." The awards, made by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research, come out just before -- but hardly presage -- the Nobel prizes. In one other award -- and this was almost too easy, wasn't it? -- the group honored BP (and three researchers who wrote a paper on the subject) "for disproving the old myth that oil and water don't mix." A full list of the winners is available here.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - 3:00am

A state budget board in South Carolina on Wednesday imposed a partial moratorium on higher education building projects, in a sign of its members' displeasure with big increases in the institutions' tuitions, The State reported. The board's action comes at a time of turmoil in the political climate for higher education in the state, with the departing governor, Mark Sanford, using a purported summit on higher education Tuesday to lash out at colleges for their prices and perceived inefficiency, following deep cuts in state spending over the last two years that have forced public colleges to slash their own budgets. The moratorium restricts the initiation of new development projects at four-year colleges that raise tuition by 7 percent or more this year and at two-year colleges that boost tuition by at least 6.3 percent, although several categories of projects (those financed with private funds, those with safety implications, etc.) are exempted.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday vetoed legislation that would have required foundations and other auxiliary groups tied to California's two main university systems to open their lists of donors to the public, Central Valley Business Times reported. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Leland Yee, a frequent critic of university governance and spending practices, emerged in the wake of controversy over the amount that a foundation at California State University at Stanislaus had paid to bring Sarah Palin to campus, and its refusal to reveal the total. Lawmakers approved the bill, saying it was needed to ensure accountability at California State and the University of California, but Schwarzenegger said the measure, as crafted, would not sufficiently protect the privacy of individual donors.

Friday, October 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The student newspaper at Northwest College, which reported on numerous controversies involving the two-year institution's president and carried on despite the firing of its adviser, has won the College Press Freedom Award. The Northwest Trail earned the award, presented by the Student Press Law Center and the Associated Collegiate Press, because "after [adviser Ron Feemster] was fired, the staff did not retreat from pursuing serious and controversial topics” (including about a religion-tinged recruiting campaign by the college's Mormon president), the law center's director, Frank LoMonte, wrote in an e-mail to the Trail's editors. Feemster wrote about his experiences as the newspaper's adviser on Inside Higher Ed last month.

Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 3:00am

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed legislation that will ensure admission to the California State University System for students who earn a newly established transfer degree from one of the state's community colleges. SB 1440 requires each community college district to create an associate degree for transfer and guarantees admission to Cal State for any student who earns one of those degrees. A second measure, AB 2302, directs the University of California to develop a better transfer pathway to its campuses.

Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The Southern Regional Education Board has issued a series of practical and policy recommendations designed to help 16 Southern states do their part toward the Obama administration's college completion goal. The report, "No Time to Waste," calls on each state to ensure that 60 percent of its 25- to 64-year-olds have a postsecondary credential by 2025, and offers specific proposals for state and institutional leaders to do so.

Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The federal government may have no need for a website that would allow students to compare the rates and terms of education loans, given changes in the market and the difficulties inherent in creating such a tool, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Wednesday.

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