Birmingham-Southern College may have to cut up to 20 percent of its budget because it recently discovered several years in which it awarded millions in financial aid beyond the institution's formulas, The Birmingham News reported. The article said that the formula called for the college to provide only the aid needed beyond federal Pell Grants, but that the aid office had been adding Pell Grants to students' need rather than subtracting it. Some high ranking officials have resigned as a result, the newspaper said.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Catholic University of America has selected John Garvey, the dean of Boston College's law school, as its next president, choosing him over the other finalist, H. James Towey, the controversial president of Pennsylvania's Saint Vincent College. The selection of Garvey, which was reported by The Washington Post and confirmed early Tuesday by a university spokesman, would make him the third lay president at Catholic, with the last serving from 1978 to 1982. Garvey taught law at the Universities of Kentucky, Michigan and Notre Dame before going to Boston College, where he has been a popular and well-respected dean. Sources confirmed that Towey -- who headed President George W. Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and has had a rocky tenure, marked by significant conflict with the faculty, at Saint Vincent -- was the other finalist.
The University of Waterloo said Monday that it would suspend its football team from competition in the 2010-11 academic year because of rampant steroid use by team members. The university's statement said that it had ordered teamwide drug testing after reports that police were investigating a player for trafficking in steroids. Canwest News Service reported that as many as nine players tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs. An official of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the country's college sports governing body, called the situation "the most significant doping issue" in its history.
The U.S. Department of Education has written a letter notifying colleges that the copyright provisions attached last fall to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 will take effect in July. The provisions, meant to help curb illegal sharing of copyrighted material such as music files on campus networks, require institutions to educate their students on what constitutes illegal sharing; deter them from engaging in such sharing; and develop plans to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading.”
Oxford University Press has issued a revised press release about the results of one of its programs involving open access publishing. The earlier release suggested a broad scholarly hesitancy to use open access and the revised announcement shows that the data were from one program. Supporters of open access were frustrated by the initial release (and angry at Inside Higher Ed for summarizing it, as comments here show). The revised release may be found here.
The University of Texas at Austin announced late Monday that it would pass up a lucrative invitation to join the Pacific-10 Conference and remain in the Big 12 Conference. The decision, which surprised many commentators who had predicted just hours earlier that Texas' move to the Pac-10 was "imminent," reportedly came after the Big 12's commissioner, Dan Beebe, made a last-ditch proposal that would more than double the revenues that each member of the league derives annually and let individual members (notably Texas) create their own independent television networks for their teams. (As has been the case throughout the latest round of conference shenanigans, Orangebloods.com, an online publication that covers the University of Texas' sports programs, had the most detailed and accurate information about the goings-on.) The Big 12 had been all but left for dead after the University of Nebraska left for the Big Ten Conference and the University of Colorado at Boulder bolted for the Pac-10. But the additional money that Beebe's plan would carve out for the colleges -- perhaps more than the intense pressure placed on them by lawmakers in Texas and Kansas university leaders who would have been left behind in a severely weakened Big 12 -- appears to have helped persuade UT to stay in the Big 12 and keep the Midwestern league alive.
Legal threats and negotiations delayed for three years the publication of an article -- that finally appeared last week -- by the American Psychological Association, The New York Times reported. The article in question offers a critique of the rating scaled used by courts to determine if someone is a psychopath, and the Times reviews the various articles about whether the article or its treatment raise questions about fairness, accuracy and academic freedom.
Two students at the University of Calgary -- identical twin brothers -- have sued the university for suspending them over a Facebook group they created about a professor, The Calgary Herald reported. The students' group was called "I no longer fear Hell, I took a course with Aruna Mitra," the faculty member whose course they criticized. The papers for the course were examined by an independent reviewer, who determined that the grades -- about which the group was critical -- were within the normal range, but the university still raised grades by one grade each. The university says that remarks made on the page were inaccurate. But the students' suit raises issues of due process and free speech. "I'm happy to fight for what I believe is right. There was an injustice done to us," Steven Pridgen, one of the students, told the Herald. "If a university is supposedly for bringing about free speech and change, especially in humanities and social sciences, that was not done in this situation."
New Internal Revenue Service regulations require colleges to estimate the value of some of the benefits they provide college presidents, such as housing. As The Boston Globe reported, colleges are interpreting the requirement in different ways. Some are reporting the monthly rental value of the entire home, while others argue that most of the home is a general entertaining space so that only selected rooms should be valued.
Eric Balderas, a sophomore at Harvard University, is facing deportation to Mexico, the country that he and his family left when he was 4, without the legal authority to come to the United States, The Boston Globe reported. Balderas was detained by authorities while trying to fly back to Boston from San Antonio, where he graduated from high school (as valedictorian) and where he had been visiting his mother.