Higher Education Quick Takes
California's public higher education systems have agreed to drop opposition to a state bill that will require much more disclosure of records about their foundations and auxiliary operations. However, the colleges and universities have been assured of provisions that will preserve in most cases the right of donors to be anonymous. With the agreement, the bill is expected to be enacted.
A state judge has ordered the University of Virginia to release documents produced by Michael Mann, who formerly taught there, to a conservative foundation requesting them as open records, The Washington Examiner reported. Mann is a climate researcher whose work is consistent with the scientific consensus on climate change, but who is doubted by some conservatives. In an e-mail, Mann said: "I think it's very unfortunate that fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers ... continue to harass U.Va., NASA, and other leading academic and scientific institutions with these frivolous attacks."
The board of the University of Vermont has ended the official volunteer role of Rachel Kahn-Fogel, wife of President Daniel Fogel, in fund-raising and other events, The Burlington Free Press reported. The move came amid an investigation into Kahn-Fogel's apparent pursuit of a personal relationship with a senior administrator at the university, Michael Schultz, associate vice president of development and alumni relations. Kahn-Fogel's interest in Schultz became known when Schultz's wife -- who is currently in divorce proceedings with him -- found unopened letters from Kahn-Fogel to Schultz. He acknowledged in the divorce proceedings that he had secured a post office box to receive the letters privately. Fogel released a statement in which he said that he supported the inquiry, and revealing (with his wife's permission) that "she has long been in treatment for serious mental health issues with which she has struggled throughout her life."
Schultz wrote his doctoral dissertation on issues related to the spouses of colleges and university presidents; Inside Higher Ed has quoted him about the subject and published an essay in which he offered advice to presidential spouses. One of his points: "A good reputation is hard to earn but easy to lose."
Fogel announced in March that he would step down as president next year, after 10 years in office.
Students who arrived at Alpine College, a for-profit college in Washington State, were stunned Monday to find the institution shut down, The Spokesman-Review reported. Many of the students had just started courses, and paid tuition. The owner and the vice president did not respond to requests for comment, but a statement from the college cited financial problems and the poor health of one of the owners. One owner was barred in 2007 from working as a certified public accountant for two years. And a former executive director is facing charges of theft of college funds to make $45,000 in personal purchases, the newspaper said.
It would probably be a cheap joke to call it a mixed marriage -- but the Touro College and University System is announcing today that it is taking over control of New York Medical College from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Touro, which describes itself as "America’s largest, not-for-profit, independent institution of higher and professional education under Jewish auspices," will add the private health sciences institution in Westchester County, N.Y., to its mix of osteopathic medicine and pharmacy colleges. New York Medical College operates a medical school, a graduate school in basic medical sciences, and a School of Health Sciences and Practice. The institutions announced 18 months ago that they would affiliate; under the arrangement to be announced today, Touro will appoint a new board to operate New York Medical College.
Colleges in and around Joplin, Mo., were not among the sites hardest hit by this week's devastating tornadoes, but are playing a role in recovery efforts, raising money, operating as relief centers -- and also trying to verify the safety of their students and employees. An article in The Springfield News-Leader reviewed the efforts. These web pages describe efforts at Crowder College and Missouri Southern State University.
The Thiel Foundation is today announcing its inaugural class of fellows in an unusual program: $100,000 and mentorship for two years as long as the talented recipients agree to stay out of college. More than 400 people applied, and 24 fellowships are being awarded. The idea behind the program is that talented young entrepreneurs should set out to create businesses without waiting for formal education credentials.
Architecture faculty members at Tel Aviv University are angry over the design for a new wing of the architecture school, saying that the design doesn't work with the campus, Haaretz reported. Faculty members say that the university can't object to the design because the architect is also the donor.
The Connecticut Senate ended a Republican filibuster Tuesday and passed legislation that would let undocumented immigrants who attended and graduated from high schools in the state pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, The Hartford Courant reported. The House of Representatives has already passed the bill and Governor Dannel P. Malloy has said that he will sign it.