All posts by Andy Thomason


Faculty at Pennsylvania’s State-Owned Colleges Launch First-Ever Classroom Strike

Faculty members at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned colleges and universities hit the picket lines on Wednesday morning as the system’s faculty union declared a strike over failed contract negotiations. It’s the first ever classroom strike in the history of the system, which enrolls more than 100,000 students.

Negotiations over a new contract for the system’s roughly 5,000 faculty members fell apart late Tuesday night, with the union and the administration giving differing accounts of what had been…


One-Third of Low-Income Student Borrowers Who Rehabbed Loans Could Default Again

[Updated (10/17/2016, 11:45 p.m.) with additional information and editing changes.]

One in three student-loan borrowers with very low incomes who have “cured” a loan in default in the past year are likely to default again, according to a report released on Monday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The federal agency’s student-loan ombudsman’s latest annual report highlights complaints the bureau has received from the “most economically distressed” borrowers about the transition from de…


Education Dept. Revokes Recognition of Embattled Accreditor of For-Profit Colleges

[Last updated (9/22/2016, 8:26 p.m.) with additional reaction.]

The U.S. Education Department has decided to revoke the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the much-maligned accreditor of many for-profit colleges.

Emma Vadehra, chief of staff to the secretary of education, wrote in a letter on Thursday that she agreed with the recommendations of Education Department analysts and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrit…


Governor Can’t Unilaterally Cut Colleges’ Budgets, Kentucky Justices Rule

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s governor, Matt Bevin, overstepped his legal authority in cutting public colleges’ budgets by 2 percent, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

In March, Governor Bevin, a Republican, ordered that the budgets of the commonwealth’s public colleges be cut by 4.5 percent — a number later revised to 2 percent. That prompted Attorney General Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, to sue the governor, saying the order was “unconstitutional and illegal.”…


Rutgers Athletic Director Apologizes for Chugging a Beer While Fans Cheered

Pat Hobbs, the athletic director of Rutgers University at New Brunswick, has apologized after a video of him chugging a beer on an outdoor stage surfaced this week, The Star-Ledger reports. In the video, Mr. Hobbs is shown downing the beer, handed to him by a member of the crowd, at a tailgate at last Saturday’s home football game against the University of New Mexico.

Mr. Hobbs said he had appeared on stage to try to calm the crowd. As to whether he succeeded, judge for yourself:

“I regret that…


Former U. of Louisville President Will Leave Lucrative Foundation Post

James R. Ramsey, who recently left the presidency of the University of Louisville, has stepped down from his position as head of the university’s foundation, The Courier-Journal reports. Ever since Mr. Ramsey’s departure from the university’s top spot, he had been dogged by questions about that other role, which in 2014 brought him a compensation of $2.8 million in addition to his salary as president.

According to the newspaper, Mr. Ramsey said in a resignation letter that foundation leaders wan…


After Closing Campuses, ITT Says It Will Cease Operations Entirely

ITT Educational Services Inc., which last week announced it would close all of its campuses following a new wave of federal scrutiny, will now cease operations. The company said in a federal filing on Wednesday that it would close, effective on Friday.

Last week’s announcement disrupted the education of tens of thousands of ITT students, who can now either transfer to other institutions or apply to have their loan debt discharged by the U.S. Education Department. The company has said it was the …


Chapel Hill Student Says University Botched Investigation of Her Rape by a Football Player

[Updated (9/13/2016, 4:30 p.m.) with a statement from the university.]

A female student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says that she was raped by a football player there, and that the institution has failed in its handling of her case, The News and Observer reports.

The student, Delaney Robinson, said in a public statement on Tuesday that she was raped the night of February 14; that the campus police peppered her with insensitive questions; that investigators, while questioni…


Sociologist Wants to Dedicate a Monument to the Anonymous Peer Reviewer

Ever feel like your journal submission is a crap shoot? This is the monument for you.

A sociologist in Russia wants to dedicate a large concrete cube at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics to the anonymous peer reviewer. As noted on Igor Chirikov’s Kickstarter page, and in an article by the magazine Nature, the monument would be shaped like a die, with the five visible sides labeled “Accept,” “Minor Changes,” “Major Changes,” “Revise and Resubmit,” and “Reject.”

But that’s not all. With a donati…


As For-Profit ITT Announces Closure, Thousands of Students and Employees Face Uncertainty

[Last updated (9/6/2016, 6:54 p.m.) with news of a lawsuit filed by ITT employees, and more context.]

The more than 40,000 students and 8,000 employees of ITT Educational Services Inc. on Tuesday grappled with the fallout of the for-profit’s announcement that it would close in response to heightened scrutiny from the federal government.

“It is with profound regret that we must report that ITT Educational Services Inc. will discontinue academic operations at all of its ITT Technical Institutes pe…