Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.

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‘Yes Means Yes’ Bill Clears California Legislature

California lawmakers gave final legislative approval on Thursday to a bill that would require colleges to adopt a “yes means yes” standard for defining sexual consent in investigations of sexual-assault allegations, the Bay Area News Group reported.

If the measure, Senate Bill 967, is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, all public and private colleges that receive state student-aid money would have to agree that silence or lack of resistance does not imply a green light for sex, and that drunke…

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U.S. Senator Asks California Colleges to Voluntarily Adopt Her Sex-Assault Bill

Sen. Barbara Boxer wrote a letter on Tuesday asking California higher-education leaders to voluntarily carry out the provisions of a bill she introduced last month aimed at preventing sexual assault on college campuses.

The Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act, introduced by Senator Boxer and another California Democrat, Rep. Susan Davis, would require all federally funded colleges to appoint a victim’s advocate charged with supporting survivors of campus sexual assault in a myriad of ways. …

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U.S. and Calif. Agencies Put New Restrictions on Corinthian Colleges

Corinthian Colleges Inc., the troubled for-profit higher-education company that is gradually closing its doors under an agreement with the U.S. Education Department, is facing new challenges on two fronts, both made public on Monday.

First, the company said in a regulatory filing that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused Corinthian of violating the Dodd-Frank Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The agency told the company it would be open to a settlement if Cori…

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Interest-Rate Cap on Loans Is Now Automatic for Qualifying Service Members

The Department of Education on Monday made it easier for members of the armed forces to pay lower interest rates on their federal student loans. Service members who qualify for a cap on their interest rates under the Higher Education Opportunity Act have had to request that the benefit be applied to their loans. But the department’s new guidance directs student-loan servicers to consult a government database and automatically apply the cap for qualifying borrowers.

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U.S. Offers Religious Colleges New Accommodation on Contraceptive Insurance

The Obama administration on Friday offered a new accommodation to nonprofit religious organizations, including colleges affiliated with faith groups, that object to providing contraceptive coverage as required by the administration’s health-care law, Politico reported.

The administration has sought several times to ease the objections of organizations that, for religious reasons, oppose  providing coverage for contraceptives. But so far those accommodations have failed to satisfy religious colle…

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Calif. Says Catholic Colleges’ Health Plans Must Include Abortion Coverage

California’s health department has reversed an earlier decision that had exempted two Roman Catholic universities from a state law that requires employee health-insurance plans to cover most abortions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the Cardinal Newman Society and two advocacy groups that oppose abortion have urged the department to retract its latest decision, warning that it violates federal law and puts federal funds for California at risk.

A 1975 state law requires group health pla…

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University Coalition Is Among Challengers to FAA’s Drone Rules

The Council on Governmental Relations, a coalition of 188 research universities, is one of three groups that on Friday filed lawsuits challenging recent regulations on unmanned flying machines, the Associated Press reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that the rules are an attempt to clarify what counts as a model aircraft and the limits on their operation. Professors have argued that the rules improperly restrict their ability to use drones for academic purposes.

Last year the…

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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…

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U.S. Charges Kent State With Housing Bias for Refusing Student’s Therapy Dog

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday charged Kent State University and four of its employees with housing discrimination for refusing to allow a student to keep a therapy dog in her campus apartment, the Plain Dealer reported.

The department said in a news release that the charges stemmed from complaints filed by a Kent State student and her husband and a fair-housing advocacy group. The student suffered from “panic disorder and anxiety,” and a university psychologist …

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Insurer of Louisiana College Can Refuse to Cover Contraception, Judge Rules

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a Christian college in Louisiana does not have to comply with the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, reports The Town Talk, a newspaper in Alexandria, La.

U.S. District Court Judge Dee D. Drell ruled that Louisiana College’s insurance provider does not have to cover contraception methods that the institution deems “religiously offensive.”

The ruling reads, in part: “In the present case, Plaintiff has established a sincere religious belief th…