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Lawmakers Investigate Education Dept.’s Role in Forgiving Student-Loan Debt

A group of Democratic lawmakers is pushing the U.S. Department of Education to more frequently forgive the loan debt of students who attended colleges that engaged in “fraudulent activities.”

Five U.S. senators and a member of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday, stating that the department should “take immediate action” to inform students eligible for debt relief — including those who attended the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges — of thei…

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Last 3 Defendants Are Convicted in Hazing Death of Fla. A&M Student

A jury took just three hours on Friday to convict the final three defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University student, the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press reported.

The defendants — Darryl Cearnel, Aaron Golson, and Benjamin McNamee — were convicted of manslaughter and felony hazing in the death of Robert Champion in November 2011. Mr. Champion, the drum major in the university’s famed marching band, suffered fatal injuries when he was hit, kicked, and punched by a group…

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Eastern New Mexico U. Drops Use of Tribal Name for Women’s Teams

Eastern New Mexico University’s Board of Regents on Friday voted to discontinue the use of a tribal name and symbol for the institution’s women’s sports teams. Eastern New Mexico had used the name “Zias” for its women’s teams since 1981, after the people of the Zia Pueblo. But the board decided to drop the name after students voted to discontinue its use.

The women’s teams will now be called the Greyhounds, sharing the name of the men’s teams. The regents’ action came at the request of the university’s president, Steven Gamble, who said a number of other groups had also supported the change.

According to Gamble, the University consulted the current women’s athletics teams on the issue, and he said they responded in a generally supportive matter.
“The Alumni Office sent out 11,000 emails, and approximately 1,400 to 1,500 people read those emails,” Gamble said. “The office received approximately 29 responses as of April 15, and the majority supported the discontinuation.”

Read more at: www.pntonline.com

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Sweet Briar Faculty Members Sue to Block College’s Closure

Fifty-six faculty members at Sweet Briar College have sued to block their institution from closing, The News & Advance, a newspaper in Lynchburg, Va., reported.

The lawsuit, filed in a state court, seeks $42 million in damages for tenured faculty members and an additional $2 million for nontenured faculty. It also asks the court to issue orders preventing the college from shutting down.

The women’s college, on a 3,250-acre campus near Lynchburg, announced suddenly last month that it would close in August, shocking many in the campus community and prompting the college’s supporters to begin an effort to keep the institution open.

The faculty lawsuit is the third legal action to challenge the college’s closure. The other two were filed by the Amherst County attorney and by a group of students, parents, and alumnae. In the county attorney’s lawsuit, a judge issued a 60-day injunction barring the college from using charitable contributions on the closure, but otherwise declined to stop the closure from proceeding.


The faculty complaint claims the “financial exigency” cited in their termination letters as the reason for the end of their employment does not exist.

The college, the complaint claims, is not facing insurmountable financial challenges.

The complaint points to “high scores in public reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Forbes, and the Council of Independent Colleges’ Financial Index,” among other evidence.

Read more at: www.newsadvance.com

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Bill Clinton Will Leave Honorary Chancellorship at For-Profit Laureate

Bill Clinton will step down as honorary chancellor of the for-profit giant Laureate Education Inc., after five years in the post, Bloomberg News reports. The company said the former president’s departure was not related to the presidential campaign of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who has begun to denounce “bad actors” in the for-profit sector.

“Laureate students represent the next generation of leadership,” Mr. Clinton said in a written statement. “I have seen a commitment to quality and leadership throughout the Laureate network, and I have enjoyed being a part of it.”


Former President Bill Clinton’s role at a for-profit higher education company will end Friday, just as his wife has begun questioning some of the industry’s practices from the campaign trail. Since 2010, Clinton has been honorary chancellor of Laureate International Universities, part of Laureate Education Inc. the world’s largest chain of for-profit colleges.

Read more at: www.bloomberg.com

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Many College Athletes Feel Pressure to Play Despite Concussion

More than one-quarter of college athletes responding to a survey said they had felt pressured by coaches, teammates, fans, or parents to keep playing following a head injury. Nearly half continued competing while experiencing symptoms of a possible concussion.

The findings, from a report published on Friday in the journal Social Science & Medicine, suggest that coaches and teammates exerted the most pressure, and that athletes who had been diagnosed with a concussion during the previous season w…

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College of DuPage Faculty Wants President Put on Leave

Faculty members at the College of DuPage voted unanimously on Thursday night to ask that the two-year college’s trustees put its president, Robert L. Breuder, on leave until federal and state authorities complete their investigations of the Illinois college, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“We are currently headed down a path that is destructive to this institution,” reads the Faculty Senate’s resolution. “Regardless of your allegiances to Dr. Breuder, it is time to act decisively. If evidence is f…

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Fraternity Expels 3 From U. of Florida Chapter for Insulting Wounded Veterans

[Updated (4/24/2015, 6:31 pm.) with news of the fraternity chapter's suspension.]

A fraternity has expelled three members of its University of Florida chapter after finding they insulted a group of wounded veterans, The Gainesville Sun reported. Laurence Bolotin, executive director of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, also said in a written statement that the fraternity had hired an investigator to “gather all of the facts.”

And late Friday, the Sun reported, the university suspended the fraternity chapter, which was already on probation for hazing. Because of the pending probation, the university could end up expelling the chapter.

The controversy stems from the chapter’s formal, held last weekend in the same place a group of wounded military veterans were staying. The veterans reported that some fraternity members spit on them, threw beer at them, and urinated on an American flag.


Laurence Bolotin, executive director of Zeta Beta Tau International, said three UF students the fraternity found to be involved in the incident have already been expelled from the chapter and further action will be taken if necessary.

Read more at: www.gainesville.com

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Sweet Briar Closure Prompts Comparisons to Invasions of Iraq, Rohan

The sudden announcement last month that Sweet Briar College would close provoked shock among students, faculty, and alumnae who protested that an institution with an $85-million endowment couldn’t be in financial straits dire enough to warrant shutting down. The Board of Trustees’ decision was misguided and irresponsible, they claimed.

That argument has persisted (as has the institution’s answer that closing was the most responsible option), but it has also gotten more elaborate. Consider the fo…

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Education Dept. Issues New Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault

The U.S. Department of Education has released new guidance reminding colleges that they must designate Title IX coordinators. In the new documents, the department’s Office for Civil Rights describes colleges’ responsibilities under the anti-discrimination law and the role of the coordinator in depth.

The position of Title IX coordinator has proliferated on campuses since 2011, when the department said it would more strictly enforce the law, which requires that students’ reports of sexual assault…