Your Daily Briefing, a New Feature for Chronicle Subscribers

May 23, 2017

Subscribers to The Chronicle now receive an email newsletter called the Daily Briefing. Through it, readers are presented with everything they need to know in higher ed to start their day. Below is an example of the Briefing, from Tuesday. To receive this newsletter, subscribe to The Chronicle.

Welcome to Tuesday, May 23. Today community colleges feel the effects of the loss of the IRS's data-retrieval tool to help students apply for federal aid, students at the University of Maryland at College Park speak out on campus racism, and one Texas high-school student faces trouble over in-state admissions policies.

Absent from the Fafsa-tool discussion.

The Trump administration's plan to restore online access to the Internal Revenue Service's data-retrieval tool, which makes it easier to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, might seem sufficient for some users. Officials have said the tool will restored for borrowers in income-based-repayment plans by the end of the month, and for Fafsa users in October. But the plan neglects some students "who are most vulnerable": applicants to community colleges. Read an article by The Chronicle's Beckie Supiano for more on why community colleges are especially hard hit by the tool's outage.

New top lawyer at the Education Department.

Steven Menashi, a law professor at George Mason University, will be the U.S. Education Department's deputy general counsel, overseeing higher education, Politico reports. He'll also be the department's acting general counsel until someone else is confirmed by the Senate. As a Dartmouth College student in 1998, Mr. Menashi wrote that federal student aid does not give students an incentive to attend low-cost colleges. He has also written about his support of school-choice policies.

Quick hits.

  • The chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities plans to step down today. His resignation coincides with the announcement of President Trump's budget proposal for 2018, expected to call for cuts in many government programs.
  • The National Institutes of Health would see its budget slashed by 18 percent, from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, under a spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year that the Trump administration is expected to release on Tuesday.
  • Pennsylvania State University's president, Eric J. Barron, called on Monday for a meeting to "drastically" change how the institution deals with fraternities and sororities. In March a student died in a hazing.

Twitter and racism on campuses.

After the University of Maryland at College Park announced it was working with the FBI to investigate whether a fatal stabbing on its campus last weekend was a hate crime, students there are sharing stories of campus racism on Twitter. Using the hashtag #FearTheTurtle, a reference to the university's Terrapin mascot, students have written about racial slurs and about microaggressions in class, among other things. The hashtag is typically used for university athletics and promotion.

The talkers.

  • The University of Chicago was founded after American slaves were emancipated, but it has ties to slavery nonetheless, says a post on Black Perspectives, which argues that the university should offer reparations.
  • If all eyes weren't on President Trump's leadership, Laura Kipnis's new book would be a bigger cultural event, Michelle Goldberg argues in Slate.
  • New guidelines on investigations into the integrity of published research still don't answer enough questions, says Elizabeth Wager in Retraction Watch.

Steadying a university.

Gregory Postel, interim president of the University of Louisville, visited The Chronicle's offices on Monday and discussed how he is trying to lead the institution back to sound financial footing. His predecessor, James R. Ramsey, was essentially forced out of his job under a cloud of controversy by Gov. Matt Bevin, who also sought to overhaul the governing board.

Dr. Postel said that Mr. Ramsey, after 14 years in the job, had left Louisville in financial shambles, with only 18 days of cash in reserve. The standard is more like six months. The interim president has cut marketing efforts that he said were not aligned with the university's mission. He is also, essentially, doing two jobs for the price of one by continuing to serve as interim executive vice president for health affairs. —Eric Kelderman

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Texas universities and admissions rules.

Madison Mau worked to become valedictorian of her rural Texas high school to ensure her a spot at the University of Texas at Austin. Under Texas law, the flagship campus must admit in-state students in the top 7 percent of their graduating classes. But in Ms. Mau's graduating class of 10 students, it's mathematically impossible to be in the top 7 percent. Read this Texas Tribune article to find out how Ms. Mau fought rejection from UT, and where she is headed this fall.

Comings and goings.

  • Sian Leah Beilock, executive vice provost of the University of Chicago, was named president of Barnard College at Columbia University.
  • Loretta Early, vice president and chief information officer at the University of Oklahoma, was appointed chief information officer at George Washington University.
  • Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College, in Georgia, plans to step down on June 30, 2018.


From The Chronicle's Chris Quintana:

Defeat isn’t easy for anyone, especially people who are used to winning as much the NBA superstar LeBron James is. Maybe that’s why, after his Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics on Sunday, he brusquely asked what a heckling fan had ever accomplished. He probably didn't expect the response: The fan said he'd “played at Hiram College, a private liberal-arts school in Hiram, Ohio."

Hiram might be better known for its academic record and for a notable 19th-century alumnus, President James A. Garfield. But its basketball team won Olympic gold back in 1904. And remember the Cavs game not long ago when LeBron playfully grabbed a beer and feigned drinking it? The vendor was a Hiram basketball player.

—Fernanda and Adam

Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez and Adam Harris are breaking-news reporters at The Chronicle. Reach them at and