Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Justice Department has decided to intervene in a lawsuit alleging that Education Management Corp. violated federal law barring incentive compensation for recruiters, the company announced Monday. Qui tam lawsuits, as they are known, are filed under the federal False Claims Act by an individual who believes he or she has identified fraud committed against the federal government, and who sues hoping to be joined by the U.S. Justice Department. Interventions by the Justice Department, which in this instance came in a case filed in a Pennsylvania federal court, are rare, though. Education Management, which operates the Art Institutes, Argosy University, and South University, among others, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expected several states to join the qui tam action alleging violations of their state False Claims Acts, too.
Don Giljum, a lecturer at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and an uninvited observer of his labor studies course were arrested after an altercation in the class, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The uninvited observer had a camera with him. The course has been the subject of video postings by conservative bloggers -- postings that the instructors and the university have found to be distorted.
A new WikiLeaks cable shows that the U.S. Embassy in Canada is worried about "anti-American biases" in Canadian universities, The National Post reported. The cable describes incidents observed by an embassy official taking courses at a university in Ottawa of students and faculty members criticizing U.S. policy.
Following a faculty vote, Tufts University will note successful participation in a Reserve Officer Training Corps on graduates' final transcripts. Though Tufts does not have a ROTC unit on campus, some students train with other ROTC units in the Boston area, and that is not expected to change. But in the wake of the law authorizing the end of "don't ask, don't tell," faculty members voted to more formally acknowledge ROTC service, which has not previously been listed on transcripts. The faculty voted down a proposal that would have noted that service semester-by-semester, opting only for the designation on final transcripts.
The tornado devastation that hit Tuscaloosa last week largely ravaged non-campus areas of the Alabama college town, but it has resulted in the deaths of two students -- one from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and one from Stillman College. The campuses in town are reopening some functions today, but also have called off or delayed final exams and commencement ceremonies, given the destruction in the area. Here are links to the updates from Tuscaloosa colleges:
The impact is also being felt beyond Tuscaloosa. The University of Alabama at Huntsville, for example, is closed until Wednesday, and final exams have been suspended, because of continuing power outages.
Sunday was the official date for college applicants to let institutions that have admitted them know whether they will enroll, and the National Association for College Admission Counseling is urging institutions to be flexible in dealing with students and institutions from areas that have been hit by the natural disasters in the last week.
Ohio University on Saturday announced a $105 million grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations. The funds will be used to expand the class size of Ohio University's osteopathic medical college, and to create a satellite campus for the college in central Ohio.
Ruth J. Simmons, Brown University's president, announced Friday that its board will not vote to eliminate four athletic teams later this month, and that the squads are safe for at least another year. A Brown committee, convened at Simmons’ behest, made a recommendation two weeks ago that the university eliminate the men's and women's fencing, wrestling, and women's skiing teams due to budget constraints. Since then, athletes and coaches have criticized the recommendation, arguing that a decision on the fate of their teams was being rushed through the governance process. Simmons wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff, “While delaying the decision on the outcome for these teams is not ideal, I am persuaded that the committee’s [new] recommendation to allow students to complete the semester’s work without the burden or stress of addressing this issue is sound and compassionate.” Simmons wrote that she “will return to this matter in the fall."
The Massachusetts Community College Council's Delegate Assembly voted 74 to 26 on Saturday in favor of granting part-time members a full vote in electing chapter and statewide leaders. Support for a measure to amend the MCCC's bylaws has increased in recent years and this year crossed the two-thirds majority required for adoption. Previously, each adjunct was granted one-quarter of a vote in elections of leaders.
Queen's University in Canada is ending a boycott of the international rankings of Times Higher Education, citing last year's change in methodology by the publication, and the impact of staying out of those and other international rankings. A statement from Queen's noted that appearing in international rankings is key to attracting students from China and India. The statement quoted Chris Conway, director of institutional research and planning, as saying that “Queen’s is still concerned because the rankings focus mainly on research volume and intensity, and although Queen’s is one of Canada’s top research universities, our quality undergraduate student experience and out-of-classroom experience are not fully captured."