Category Archives: Government

Politics and policy in higher education.

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Iowa State U. Defends 9/11 Assignment Against Lawmaker’s Criticism

When an Iowa State University lecturer assigned students to write about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, from the perspective of a terrorist group, he drew harsh criticism from an Iowa legislator, but campus administrators have defended the assignment.

The 500-word paper was part of an online course taught by James Strohman for the university’s department of world languages and cultures, The Des Moines Register reported. The assignment has been part of the course for years, but it r…

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Moody’s Calls Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts a Credit Negative for Higher Ed

Steep cuts in research funding and the elimination of some programs in President Trump’s budget blueprint would be a credit negative for the higher-education sector, according to a report released on Tuesday by Moody’s Investors Service.

In the “skinny budget” released this month, President Trump called for a $9-billion cut at the U.S. Department of Education, reductions at academic research agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and the eliminati…

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With IRS Data Tool Down, Lawmakers Ask Education Dept. to Help Students

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate has asked the U.S. Department of Education to help families who may be affected by the outage of a popular online tool that had made it easier to apply for federal student aid.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Education Department announced this month that they had suspended the data-retrieval tool, a device that automatically pulls federal tax information into the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, th…

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In First College Visit, DeVos Praises Career Prep and Community Colleges

Betsy DeVos made her first official visit to an institution of higher education as education secretary on Friday, touring the jobs-training programs at Valencia College, a two-year college in Florida.

Ms. DeVos’s interest in community colleges — specifically, in career preparation — is consistent with her past statements on higher ed. In her first higher-ed address, in February, she noted “the importance of expanding vocational and technical education, the types of career and technical education…

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry Attacks Texas A&M Election as ‘Stolen’

Rick Perry, the U.S. secretary of energy, took time out of his day job on Wednesday to assail the outcome of a recent student-government election at his alma mater, Texas A&M University at College Station.

Mr. Perry, who was the state’s Republican governor from 2000 to 2015, said that the election for student-government president, in which an openly gay candidate won for the first time, had been “stolen,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Mr. Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president in…

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Trump Will Deliver Keynote Address at Liberty U. Commencement

Liberty University announced on Wednesday that its commencement in May would feature President Trump as the keynote speaker, making him the first sitting president to play that role at the Christian university since George H.W. Bush, in 1990.

The invitation from Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., may not be a surprise given his associations with the U.S. president. Some students protested Mr. Falwell’s endorsement of Mr. Trump during last year’s campaign. In January, President Trump asked h…

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Former For-Profit Lobbyist Quits Job at Education Dept.

Taylor Hansen, a former lobbyist for for-profit colleges, quit his job at the U.S. Department of Education on Friday, Bloomberg reports.

Mr. Hansen is the son of Bill Hansen, head of USA Funds, a student-loan-guarantee agency that has recently branched out into other career-education projects. The younger Mr. Hansen was one of only a few advisers to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with experience working in higher education.

He resigned after the department announced that it would reverse an Oba…

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Arkansas Is Poised to Shield Public-College Police From Records Requests

Arkansas legislators have overwhelmingly voted to provide the campus security forces of public colleges and schools with broad exemptions from the state’s freedom-of-information law.

The unusual measure, which the State Senate voted on Tuesday to approve and send on to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, declares a host of records kept by campus police and security offices at public colleges to be confidential and exempt from open-records requests. They include any information that, if disclosed, “could rea…

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U. of Wisconsin Campus Reverses Course on Firing Employee Who Supported Trump’s Travel Ban

The University of Wisconsin at La Crosse has had a change of heart in its decision to fire a campus-police dispatcher, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

Joe Gow, the campus’s chancellor, told the Tribune that the university should have investigated “more fully” before making the decision to fire Kimberly Dearman. “We should have had a hearing. We were wrong on that,” Mr. Gow said.

In a letter to the University of Wisconsin system’s Board of Regents, Ms. Dearman’s lawyer, Lee Fehr, said the univer…

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Trump Will Propose Shutting Down National Arts and Humanities Endowments

President Trump plans to propose eliminating the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities in his budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which is scheduled to be released Thursday morning, The New York Times reports.

The Times report cited two unnamed officials with knowledge of a meeting on Wednesday at which Jane Chu, chairwoman of the arts endowment, disclosed the plan to her staff.

The news was not unexpected, as The Hill reported in January that Mr. Trump, who at the time had not yet ta…