All posts by Andy Thomason


Adjuncts at Ithaca College Vote to Unionize

Adjunct professors at Ithaca College have voted to unionize with the Service Employees International Union, the group said in a news release on Thursday. Part-time professors at the New York college voted 172 to 53 in favor of unionizing, according to the release.

The vote represents the latest victory for the union’s Adjunct Action project, which seeks to organize adjuncts across the country. New York colleges whose adjuncts have also voted to unionize with the SEIU include the College of Saint…


Saint Louis U. Moves Controversial Statue of Missionary Converting Native Americans

Saint Louis University has moved a 19th-century statue showing a missionary converting two Native Americans after protests that it endorsed colonialism and white supremacy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The statue, entitled “Where the Rivers Meet,” has been moved from outside a residence hall into a museum. The subject of the sculpture, the Jesuit missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet, is shown gesturing to the Native Americans from a higher platform. The move followed a handful of student protests about the statue in recent months.

St. Louis University has moved a controversial sculpture from outside a residence hall to inside a museum, in response to criticism from faculty and students who say the work reinforces the idea of white supremacy. The sculpture, by an unknown artist, is named “Where the Rivers Meet.”

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Chapel Hill Renames Building That Honored Ku Klux Klan Leader

Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted on Thursday to rename a building that previously honored a 19th-century graduate of the institution who was also a leader of the state chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, The News & Observer reports.

The Board of Trustees voted to rename Saunders Hall, named for William L. Saunders, as Carolina Hall, and to ban any other renaming of buildings for 16 years. The decision followed months of wrangling over the building, which had become the …


Like Numbers? Read the Education Dept.’s Mammoth Report on Education in 2015

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics on Wednesday released its annual report on the condition of American education. Included in the many-paged report are facts and figures encompassing higher, secondary, and elementary education. Among other things, the report notes that total enrollment in postsecondary education declined from 2012-13 to 2013-14, the number of master’s degrees awarded dropped from 2011-12 to 2012-13, and the average net price at four-year…


Surprise! Harvard Produces the Most MacArthur ‘Geniuses’

The colleges with the most undergraduates who go on to win MacArthur “genius” grants are exactly the ones you’d expect: Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of California at Berkeley, in that order. That’s according to new data released on Thursday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which awards grants worth $625,000 apiece to a prestigious group of fellows each year.

Here are some other findings from the data:

  • While less than 2 percent of American col…

Judge Throws Out a For-Profit Group’s Challenge to the Gainful-Employment Rule

A judge has thrown out a group of for-profit colleges’ challenge to the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful-employment rule, Reuters reports. The lawsuit was one of two filed last year in response to the department’s final rule, which seeks to judge career-oriented programs on their graduates’ ability to repay their student loans.

The lawsuit was brought by the Association of Proprietary Colleges, which represents 20 institutions in New York. In a written statement, the group’s executive dire…


NCAA Docks 21 Teams’ Postseason Eligibility for Poor Academic Records

Twenty-one teams will be ineligible for postseason play during the 2015-16 academic year because of their students’ poor academic performance, down from 42 last year, the NCAA announced on Wednesday.

The association’s annual release of its Academic Progress Rate, which measures athletes’ academic progress and retention, showed the aggregate score rose by two points on a 1,000-point scale in the 2013-14 academic year. The increase was driven by jumps in football and men’s basketball scores, the a…


As Degrees Are Cut, Critics Continue to Decry Dismantling of U. of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors last week voted to cut dozens of degree programs, The News & Observer reports. The board has voted to eliminate programs across the 16-campus system every other year for the past two decades, but this time around critics of the Republican-appointed board decried the vote as representative of its members’ quest to strip the vaunted system bare.

One board member’s remarks to The Daily Tar Heel, the system flagship’s campus newspaper, did…


College Will No Longer Ask Students to Examine One Another’s Vaginas

Students at Valencia College will no longer be asked to examine one another’s vaginas as part of their training to become ultrasound technicians, the Associated Press reports. Two former students sued the Florida community college this month, saying they had been punished when they objected to the procedure. Students will now use a simulator to practice such ultrasound scanning, which is used to look for fertility problems.

Last summer an independent review found the procedure had been handled professionally and safely, according to a written statement by the college’s president, Sandy Shugart. “Demonstrating our respect for and commitment to students is paramount,” he said.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida community college will no longer have ultrasound technician students practice an invasive vaginal procedure on each other, school officials said Tuesday, after two former students sued the college.

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Webster U. Students in London Are Denied Federal Financial Aid Over Rules Violation

Some Webster University students studying abroad in London have lost their federal financial aid after the university violated federal regulations, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Neither the Department of Education nor the college would say which rules were at issue, but dozens of students studying at Regent’s University London were left unable to receive financial aid starting in January.

The college said it had contacted each student to arrange one-on-one meetings to discuss other options, which included attending other overseas campuses and taking out private loans.

Last month Webster acknowledged other problems abroad, issuing a report that said its branch campus in Thailand had been plagued by ineffective leadership and poor facilities.

Dozens of Webster University students studying at the school’s campus in London were unexpectedly stripped of their U.S. financial aid this past school year because Webster ran afoul of U.S. Department of Education regulations. Neither Webster nor the Department of Education would elaborate on the exact rule the university broke, and a federal report that would spell out the violation has not yet been made public.

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