Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 3:00am

A special commission studying the future of the University of California released its final report Monday, with numerous recommendations for the university system to thrive in an era of limited state budgets. Most of the ideas have been publicly discussed previously in relation to the commission's work; the proposals include three-year undergraduate degrees, improved transfer paths from community colleges to university campuses, enhanced use of online education and additional enrollment of out-of-state students.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 3:00am

The J-1 student visa program, in which foreign students come to the United States for jobs in the summer, is leaving some students subject to abuse, the Associated Press reported. Students in theory get jobs at resorts or various places where they can absorb American culture, but some end up eating on floors, earning $1 an hour or working in strip clubs, the article said.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 3:00am

In the wake of allegations swirling around Cam Newton, the Auburn University quarterback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is considering whether to form a group to examine football recruiting infractions, Bloomberg reported. Julie Roe Lach, the NCAA's vice president for enforcement, said that such a panel would resemble one that was created two years ago to deal with recruiting issues in men’s basketball. Lach expressed concern about more recruits seeking money to attend top football programs and “the rise in seven-on-seven football tournaments funded by apparel companies,” calling them “a breeding ground for potential recruiting violations.”

Monday, December 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Princeton University students last week rejected, by a vote of 1,014 to 699, a proposal to ask dining services to stock an additional brand of hummus beyond the Sabra that is currently offered. Pro-Palestinian students had pushed the idea of adding a new hummus choice, saying that they did not like their only hummus option to be from an Israeli company that the students accused of having ties to the Israeli military.

Monday, December 6, 2010 - 3:00am

The Congressional Budget Office released a report last week saying that the DREAM Act -- which creates a path to citizenship for some students who came to the United States as minors and were educated in the country, without legal authority to remain -- would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years. The CBO analysis assumes that many of these students would over time get jobs, pay taxes and thus contribute to the federal budget. The report also estimates costs associated with the DREAM Act, such as spending on student loans and other programs for which the students would become eligible. The CBO report was generally much more optimistic on the impact of the act than was a report issued last week by the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan group that generally argues for tight controls on immigration. That organization predicted billions in additional costs to taxpayers, based on an assumption of many more students enrolling in college.

The reports came amid lobbying of the Senate to approve the legislation. Obama administration officials held a series of press briefings last week in support of the DREAM Act, and many college presidents have been speaking out in support. The White House blog also released a list of "10 reasons we need the DREAM Act." But Republicans in the Senate continue to block the bill -- with some opposing the legislation and others opposing consideration of any legislation on any subject unless the Bush administration's tax cuts for wealthy Americans are extended.

Monday, December 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Players on the women's soccer team at Belmont University say that they were told by Lisa Howe that she was forced out of her job as their coach because she told officials that she and her female partner were about to have a child, The Tennessean reported. Students said that Howe had sought permission to talk to the team about the situation and was told she needed to either quit or be fired. The university released a statement saying that Howe made the choice to leave her position.

Monday, December 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Michael Rao, the president of Virginia Commonwealth University, has withdrawn confidentiality agreements that he had required some university employees to sign, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. "The confidentiality agreements have been the subject of recent scrutiny and criticism and, unfortunately, have been misinterpreted in terms of what I sought to be accomplished by these agreements," he said in a statement. "I sincerely regret any undue burden or ill will that these agreements may have caused. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw all such confidentiality agreements."

Monday, December 6, 2010 - 3:00am

Business leaders in Louisiana are working with Gov. Bobby Jindal on a plan to grant considerable autonomy to Louisiana State University's flagship campus at Baton Rouge, with the goal of helping the campus improve academically at a time of limited state support, The Times-Picayune reported. The plan would grant LSU exemptions from many state requirements and give it increased freedom on setting tuition rates.

Friday, December 3, 2010 - 3:00am

Students and faculty members at West Chester University of Pennsylvania were alarmed by posters that recently appeared for a new organization for white students. But The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that campus officials investigated, and found that there is no such group. A spokeswoman said that the posters were put up in "a very innocent and naive attempt to create some sense of activism," and that students just "wanted a reaction" that would get everyone talking.

Friday, December 3, 2010 - 3:00am

Bill McCartney, former head football coach at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is apologizing for comments he has made about gay people -- and the apology has come as he has expressed interest in his old job, which is now open, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. In the past, McCartney has described homosexuality as "an abomination against almighty God," and the Daily Camera reported that some people urged Colorado not to rehire someone with such views. Now, McCartney said that he is not against any group. "The Bible says the whole gospel is found in the first two commandments, and those commandments are love God and love your neighbor as yourself," McCartney said. "What I regret is that I did not communicate that. I don't judge the gay community, and anybody who gets the impression that I do, that's just not the truth. I didn't communicate that well that day, and I regret that. I ask the forgiveness of anyone who thinks I judged them or look down on them. I don't."

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