Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 17, 2018

Results from an EAB survey of more than 6,000 recent graduates from five public universities show that students who start their job searches at least six months before graduating, have a paid internship or join extracurricular organizations are more likely to get a good job after graduating. However, the research firm said most students do not participate in those activities.

For example, 34 percent of students started looking for a job between 6-12 months before graduation. Just 32 percent of surveyed students had a paid internship, while 31 percent had participated in an academic student organization.

"Students are increasingly focused on the kind of job and salary they can get right out of school. And administrators want to know what they can do to help students achieve their goals," Brandon Chinn, an EAB associate principal, said in a written statement. "This survey underscores how important it is for students and schools to be purposeful and proactive about career preparation. It also shows that too few students are doing so."

September 17, 2018

Mark J. Bird, a professor of sociology emeritus at the College of Southern Nevada, faces felony weapon charges after he shot himself in the arm in a campus bathroom late last month, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. A witness told police that Bird said he'd shot himself in protest of President Donald Trump, but no additional details were available. A spokesperson for the college did not say what disciplinary actions, if any, it would take in the case, according to the Review-Journal. A court hearing is scheduled for Bird this week.

September 17, 2018

After ruling that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unlawfully delayed an Obama administration loan rule designed to protect defrauded student borrowers, a federal district court judge is still weighing what, if any, provisions of the rule should go into effect.

The case is unfolding as the Education Department completes a more restrictive overhaul of the borrower defense regulations that DeVos launched last year. If the department issues the new rule by Nov. 1, it would go into effect in July of next year.

Judge Randolph Moss is considering whether the much more generous Obama rule should take effect in the meantime.

Certain mandatory provisions of the rule, such as automatic "closed school" discharge for borrowers whose institution shut down, would benefit students. Others, such as a ban on arbitration agreements and new financial responsibility requirements, would affect colleges -- many of them in the for-profit sector.

In a hearing on the case Friday, attorneys for the Education Department asked the judge for another chance to more adequately justify its delay of the rule. The government and for-profit industry representatives argued sudden implementation of the rule would be disruptive and a logistical nightmare.

But Adam Pulver, an attorney with Public Citizen, argued that federal law requires that the 2016 rule now go into effect. And he said continued delay of the rule means continued harm for borrowers.

Moss in the Friday hearing expressed skepticism that the dropping forced arbitration provisions in particular would be an "earth shattering" change for colleges.

September 17, 2018

Fifty-seven American colleges have committed to give at least two annual, renewable scholarships covering a minimum of 50 percent of tuition to international students next fall as part of the #YouAreWelcomeHere initiative. The initiative began after the 2016 elections as a social media campaign intended to convey colleges' openness to international students and recently expanded to include a scholarship component. A list of colleges that have committed to provide scholarships can be found here.

September 17, 2018

In today's Academic Minute, Steven Pirutinsky of Touro College explores if volunteering will provide benefits for all older adults. The recording will be posted later this morning. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 15, 2018

Hurricane Florence is still moving and it remains unclear how much damage it will do to colleges in the Carolinas. At Inside Higher Ed, we hope the damage is minimal and welcome reports from colleges on how they are faring. Please email editor@insidehighered.com.

Colleges throughout the region are closed, many of them with mandatory campus evacuations.

Many students from the College of Charleston have been evacuated to the University of South Carolina, which posted this photo.

East Carolina University tweeted photos (below) of some of its students volunteering in various efforts before Florence's arrival.

September 14, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh (at right) provided answers to numerous questions from senators about the Supreme Court nominee's views on many issues, including the policies of many colleges to consider race and ethnicity in admissions. In a series of decisions, the Supreme Court has said that colleges have that right, at least under certain conditions. Kavanaugh, however, did not not endorse those decisions.

He was asked about his work for President George W. Bush, who opposed the University of Michigan's policies to consider race in admissions, and whether he supported "only race-neutral" efforts. Kavanaugh's answer: "As a lawyer in the White House, any views I expressed would have been in keeping with trying to advance President Bush’s legal and policy agenda. As a judge and a nominee, your question implicates issues that remain in dispute and that may come before me as a judge. As I discussed at the hearing, and in keeping with nominee precedent, it would be improper for me as a sitting judge and a nominee to comment on cases or issues that might come before me."

Kavanaugh was also asked why, given his pride in hiring female and minority law clerks, he has not affirmed the right of colleges to consider race and gender in admissions. His answer: "I am proud of my record of hiring the best to serve as my law clerks -- including women and minorities -- and of my efforts to promote diversity. The extent to which public universities may consider certain factors as admissions criteria is the subject of precedent and ongoing litigation. As I discussed at the hearing, and in keeping with nominee precedent, it would be improper for me as a sitting judge and a nominee to comment on cases or issues that might come before me."

September 14, 2018

An Oregon grand jury has declined to indict two police officers at Portland State University who shot and killed a man this summer. Many students and others have said the man, Jason Washington, was doing nothing wrong, and was trying to break up a fight when he was shot. The incident led many student groups to call for the university to stop arming its police officers.

Rahmat Shoureshi, president of the university, issued a statement after the grand jury's decision in which he noted that the university will review -- with independent experts -- the incident and campus security policies. "Mr. Washington's death has deeply shaken all those involved as well as the greater campus community, and we are determined to learn from it," the statement said.

September 14, 2018

George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health defended its study on Hurricane Maria-related mortality rates in Puerto Rico on Thursday after President Trump falsely said on Twitter that an estimated death toll of around 3,000 was manufactured by Democrats who wanted to make him look bad.

 

The study by George Washington's public health school found 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico in September 2017.

"Researchers at the Milken Institute SPH in collaboration with scientists at the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health analyzed mortality, via use of death certificates and related information, from September 2017 through the end of February 2018," the Milken Institute School of Public Health said in its statement on the study, which can be read online here. "Using a state-of-the-art mathematical model, the team compared the total number of deaths during that time to the expected number based on historical patterns as well as age, sex, socioeconomic status and migration from the island."

"This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference," the statement continues.

"Our results show that Hurricane Maria was a very deadly storm, one that affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest. We are confident that the number -- 2,975 -- is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date."

Trump's tweets about the Hurricane Maria death toll were sent Thursday morning as Hurricane Florence was approaching the Carolinas.

September 14, 2018

An adjunct instructor in the aviation program at Utah Valley University, James Green, has resigned after students complained about anti-Muslim comments he made in a posting on a course website, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The comments were Green's reflections on 9/11, which he described experiencing in Manhattan. At the end of his comments, he said that he was "very opposed" to Muslims' immigration to the United States because "they hate us and always will." A university spokesman said that Green resigned voluntarily. He declined to comment to the Tribune about the incident.

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