All posts by Andrew Mytelka


Hillary Clinton Proposes Expanding Support for Campus-Based Child Care

Hillary Clinton focused on the importance of adequate child care for college students who are also parents in an appearance on Friday in Dubuque, Iowa, The New York Times reported.

In remarks on the campaign trail for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, Mrs. Clinton proposed increasing federal spending, to $250 million from $15 million, on a program that provides funding for campus child-care centers. She also proposed awarding $1,500 annual scholarships to as many as a million under…


U. of Illinois Officials Kept Secrets by Using Personal Emails

Top officials at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used personal email accounts to converse about a series of campus controversies, apparently as a means of shielding the messages from the state’s open-records laws, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In 1,100 pages of emails that the university said on Friday it was releasing “in the interest of transparency and disclosure,” administrators exchange messages on such controversies as the rescinding of a job offer to Steven G. Salaita and the hiring of James W. Kilgore.

Many emails, the Tribune reported, are from the account of Phyllis M. Wise, who resigned unexpectedly on Thursday over what she described as a series of “external issues.” One email from Ms. Wise ended with the observation: “This place is so messed up.”

“A desire to maintain confidentiality on certain sensitive University-related topics was one reason personal email accounts were used to communicate about these topics,” according to a U. of I. press release. “Some emails suggested that individuals were encouraged to use personal email accounts for communicating on such topics.”

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Blackboard Is for Sale in Auction That Might Draw $3-Billion Bids

Blackboard, the giant provider of learning-management software, is for sale. According to the Reuters news agency, the privately held software company is seeking a buyer unfazed by an estimated $3-billion price tag. The company has hired two banks to conduct an auction to find such a buyer. Blackboard was taken private in a buyout four years ago. Since then, it has faced increased competition from educational-technology start-ups.

Blackboard’s majority owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has hired Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) to run an auction for the company, the people said this week.

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U. of North Dakota May End Up With ‘North Dakota’ as Nickname

The University of North Dakota’s president said on Friday that, while he appreciated the work of a campus committee charged with recommending a new nickname for the university, he wasn’t wholly satisfied with its choices, the Grand Forks Herald reports. In a public email, the president, Robert O. Kelley, wrote that he welcomed the list of recommendations, but he thought it was missing one nickname option: “North Dakota.”

The email followed criticism of the committee’s decision to omit “North Dakota” as well as no nickname from the list of finalists, which the public will vote on this fall. The five finalists — Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders, and Sundogs — were selected from a long list of proposed nicknames, some of them not very flattering, that were submitted by the public. The university has been without a nickname since 2012, when it retired its Fighting Sioux moniker.

“I want to state here that we are ‘North Dakota,’ and we will always be ‘North Dakota.’ I believe it is in the best interest of the University to have a new nickname—something that will go along with continuing to be ‘North Dakota’ — just as other major universities have nicknames. I think students, alumni, and fans would benefit from having cheers, chants and songs that connect to a true nickname. But that doesn’t and won’t detract from the fact we will always be ‘North Dakota.’ ”

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San Jose State President, Who Led Online Push, Will Leave for Post in Afghanistan

Mohammad H. Qayoumi, whose aggressive moves in online education and campus technology drew sharp faculty criticism, announced on Monday that he would step down as president of San Jose State University next month in order to serve as chief technology adviser to the president of Afghanistan, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Mr. Qayoumi, an Afghan native who has led the California university since 2011, had ambitions to make the institution as innovative as the Silicon Valley businesses that sur…


South Carolina, Having Lowered Confederate Flag, May Host NCAA Tournaments

For the first time in nearly 15 years, South Carolina could soon serve as host of championship tournaments sponsored by the NCAA. Shortly after Gov. Nikki R. Haley signed legislation on Thursday that would remove the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds, the chairman of the NCAA’s Board of Governors released a statement praising the state’s action, which came just three weeks after a white-supremacist gunman shot dead nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C.

The statement went on to say that “South Carolina may bid to host future NCAA championships once the flag no longer flies at the State House grounds.” The NCAA boycott dates to 2002. USA Today reported that Mississippi is now the only state barred from hosting such NCAA events, because of the use of the Confederate emblem on its state flag.

“We commend South Carolina lawmakers for taking this action to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds.

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Laid-Off Professor Is Reinstated at Northwest Nazarene U., but With Limits

Thomas Jay Oord, a theology professor who was laid off this spring in a controversial move by Northwest Nazarene University’s president, will be reinstated, but only to a part-time position that lasts for no more than three years, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Christian institution’s Board of Trustees.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reported that the board endorsed the actions taken by the university’s president at the time, David Alexander, to repair its finances. His announcement of layoffs and budgetary retrenchment in March drew fire because, critics said, Mr. Oord, a well-liked professor, had been singled out over theological differences with the university.

Mr. Alexander denied that was so, apologized to Mr. Oord for how the announcement had been handled, and put the planned layoffs on hold amid a faculty outcry. But Mr. Alexander was subjected to a no-confidence vote and subsequently resigned.

In Friday’s statement and an accompanying announcement, the board said it had reached an agreement with Mr. Oord under which he would teach part time in the university’s online theology program, for a maximum of three years, and would be paid in full for the 2015-16 academic year because the settlement occurred after the end of the 2014-15 year.

In a statement and video posted on his own website, Mr. Oord said he expected the board to conclude that he had been “wrongly selected for a layoff,” and was “shocked” at not winning full reinstatement. Still, he said, he accepted the agreement and hoped eventually to land a teaching ministry at another university. “My colleagues at NNU and the leadership must work now to shore up the university’s commitment to academic freedom,” he wrote.

“In these difficult months (and even years), my family and I have been sustained by the encouragement and words of affirmation,” he wrote. “I am especially grateful to literally hundreds of former students and colleagues who sent notes explaining how my life has made a positive difference. Some have even talked about how my teachings and influence have helped them regain belief in God, return to the church or overcome debilitating dilemmas.”

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Washington U. in St. Louis Hails Turnaround in Student Diversity

Washington University in St. Louis, which has drawn sharp criticism for years for its lack of student diversity, announced on Friday a jump in diversity in the freshman class enrolling this fall, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The university said the proportion of the class who are black will rise to 9 percent from 5 percent; Hispanic to 8 percent from 6 percent; and low income to 11 percent from 8 percent.

Critics said the university had climbed in the college rankings by using merit scholarships to enroll well-prepared students who were well-off and not from underrepresented groups. After The New York Times highlighted the pattern, in January, the university vowed to increase its socioeconomic diversity.

Holden Thorp, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, told the Post-Dispatch that the university had not been forced to lower its standard to raise its diversity.

“What we found is that there doesn’t have to be a trade-off,” Thorp said. “We looked at the students who didn’t get in last year, and we realized that we could broaden our criteria a little bit.” This very slight relaxing of admissions standards, Thorp said, had a negligible effect on the quality of students enrolled.

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Kansas State’s President Will Donate His Raise to Support-Staff Program

Kansas State University’s president said on Friday that he was grateful for the 2-percent raise the Kansas Board of Regents awarded him this week, but instead of accepting it he planned to donate it to the University Support Staff Awards program, for use elsewhere on the campus, The Hutchinson News reports.

In a message to the campus, President Kirk H. Schulz said that “since we were not able to provide a campuswide salary pool this year for faculty and staff, I do not feel it is appropriate that I should receive a raise.” The News reported that Mr. Schulz’s base salary is $466,951, so his raise amounted to about $9,339.

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz said Friday he appreciated the 2-percent salary raise approved Thursday by the Kansas Board of Regents, but he won’t pocket it.

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Legislation on Campus Sex Assault Nears Approval in New York

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and legislative leaders agreed on Tuesday on a bill that would set rules for all colleges, private and public, to handle sexual assault on their campuses, the Syracuse Media Group reported.

The legislation, which has the support of the State Senate’s and State Assembly’s leadership but still faces votes in both chambers, would extend a modified version of Mr. Cuomo’s “Yes Means Yes” policy, imposed last fall on State University of New York campuses, to private colleges.

The measure would further its goals by allocating $10 million to state, local, and campus law enforcement, to rape-crisis centers, and to colleges. Capital New York, a news website, quoted the head of New York’s private-college association as describing the bill as “balanced, appropriate, and helpful for students and campuses.”

Cuomo is confident that the legislation will pass, and tweeted his thanks to Lady Gaga and others this afternoon for their support of the legislation. The law, billed Enough is Enough, is built around a different catch-phrase: Yes Means Yes. Students should get consent, a verbal “yes,” at every stage of a hook-up.

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