Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

August 20, 2012

Officials at the University of Ulster, having mistakenly offered admission to all 370 students who applied for its 194 slots to study engineering this year, will enroll all of them even though many of them did not achieve the requisite academic requirements, The Irish Times reported. The university sent out an e-mail offering admission to all of the students who applied, rather than just to those who had qualified for admission. Some of the students would have earned places in other colleges at Ulster, so the number of students who would not have enrolled there numbers about 100, according to the newspaper.
 

August 20, 2012

With regularity, new studies document the dangers to college students of binge drinking, generally defined as four drinks at a time for women and five for men. But today new research being released at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association reports that college students who binge drink are happier than those who do not. Carolyn L. Hsu, an associate professor of sociology at Colgate University, and Landon Reid, a law student at New York University, surveyed nearly 1,600 students at a residential liberal arts college that was not identified. The survey found that those students who engaged in binge drinking were happier than those who were not. Further, "higher status" groups on the campus (wealthy, white, male, heterosexual and Greek students, among others) were more likely than others to binge drink and to be happy about it. And students from "lower status" groups, if they engaged in binge drinking, were happier than were their counterparts who didn't engage in binge drinking.

August 20, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Darby Dyar of Mount Holyoke College explains one of the more spectacular instruments aboard the Mars Science Lab’s Curiosity rover. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 20, 2012

The University of Oregon has paid $25,000 to a political consulting firm to try to influence a student vote in October on whether to impose a new fee to finance renovations of the student union, The Register-Guard reported. Administrators want the students to authorize the fee, but they have twice rejected the idea. A memo about the consultants' work obtained by The Register-Guard said that critics would be described as "narrow minded" and "stubborn." Student leaders are criticizing the decision to hire the consulting firm, saying that students should be able to express their views without an expensive campaign to influence them.

August 17, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Catherine Clark of Chapman University explains the connection between sunlight and water pollution. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

August 17, 2012

A newly released poll of influential types, including lawmakers, gave President Obama better marks than Mitt Romney on education policy. The poll, which was conducted by Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm, focused mostly on K-12 issues. However, it found that a Romney administration probably would not seek to substantially revise student aid policies. Respondents also said for-profit colleges should be somewhat concerned about a second term for Obama.

August 17, 2012

The University of Colorado at Boulder announced Thursday that it will ban guns from undergraduate dormitories. A ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in March ordered the university to allow those with permits to carry a concealed weapon to bring it on campus. But the University of Colorado Board of Regents has said that, consistent with the decision, the campuses could still develop some rules. Boulder will let those with a concealed weapons permit bring guns into graduate housing, provided the weapons are kept in a safe when not being carried.

August 17, 2012

Jim Donnan, who was head football coach of Marshall University and the University of Georgia, was charged by federal regulators Thursday with running a Ponzi scheme that took money from fellow coaches and former players, The New York Times reported. Donnan is accused of, in collaboration with an Ohio businessman, cheating investors out of $80 million. A lawyer for Donnan did not respond to calls seeking comment.

 

August 16, 2012

The long, disturbing tale of the Rev. Mark Gruber and Saint Vincent College has apparently come to an end, with a Vatican-imposed penalty barring the former faculty member from the priesthood in response to allegations -- disputed by his supporters and by civil authorities -- that he downloaded child pornography. Gruber, a longtime and widely respected monk and professor of anthropology at the Benedictine college in Pennsylvania, was one of the few campus officials who publicly criticized leaders there during a governance controversy in 2008, reportedly angering the then-president, James Towey, and the Right Rev. Douglas Nowicki, who headed the board of the Saint Vincent Archabbey.

The following fall, college officials barred him from the campus and reported him to local police, saying they had found child pornography on a computer in a common area outside his office. The charges were dropped after police concluded that no images on the computer had been of men under the age of 18, and that the computer was in a common area and many people had access to it. The following year, another Saint Vincent employee came forward and took responsibility for having downloaded the images.

Despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing by Gruber, Saint Vincent officials continued to push for his ouster as a priest through the Vatican. In a statement Tuesday, the Saint Vincent Archabbey said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had found him guilty of "canonical crimes" of possession of child pornography, "production of materials which gravely injury good morals; abuse of the Sacrament of Confession (but not a violation of the sacramental seal); and defamation of a legitimate superior." It ordered him to live the rest of his life in prayer and penitence in a residence chosen by the Vatican, barred him from "exercising any public priestly ministry," and restricted him from any contact with anyone under the age of 18.

August 16, 2012

The editors and editorial staff of The Red & Black, the student newspaper of the University of Georgia, walked out Wednesday night after the university gave editorial control of the publication to the official who used to serve only as an advisor, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. Ed Morales, who now has control of the publication, declined to comment. But students said that since they lose control of the paper, they were being forced to do articles that they did not believe in. The students have set up a blog, Red and Dead, detailing their concerns, including being told, when in doubt, to focus on "good" stories rather than "bad" stories (the latter category including articles that might cast anyone in a bad light).

 

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