All posts by Nick DeSantis


Cable Giant Comcast Unveils Streaming-TV Service for Colleges

The cable giant Comcast this week introduced a new streaming-TV service for college campuses that college officials hope will also reduce bandwidth costs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The service is included with room-and-board charges for students living in on-campus housing. It allows students to stream live and on-demand programming to devices like laptops, tablets, and phones.

The company said the service would be available this fall at Bridgewater, Emerson, and Lasell Colleges, Drexel University, and the University of Delaware. Other colleges, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, will offer the program to students on a trial basis.

For schools struggling with rising bandwidth needs from students streaming video services like Netflix and YouTube, Comcast is pitching that its service has an added attraction. The service travels over Comcast’s “managed” network in Internet protocol format—similar to cable video-on-demand or phone services.

The traffic from those IP-based services travels on a special portion of Comcast’s cable pipe that is separate from the more congested portion reserved for public Internet access.

As a result, the service, due to its managed nature, would be unlikely to experience the sputters and stops that can affect Web video streaming over the public Internet.

More importantly colleges, which pay telecom providers for Internet bandwidth, would get a break on those costs because streaming the Comcast service won’t count toward a college’s Internet bandwidth capacity, a Comcast spokesman confirmed.

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U. of Illinois Chancellor Speaks Out on Denial of Job to Israel Critic

The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign broke her silence on Friday about the university’s decision to withdraw a job offer to a scholar accused of being uncivil in his harsh criticisms of Israel, The News-Gazette reported.

The university had offered the scholar, Steven G. Salaita, a tenured professorship in American Indian studies, with the offer subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. But the university said later that it would not forward his appoin…


Calif. Legislature Approves Bill Allowing 2-Year Colleges to Offer 4-Year Degrees

The California Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that would allow some community colleges to offer four-year degrees.

Brice W. Harris, chancellor of the community-college system, applauded the bill’s passage, saying many fields now require employees to have “higher skill sets than are offered through associate-degree programs.” The bill will allow community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees in areas not currently served by the state’s two university systems, he said in a news release.

The idea has drawn criticism, however, from some who fear it would drastically alter the colleges’ missions.

The measure, SB 850, would authorize a pilot program allowing 15 community-college districts to offer one bachelor’s-degree program each. The program would start in January 2015 and end in July 2023. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown. If he signs it into law, California will join 21 other states that have given community colleges the authority to grant four-year degrees.

Lawmakers said many students cannot afford or get into state universities. “This is a viable way to help these young people,” said Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido).

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U. of Colorado Backs Away From Renaming Dorms Using Arapaho Spellings

The University of Colorado has backed away from a proposal to rename two of the dormitories on the Boulder campus using traditional spellings of the Arapaho Tribe, The Daily Camera reported.

A campus planning group had approved a plan to rename two dorms—which are known as Kittredge West and Kittredge Central—Nowoo3 Hall and Houusoo Hall, respectively. Those names are taken from Arapaho words for two tribal leaders.

But a proposal that will go before the university’s Board of Regents seeks to …


Temple U. Investigates Alleged Anti-Semitic Attack on Student

Temple University is investigating an alleged anti-Semitic attack on a student that took place at a campus welcome event, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The university said in a written statement that the attack allegedly included “physical violence and anti-Semitic statements and religious slurs.”

Temple said it “unequivocally condemns the disparagement or assault of any person based on religion or nationality.”

The incident was said to have stemmed from an argument between a student and m…


Boston-Area Colleges Must Disclose Students’ Off-Campus Addresses

The Boston City Council voted on Wednesday to require colleges in the city to provide a list of off-campus addresses where students reside, The Boston Globe reported.

The vote came three months after the newspaper published an investigation into the city’s off-campus housing market that found widespread safety hazards. College leaders later largely agreed to disclose the addresses after a meeting with Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Wednesday’s vote codified that arrangement by amending the city’s univ…


Senators Call for Review of Air Force Academy’s Handling of Sex-Assault Cases

Two U.S. senators on Wednesday called for a review of how the Air Force Academy handles sexual-assault cases. The two lawmakers—Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and John Thune, Republican of South Dakota—asked the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to investigate claims that the academy retaliated against a sergeant and a cadet informant who was assigned to help him investigate drug use and sexual assault among football players.

The Air Force inspector general examined some of the allegations this spring, but a lawyer representing the sergeant said the final report on the inquiry was flawed.

A spokesman said the academy was confident that the investigation would not find any wrongdoing, adding that multiple federal agencies had determined that the academy “appropriately handles sexual assault cases.”

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BYU Removes Cards Celebrating Gay Marriage From Its Bookstore

Brigham Young University has removed greeting cards celebrating gay marriage from its bookstore, the Associated Press reported.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, believes that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

The greeting-card company Hallmark had stocked the cards, which read “Mr. and Mr.” and “Mrs. and Mrs.” When asked why they were removed, a BYU spokeswoman cited the institution’s honor code: That document states that being attracte…


Ex-Professor at U. of Kentucky Is Accused of Misusing $400,000

The University of Kentucky has accused a former engineering professor of misusing more than $400,000 and forcing visiting scholars and graduate students to work on his private consulting activities. The students received no compensation for that work. The professor, Dongping “Daniel” Tao, resigned last year after being confronted with the allegations.

A lawyer who said he had represented the professor in the past told the newspaper that he had not been retained in this case and could not comment on the accusations.

“The university is deeply disappointed by the serious misconduct that has taken place and we have undertaken a serious response,” said UK spokesman Jay Blanton. “To that end, much has been done already in terms of strengthening policies, processes and procedures. But more needs to be done, and we are steadfastly committed at all levels of the university to doing so.”

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After Criticism, U. of Houston Chief Halts Plan to Make Freshmen Live on Campus

The University of Houston’s president has scrapped a proposal that would have required freshmen to live on campus after the plan drew heated criticism from a state senator, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Administrators had pointed to data showing that students performed better when living on campus, and the university’s president, Renu Khator, has sought to make it more of a residential institution.

But State Sen. John Whitmire, a Democrat and Houston alumnus, harshly criticized the plan, sayin…