Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.


After Weeks of Limbo, South Carolina State’s Board Fires President

Three weeks after putting South Carolina State University’s president on leave, the institution’s Board of Trustees voted on Monday to fire him, reports The State, a newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

The ousted president, Thomas J. Elzey, had drawn criticism for not doing enough to lead the historically black university out of a morass of debt and accreditation troubles, although the board did not specify why it had acted against him, according to The State.

The financial problems, including a $17-mil…


Legislation Linking Tuition to Average Wage Passes Washington State Senate

A bill that would tie tuition at public colleges in Washington State to a portion of the average state wage passed the State Senate on Wednesday, The Spokesman-Review reports.

The measure would sharply cut the cost of colleges statewide, with the larger ones required to set tuition at a higher percentage of the average annual wage — which is about $52,600 — and community and regional colleges assigned a smaller number. The tuition cuts’ cost to the state would be $112 million to $232 million.



AAUP Assails Wisconsin Governor’s Autonomy Plan

The American Association of University Professors has come out against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut ties between the State of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin system.

The proposal “could profoundly undermine tenure, due process, and shared governance in the university system, principles that AAUP has long seen as essential to ensuring higher education’s contribution to the common good,” the association said in a statement.

Raymond W. Cross, the system’s president, has supported t…


Lawmaker Asks Education Dept. for Clarity in Dispute Over Campus Counseling Records

A U.S. congresswoman has asked the U.S. Education Department to clarify a provision of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as Ferpa, that may allow colleges to view and release students’ counseling records.

Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat, on Wednesday wrote a letter to the department’s chief privacy officer, Kathleen M. Styles, seeking to clear up ambiguity surrounding the distinction between a student’s education records and his or her treatment records.

The letter appear…


Supreme Court Sends Notre Dame Contraception Case Back to Lower Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to reconsider its decision denying the University of Notre Dame an injunction against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-care mandate, Reuters reports.

A provision of the law commonly known as Obamacare requires that employers’ health plans cover contraception. But religious nonprofit organizations such as Notre Dame can opt out of the requirement, shifting the burden to a third-party provider at no cost to the organization. Still, religious …


Judge Orders S.C. State Trustees Not to Fire President, Because They May Be Fired First

Trustees at South Carolina State University cannot fire the president they suspended, a judge ruled on Wednesday, because they will probably be fired themselves in a matter of days, the Associated Press reports.

The board placed the president, Thomas J. Elzey, on administrative leave last week, two weeks after a state legislative panel shocked the historically black university by recommending that it be shut down for two years because of financial problems. That proposal was later spiked, with l…


Number of Colleges Under Investigation for Sexual-Assault Compliance Now Tops 100

The number of colleges being investigated by the federal government for compliance with Title IX in their handling of campus sexual violence has now topped 100, The Washington Post reports.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX and other statutes that prohibit discrimination in programs that receive federal funds, said on Wednesday that Stanford University, Washington and Lee University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Point Park Universi…


Thousands of Veterans Have Filed Complaints Against Colleges in New U.S. System

Thousands of veterans and active-duty members of the armed services have filed complaints against colleges through an online system created just over a year ago, officials in the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the officials said the VA had received 2,711 complaints as of February 22 and the Pentagon had received 223 as of September 30, 2014. (The Defense Department’s benefit progra…


Grinnell College Seeks Education Dept. Investigation of Its Sexual-Assault Policies

Grinnell College has asked the federal government to help determine whether the Iowa institution complied with federal sex-discrimination law in three cases of sexual violence, the Associated Press reports.

The college’s request, to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, is unusual. Typically a complaint from another party about an institution prompts an investigation by the office. Nearly 100 American colleges are now under investigation for their compliance with the gender…


3 Higher-Education Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Raise Research Funding

Three higher-education leaders are urging federal lawmakers to repeal sequestration and increase research funding in the budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

In a letter on Friday, the presidents of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Association of American Universities, and the American Council on Education wrote that continued limits on federal investment in scientific research and higher education would threaten the position of the United States as the world’s top economic…