Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 3, 2018

A Florida Atlantic University student was arrested for threatening to kill his professor on Twitter for scheduling a 7 a.m. exam, the Sun Sentinel reported. Rafael Decomas was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Wednesday night but was since released on a $5,000 bond. He told police that he “didn’t intent to harm anyone.”

“Bey i gern f---ing kill dis professor bey this is my confession to a premeditated murder,” the tweet read. It has since been deleted.

December 3, 2018

Central European University announced today that it has been forced out of Hungary and will move its U.S.-accredited academic programs from Budapest to Vienna in September 2019.

CEU says the Hungarian government refuses to ratify an agreement that would allow it to continue to operate its campus in Budapest under the terms of an April 2017 law on foreign branch campuses. The law was widely seen as a targeted attack by Hungary’s increasingly illiberal government on CEU and its founder, the liberal financier George Soros.

Inside Higher Ed will have more coverage of the situation later today.

December 3, 2018

A Drake University student faces potential expulsion and criminal charges after she was determined responsible for four of five racist notes found in campus residence halls, the Des Moines Register reported. The student, whose name has not been publicly disclosed, admitted to writing one of the notes and receiving one, and a Drake University spokesperson told the Register that the university is confident that all four of the notes reported by the student were hoaxes. The fifth note, found by another student in November, was unrelated. The notes resulted in white supremacist robocalls to students and faculty in early November.

December 3, 2018

A biracial student at Goucher College was arrested Thursday for painting antiblack and anti-Latinx graffiti that included swastikas and "KKK," along with specific student names, in two dormitory bathrooms, WBALTV 11 reported. Fynn Arthur confessed to both incidents, including writing his own name in the graffiti, and told police that he had “a lot of built-up anger with no way to vent on campus” and had been drinking. Arthur faces two counts of malicious destruction of property, has been banned from campus and will face a disciplinary hearing by Goucher.

December 3, 2018

The University of Dayton is ending academic programs at its China Institute after investing more than $14 million in the endeavor over six years, the Dayton Daily News reported. The university is “exploring a range of options” for the 68,000-square-foot facility located in the Suzhou Industrial Park.

“The Institute has experienced challenges in attracting faculty to teach and a critical mass of UD students to attend the China Institute, especially for its semester-long programs,” the provost, Paul Benson, said in an email quoted by the paper. “In addition, partnerships with other institutions to send their students to the China Institute simply have not borne fruit and are less likely moving forward.”

December 3, 2018

Duke University's board on Saturday voted to remove Julian Carr's name from a campus building that houses the history department. The department and others had pushed for removal of the name because Carr, while a donor to the university, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1900 on a white supremacist platform.

December 3, 2018

Adolph E. Wright, Bowie State University's music director, resigned following an internal investigation that confirmed student hazing, WTOP reported. The Symphony of Soul band program, which includes the marching, pep, jazz and concert bands, is on probation and will not travel, compete or play at athletic events for the rest of the year after the university investigated hazing allegations that included paddling, intentional physical discomfort, punishment for certain conduct, harassment and ridicule.

December 3, 2018

The Education Department’s Office of Inspector General will examine the department’s dismissal of civil rights complaints and the relationship between colleges and online program management providers, it said in its fiscal year 2019 annual plan released last week.

The department under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been criticized for restricting its investigations of federal civil rights complaints. Among other changes, the department earlier this year gave officials the ability to dismiss complaints that are part of a pattern of similar complaints from the same filer. The department, which was facing a lawsuit from several civil rights groups, said last month that it would reverse that change.

ProPublica found that the department has dismissed more than 1,200 complaints filed under the Obama administration without any corrective action.

Online program management providers -- which include companies like Pearson, 2U and Wiley Education Services -- help existing brick-and-mortar institutions launch online education programs. The inspector general will examine the extent of those companies’ relationships with educational institutions. And it will pay particular attention to disclosures to students and whether contract language involving student recruitment reflects the intent of incentive compensation regulations.

December 3, 2018

Six years ago, in 2012, Inside Higher Ed introduced its Cartoon Caption Contest, which we hoped would entertain and engage our readers with an alternative to our usual weighty reportage and commentary. Once a month since then, Matthew Henry Hall gave our readers something to chuckle about, get creative with and vote on.

Many good things come to an end, and so it is for the caption contest. This month provides your last chance to vote on our three favorite captions for our last cartoon, which you can do here.

And congratulations to the winner of our penultimate contest: Jennifer Westman, registrar at Wyoming Catholic College. Her caption for the cartoon at right -- "No gaming in the library during finals week. Your 'Call of Duty' should be finishing your essays and studying for your exams!" -- received the most votes from our readers. She will receive an Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon.

Thanks to all of you for your participation in the contest over these six years, and to Matthew Hall for inspiring you.

December 3, 2018

It will likely be easier for advanced degree holders from U.S. universities to get H-1B skilled worker visas under a rule change proposed by the Trump administration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a proposed rule today that the agency projects will result in a 16 percent increase in the number of H-1B visa recipients who have a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution.

H-1Bs are a popular route for international students who want to stay in the U.S. to work after graduation, but because of statuary caps there are typically not enough available to meet demand. Using a lottery system, the U.S. awards 85,000 H-1Bs annually, 20,000 of which are reserved for holders of advanced degrees from U.S. universities. Currently, the 20,000 spots reserved for advanced American degree holders are selected first, and any applicants with advanced degrees who are not selected in that round are put into the general pool to compete for the next 65,000 available spots.

The proposed rule change would reverse that order, putting all applicants in the general pool for 65,000 spots, and subsequently selecting from the remaining pool of advanced degree holders for the 20,000 additional spots. The administration projects that the proposed change will result in increases in the number of H-1B beneficiaries with a master's degree or higher from a U.S. institution, and decreases in the number of beneficiaries with less than a master's degree from a U.S. institution or those with advanced degrees from foreign institutions.

The Department of Homeland Security characterized the proposed change as being in line with its goals of changing policies "such that H-1B visas are more likely to be awarded to the most-skilled and highest paid beneficiaries." The proposed rule will be open for comment through Jan. 2.

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