Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Lawyers whose arguments against the consideration of race in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin were recently rejected have filed a new appeal, The Austin American-Statesman reported. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit last month upheld the consideration of race and ethnicity in the admissions process. Specifically, the court rejected the lawsuit's claim that Texas has been able to achieve some level of diversity through its race-neutral "10 percent" admissions plan and so need not use other forms of affirmative action. The plaintiffs have now asked the full U.S. appeals court to consider the case.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

David Powers is suing St. John's University after its law school kicked him out over a 10-year-old conviction for selling LSD, The New York Daily News reported. Powers was ranked third in his class, but the university maintains he was not honest about his criminal past -- having admitted to a conviction for drug possession, but not for selling LSD. A lawyer for Powers appealed to the university's Roman Catholic heritage, saying: "This is a Vincentian university.... They're supposed to be about forgiveness."

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Dov Borovsky, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, was arrested last week on felony charges of grand theft and fraud based on his expense reimbursement claims, The Gainesville Sun reported. According to authorities, Borovsky took three trips to Malaysia as a consultant to a company based there, was reimbursed by the company for the travel, but also submitted expense forms to the university for travel reimbursement. Borovsky, whom the university has placed on leave, could not be reached for comment.

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations, on Thursday released a letter strongly endorsing the proposed "gainful employment" regulations that are being opposed by for-profit colleges. The letter is designed in part to counter the lobbying campaign of the for-profit colleges, which has portrayed these institutions as helping low-income, minority students advance economically. "For-profit colleges have launched an all-out campaign using the American Dream as bait to trap vulnerable students into underperforming schools and saddle them with a lifetime of debt,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of the Leadership Conference, in a statement. “We support the Education Department’s efforts to hold these schools accountable by issuing this rule and vigorously enforcing it.”

Friday, February 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Lisa Anderson, the new president of American University in Cairo, was scheduled to be inaugurated this coming Monday -- and the university has postponed the event indefinitely due to the current political crisis in Egypt. Anderson remains on the job in Cairo, and although classes and all other university events were called off this week, she has been posting updates on the university's website to keep students and faculty members informed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Harold Raveché, who resigned last year as president of Stevens Institute of Technology, has agreed to pay off more than $721,000 in low-interest loans from the institute that were part of a dispute over compensation and governance that led to a lawsuit against Stevens by New Jersey's attorney general, The Star-Ledger reported. The suit, since settled, questioned the oversight by the Stevens board of the then-president. While he lived in a university-owned home, the loans were given to allow him to buy two vacation homes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 3:00am

More Americans who identify themselves as struggling economically are worried about the affordability of higher education than about any other financial stress, according to a report, "Struggling in America," released Thursday by Public Agenda. The findings, based on interviews conducted with 1,004 adults Nov. 18-21, 2010, revealed that 77 percent of parents who were struggling economically said they were worried about paying for their children's education, making it their most common personal financial worry. In contrast, 61 percent of the same group of respondents said they personally worried that they would not be able to afford to retire, while 45 percent feared being able to pay their mortgage or other debt. Coming in last was the fear of losing one's job (32 percent).

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 3:00am

The 26 osteopathic medical schools in the United States have received more applications for admission during this academic year -- with three months left for applications -- than during all of last year. As a result, this will be the fifth straight year in which applications have set records, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. At this point, the colleges are receiving about 20 applications for every available spot.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 3:00am

Continuing its campaign against federal efforts to dramatically toughen oversight over for-profit colleges, an advocacy group on Wednesday sued the U.S. Government Accountability Office, accusing Congress's investigative arm of producing a "negligently written, biased and distorted report that foreseeably caused substantial financial injury" to the industry. The lawsuit by the Coalition for Educational Success, which accuses the GAO of engaging in "professional malpractice," stems from the highly publicized report by the agency last July that became the centerpiece of Senator Tom Harkin's investigation into the commercial college sector. GAO later released a revised version of the report that softened some of its findings (though not its underlying conclusions, Harkin and GAO officials insisted). The lawsuit against GAO follows a series of other steps that the coalition and associations of career colleges have taken to challenge the aggressive reviews that both Harkin and the Education Department have undertaken in the last 18 months.

Thursday, February 3, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Anthony DeBlasi of the State University of New York at Albany describes some of the distinct features of celebrations of the Chinese New Year. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

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