Despite a freeze on executive compensation, administrator salaries at Rutgers University now cost the school $14 million, an increase from last year.
Though current administrators salaries remain frozen, new administrators came in at higher salaries than their predecessors, contributing to the increase.
Despite cuts totaling more than $173 million, University officials argue they need to maintain high administrative salaries to lure and keep strong staff. Currently, the president of Rutgers has the ninth highest salary among presidents of four-year institutions in the nation.
Months after Southwestern College in California received national criticism for suspending three professors that spoke outside the campuses “free speech patio,” Peralta Community College is considering adopting new restrictions on campus speech.
Though the speech policy is not finalized, the proposal would severely limit the places speakers can speak, would require they reserve space three business days in advance, would ban obscenity, profanity and amplification and would require that all notices on bulletin boards have an English translation. It would also prohibit “disruptive behavior” and “open and persistent defiance of the authority of college employees.”
The college administration argues the policy is necessary because of problems with an anti-abortion group that carries video cameras and post photographs of aborted fetuses.
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This week Illinois Governor Quinn vetoed a scholarship reform bill, arguing it doesn’t go far enough to stop lawmakers from rewarding campaign contributors and loyalists.
Illinois has long had a program whereby lawmakers can give out up to two four-year scholarships, or a combination of smaller scholarships that add up to the same amount, to whomever they see fit. Lawmakers often give those scholarships to campaign contributors or children of politically connected constituents.
The bill Quinn vetoed would have banned lawmakers from giving scholarships to someone whose family can be linked to a campaign contribution and would have blocked family members of a scholarship recipient from making contributions to the lawmaker responsible for the scholarship.
Quinn argued that only a complete ban on this type of scholarship would be sufficient to stop corruption. Under the law passed by the Illinois legislature, lawmakers could still give scholarships to children of politically connected parents, including lobbyists, campaign workers and volunteers and other allies.
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Students attending Georgia’s three research institutions, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, will pay $1,000 more in tuition next year, a 16.5 percent hike from the 2009-2010 school-year.
Students at two year schools will pay at least $50 more per semester. Students who started the University under the short-lived “Fixed-for-Four” program that guaranteed tuition rates for four-years won’t see the increase unless they take longer than four years to graduate.
The Board of Regents, however, did not increase student fees, a move students at UGA are pleased by. Most students at UGA receive the HOPE scholarship, which covers tuition costs and automatically increases when tuition increases. The scholarship does not pay for fees and is only given to students maintaining a high grade point average.
The tuition increase, however, will only cover about 35 percent of the budget deficit for the University System. The remainder will need to be made up by cuts at the individual colleges and universities.
Amid reports that students are struggling to finish college, new reports reveal that increasing numbers of college students require remedial courses to catch up on skills they failed to learn in high school.
Fully one third of first year students have to take at least one remedial course in subjects including math, reading and English according to a study by the Department of Education. The situation is worse in two year colleges where 42 percent need remedial courses.
For those grappling with tight budgets and high loans, remedial courses can help to break the bank. For example, students requiring a remedial reading course have a 17 percent chance of completing a bachelor’s degree. The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that remedial courses cost $1.4 billion nationally.
Professors are also seeing the problem. 65 percent of faculty members polled in the ACT National Curriculum Survey said that students were poorly prepared for college coursework.
Others, however, believe we’re simply sending too many students to college. This year set a record for the number of first year college students, some of whom are responding to societal pressure rather than a desire to be in college. Some suggest the solution is alternative job training for jobs that shouldn’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.
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A bill in Louisiana would remove all state funding from a university if its law clinic sues the state, individuals or makes constitutional claims—effectively forcing most of the clinics to close.
The bill comes after industry groups in the state complained about Tulane Universities environmental law clinic, arguing it was driving business out of the state. Earlier in the year, the law clinic sued the state for poorly enforcing the Clean Air Act.
Industry groups around the country argue that the law clinics discourage business and misuse government funds. Legal experts and educators argue that the clinics provide critical training opportunities for future lawyers and needed representation for low income and community organizations.
Most major law schools have at least one legal clinic allowing students working with faculty members to take on cases dealing with problems low income residents face, challenging free speech issues, environmental and public health problems and other issues.
Though the bill is targeted at Tulane University, it would impact other law schools in the state.
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After a state auditor was critical of the way North Dakota State University officials handled a series of building projects, several lawmakers want to take oversight of building projects away from the North Dakota Board of Higher Education.
The state auditor’s report showed that officials split up spending projects to avoid going to the Board for approval and used funds earmarked for asbestos to remodel the President’s office space. During the course of the audit, three officials at the University resigned.
In response, lawmakers are concerned that the Board struggles to say no to private organizations and fails to control spending of its staff. They’re now proposing moving the authority to oversee building projects to a different state agency or using the Bank of North Dakota to finance building projects.
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In what University officials argue could be the first of many such cancellations, two Mexican universities ended their exchange programs with the University of Arizona because of the states’ controversial new immigration law.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí canceled exchange programs with the University of Arizona because they were worried their students would be harassed while studying in Arizona.
So far, no other programs have been terminated as a result of the new law which makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is illegally in the country.
However, officials at the other two state universities, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, are worried their programs may be next. The University of Arizona also received letters from several families saying they would now be sending their children to schools in other states as a result of the law.
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Students at several campuses are stepping up campaigns aimed at changing Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians. Borrowing the tactics of boycott and divestment from the student-led anti-apartheid campaigns, students at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and the University of New Mexico are working to get their campuses to divest from companies making a profit in Israel.
While none of the campaigns has led to divestment yet, student organizers at UNM say raising awareness and creating dialogue is just as important. Nada Noor, coordinator of the Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East at UNM, told the Daily Lobo that “it sheds light on the direct relationship we have with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the effects their conditions (have) on ours.”
Other students, however, think their campaign is at best more harmful to Palestinians than helpful and at worst racist. Several members of the Israel Alliance noted that because the Palestinian economy is dependent on the Israeli economy, the boycott and divestment campaign could hurt Palestinians. Meanwhile, the president of the Alliance argued that the campaign was racist because it was attacking Israel when other countries had even worse human rights violations and are not targeted by the campaign.
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Kean University may soon eliminate all but one academic department, replacing them with academic colleges. While faculty members argue the proposal is an attempt to consolidate power, administrators argue is necessary to trim costs.
The plan, which could be put in place this summer, would replace academic departments headed by faculty chosen chairs with a smaller number of schools headed by presidentially appointed executive directors.
While the administration argues the plan is necessary to fill a budget hole that could be as high as $17.7 million, faculty members argue the plan could wind up costing the University money. Thus far, the plan does not include budget figures.
The faculty members contend that administrators are pushing the plan in order to reduce faculty power on campus.
They further argue that the plan will create logistical and accreditation problems. Under the plan, composition would be in a different school than the English department that created it and the Bachelor of Science programs in some disciplines would be in separate schools from the Bachelor of Arts programs, despite being taught by the same faculty members.
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