John Huppenthal, Arizona's superintendent of schools, led a successful campaign to suspend Mexican-American studies from the Tucson public schools. Fox News reported that he now has the University of Arizona Mexican-American studies program as a target. "I think that’s where this toxic thing starts from, the universities,” Huppenthal said in an interview with Fox News Latino. "To me, the pervasive problem was the lack of balance going on in these classes." It is unclear what Huppenthal could do to a public university program. A university spokesman said via e-mail: "We're not issuing public comment at this time, since there haven't been any conversations yet between the university and Mr. Huppenthal regarding the Mexican-American studies program."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Providence's mayor urged Rhode Island legislators Thursday to approve legislation that would allow the state's cities to charge colleges and other nonprofit institutions taxes of up to 25 percent of what they would owe if they were taxable entities, The Boston Globe reported. Providence is among numerous cities that have been looking to their tax-exempt institutions to help it fill budget gaps left by state budget cuts and declines in other revenues.
Faculty members at New England College quickly pledged to donate $100,000 after learning that the college planned staff layoffs, and that such a sum would prevent them, The Concord Monitor reported. The layoffs had been planned as one way to deal with a $350,000 deficit created by an enrollment shortfall. While the layoffs have been averted, staff members will be required to take furlough days (anywhere from five days to several weeks) between now and June.
A county judge ruled Wednesday that the University of California can release its full report on police officers' controversial use of pepper spray to disperse student protesters last fall, withholding only the names of most of the officers, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The university's police union had sued to block the release of the full report, arguing that some elements of it should remain confidential, as would be the case with the results of a police internal affairs investigation. Judge Evelio Grillo rejected that comparison, but agreed that names and ranks of officers could be withheld to prevent harassment of officers.
A UC statement said that the university would ultimately like to release the officers' names, and that it remained unclear exactly when the report would be made public.
The Roman Catholic group at Vanderbilt University on Wednesday announced that it would become an off-campus ministry rather than staying on campus and trying to comply with a university anti-bias rule that bars all student groups from discriminating on the basis of religion (among other factors), The Tennessean reported. Vanderbilt is among a number of colleges and universities that require all student organizations to be fully open to all students. Some Republican legislators are pushing to bar state student aid from going to such colleges, Nashville Public Radio reported.
The sponsor of legislation that would bar Georgia's public colleges from enrolling students in the United States without legal documentation agreed Wednesday to an amendment that would strip the ban from broader immigration legislation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The state senator behind the proposed ban, Barry Loudermilk, said the provision on colleges' enrolling illegal immigrants threatened to undermine the broader bill. Officials of the University System of Georgia opposed the measure, saying they had already taken steps to ensure that undocumented students could not enroll in any college that is turning away qualified applicants.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which does significant work on California's community colleges, open educational resources, and other higher education realms, named a new president on Wednesday. And like his predecessor, Larry Kramer is the dean of Stanford University's law school. Kramer succeeds Paul Brest, its president since 2004. As dean at Stanford, Kramer was credited with creating or expanding law centers dedicated to social justice, public service, and international legal training and prodding law students to expand their study of other disciplines.
Three coaches of teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I men's basketball tournament are earning more than $4 million this year, three more earn more than $3 million, and 16 in all are paid more than $2 million, according to a database of coaches' pay published Wednesday by USA Today. The database, which includes information on most of the 68 teams participating in the tournament (except for those at several universities that declined to release the information), is accompanied by articles exploring the issues raised by the coaches' salaries, including how their institutions afford them and the disadvantage that less-wealthy colleges are at in the competition for top coaches.
Two band faculty members at Florida A&M University were present during hazing of pledges who wanted to join an honorary band fraternity, several students have told authorities, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The hazing allegedly took place at the home of Diron Holloway, a FAMU professor who is director of the marching band's saxophone section, and involved paddling. Holloway and the other faculty member, Anthony Simons, a music professor, could not be reached for comment. The police report detailing the allegations is the latest development in the investigation of a student death last year that appears to be hazing-related. The university has maintained that it has long had a "no tolerance" approach to hazing, a stance undercut by the report of faculty involvement. The report was released Wednesday and both Holloway and Simmons were then placed on leave by the university, The Tallahassee Democrat reported.