Welcome to Paideia Times. Our goal is to be the information gateway to the essential questions facing higher education trustees. Please examine the new issue and tell me what you think. Peter Meyer, Managing Editor

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TOP STORIES  UVA senior speaks out on self-censorship.... Orange is the new Blues.... Calls to end legacy admissions.... Mental health counseling goes virtual.... Fight over anti-racism instruction continues....  Tenure under siege....  Harvard’s $100 million mea culpa....  and more.

Leaders or Lily-Livered on Free Speech? 
College administrators trying to make up their minds. MORE

Speaking out on Self-Censorship An un-shy UVA senior takes her case to the NYT. MORE

Will Hecklers’ Vetoes Prevail? Tis the season. MORE

Harvard’s Big Post-Pandemic Plans Hint: long lectures don’t work in the virtual world. MORE

NCAA President to Depart Under “Mutual Agreement” No more “rah rah sis boom bah” for Mark Emmert. MORE

DEI Education: Can There Be Too Much?
It stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. MORE 

No Good Deed Goes Unopposed? U Mass at Boston could use a bit more sis boom bah. MORE 

Slavery Redress: Harvard’s $100 million mea culpa Do the math: what percentage of a $53 billion endowment is that? MORE 

Orange Harmonies are the New Blues
Admissions scandal verdict could send a water polo coach to  jail for 20 years. MORE

Balancing Activists’ Demands While Honoring Flawed Heroes What exactly were they thinking when they wrote the Bill of Rights? MORE 

Cal State Chancellor’s Resignation Leaves Plenty of Questions Should Joseph Castro be getting $400K a housing allowance, and an advisory position for a sex abuse cover-up? MORE 

Columbia, MIT, and Howard Presidents Bid Farewell Yes, Virginia, some leaders leave without controversy. MORE 

New Leaders Feature a First, a Sport Shooter, and a Politico
Keeping hope alive. MORE 

Number and Diversity of Applications Surge to Record Levels Some good news for a change. MORE 

Calls to End Legacy Admissions Gain Momentum Is it a fad or does the practice perpetuate inequality? MORE

Litigation Proliferation: Two Professors, a Baker, and a Coach Lawyer Up You can’t make this stuff up. MORE

Tuition-Assistance Initiatives Gain Momentum As the free-college hopes are dashed, schools get creative about helping students. MORE

Sex Harassment Cases Reveal Scope of Problem, Steep Costs  Joseph Castro is not the only abuser-by-administration. MORE

MIT Test-Score Requirement Revives Fairness Debate  The fabled science school bucks the trend to throw out the SAT test. MORE

The SAT Faces Digital, Test-Optional Future  Another major change prompted by the pandemic. MORE

Mental Health Counseling Goes Virtual  If social isolation caused by Covid created the problem, can social isolation caused by the Internet solve it? MORE

Tenure Under Siege One of higher ed’s perennials has bloomed again. MORE

Federal Suit Filed in Harvard Sex Harassment Case
Poor Harvard. MORE

A Legislative Quick Fix Gets UC Berkeley out of Enrollment Jam It no longer has to follow a court-ordered cap. MORE

Opinion of Higher Ed Improves Except among Independents. MORE

ExTernal ORDERS |
Despite Growth, Black Colleges and Universities Face Challenges Bomb threats and budget woes. MORE

College Is Expensive It’s going to get worse, though some states are taking up the slack and most students are still paying less than the sticker price. MORE

Changing the Carnegie Classification Say what? Most people don't know what it is, much less its impact. MORE 

Rankings Challenged A Columbia mathematician says his school cooked the books. MORE

Highly Selective Colleges Are Becoming Even More Selective The Ivies have single-digit acceptance rates. MORE 

Is the Pandemic the Breaking Point for Higher Ed? Only half the jobs lost to Covid have been recovered.  MORE

Free Affordable College for All Biden’s hopes are dashed, but momentum is mounting to increase the Pell grant from $6,495 to nearly $13,000. MORE 



1     Administrators: Are They Leaders—or Lily-Livered—on Free Speech?   Protecting free speech and academic freedom starts at the top. In the wake of controversy over satirical posters plastered around his campus, a George Washington University interim president at first vacillated but eventually wrote that the university values free speech, the posters were protected speech, and there would be no investigation. But what are the trends in college administrators’ willingness to protect free speech and open inquiry? In opinion pieces, some have alleged unwarranted investigations and administrative call-outs of professors, censorship of art, deliberate obscuration of the name of a controversial invited speaker and her topic, expulsion for controversial social media posts, blocking faculty from serving as expert witness, disinviting speakers, and more. One professor alleges that some administrators prefer to pay a financial settlement to professors whose academic freedom they have violated rather than honor academic-freedom principles. So, which is it: leaders or lily-livered?  to the top

2     University of Virginia Senior, Not Shy Herself, Speaks Out on Self-Censorship   Emma Camp, a University of Virginia senior took to The New York Times to decry her peers’ self-censorship in classrooms, on the quad, and on social media. She says “consequences for saying something outside the norm can be steep” across the political spectrum, noting that she feels anxious as a self-described liberal. Survey data confirm self-censorship is common but also that students have varied experiences. Considering students’ experiences by race, white and Asian students are more likely to report being reluctant to speak, while Black and Hispanic students are more likely to report feeling unsafe because of speech on campus. Paradoxically, self-censorship exists in a campus context of large student majorities supporting free speech and hearing all views; a minority of censorious students intimidate their peers. Ms. Camp writes that students cannot solve this problem and it is up to university leadership to develop strong free-expression policies and support viewpoint diversity. Others see a student-led “grassroots civil-dialogue movement” creating inclusive campus forums for open discourse.  to the top

3     Heckler’s Veto Prevails at Some Schools, Fails at University of Virginia   It’s not even commencement—a.k.a. disinvitation season—yet, and speakers are already being threatened with the heckler’s veto. Most notably, given law schools’ role in preparing their graduates to ensure a fair hearing for all, the heckler’s veto was deployed against conservative speakers at Yale Law School and the University of California Hastings College of Law. Meanwhile, at the University of North Texas, it was used to silence a Republican politician critical of the transgender movement. In contrast, the University of Virginia president and provost refused to disinvite a prominent Republican and took steps to ensure his speech would be delivered without interruption. Some commentators—including a canceled speaker and a UNT professor who is father to a transgender son—lamented the students’ actions, while others cheered them. Meanwhile, prominent free speech advocates Howard Gillman and Erwin Chemerinsky, who serve as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, and dean of the University of California, Berkeley Law School, respectively, argued that though students’ alacrity in using the heckler’s veto is worrisome, the greater threat to campus free speech comes from state legislators’ meddling in campus discourse and classrooms.   to the top

4     Harvard’s Big Post-Pandemic Plans   When all teaching and learning moved online in March 2020, Harvard University faculty quickly learned that long lectures didn’t work in the virtual world. Seemingly overnight, they discovered the virtues of breaking up courses into smaller chunks and the benefits of “blended” learning. This spring, Harvard’s Future of Teaching and Learning Task Force issued a report detailing recommendations for expanding the university’s digital presence, culminating in a three-phase implementation plan. Phase I (immediate) recommendations revolve around enhancing a “culture of innovation” by encouraging faculty and schools to continue exploring online forms of learning. Phase II (one to three years) calls for investing in Harvard’s technology infrastructure, developing content strategies, and building a new Harvard-wide online platform. Phase III (long-term) will focus on the expansion of “Harvard Global Learning 2.0.” But faculty members won’t have to wait years to share what they’ve learned. The demand for short-form content from Harvard faculty is exploding, as other educational institutions, third-party online learning platforms, and training companies consider its possibilities for master classes, executive programs, and even podcasts.  to the top 


5      NCAA President Mark Emmert to Depart Under “Mutual Agreement” In a surprise turn, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) president Mark Emmert announced that he will step down, two years earlier than expected, as part of a “mutual agreement.”  At a time of convulsive change for college sports, the organization faces a gamut of criticism: “remarkably ineffective,” acts like a cartel; is losing its grip on how college sports operate. Issues that normally land in their wheelhouse have spun into other venues. In 2021 the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA couldn’t limit educational payments to athletes; state legislatures have allowed student athletes to make money from their names and likenesses; and a current proposal in California could allow some students, according to one estimate, to earn up to $132,000 annually. Emmert survived a no-confidence vote last year after a viral video showed inferior weight facilities at the women’s basketball tournament, and this past March a rules controversy erupted when transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won at a Division I women’s event. The upcoming change in leadership will allow an “opportunity to consider what will be the future role of the president,” according to John DeGioia, NCAA chair. Emmert will stay on through June 30, 2023, or whenever his successor is named. to the top

6  DEI Education: Can There Be Too Much? The Liaison Committee on Medical Education accredits medical school education programs in the United States. Its purview includes supporting student and faculty diversity and teaching cultural competence. Some say there is now a disproportionate emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies in medical education, and they cite one example of a DEI “overdose”: Of the University of North Carolina’s 24 DEI officers, 8 are employed by the medical school, which has 2,393 enrollees, while undergraduate and graduate enrollment combined is 31,538. So  the DEI officer-to-student ratios are 1:300 med students and 1:2,000 in all other areas of study. Critics say this overemphasis will lead to politicized medicine. How else do you  “train for” and support diversity? Fred M. Hayward, who served on the Committee on Studies and Instructions in Race Relations while working on his PhD dissertation at the University of Wisconsin in 1967, offers a half century of perspective: “Even a liberal-seeming university in the 1960s often operated in ways that furthered racism, even if this was unintended.” He also believes “the challenges on campuses remain almost as difficult now as they were in the 1960s and are perhaps made more difficult by the internet and social media which have generated strong opposition to those efforts.” His advice on anti-racism training: “It is not just attitudes that need to change; policies nationwide also foster institutional racism. These changes are going to be particularly hard for primary and secondary education if state legislatures continue to outlaw the discussion of historic and systemic institutional racism, with some districts threatening fines for teachers who do so.”  to the top

7    No Good Deed Goes Unopposed? Some have applauded the efforts of the University of Massachusetts at Boston in their efforts to create a new mission and vision statement. Others criticized an early draft, which commits the university to becoming “an anti-racist and health-promoting institution that honors and uplifts the cultural wealth of our students.” With 59 percent of undergraduates being first-generation college students, and 62 percent identifying as members of a minority group, some believe a UM-B statement with language about striving to be anti-racist sends the message that “you’re welcome here...and we value you.” However, 75 faculty members have signed an open letter of opposition from the College of Science and Mathematics, which called the draft statement “deeply flawed in content, direction, and representation.” Their worry? “Concerns that the university is subordinating the First Amendment rights and academic freedoms of its faculty and students to the pursuit of an ideological agenda.” In another instance of proclaiming laudable goals but perhaps missing the mark, Morgan Stanley and Princeton have been warned in a letter from the Project on Fair Representation that the Freshman Enhancement Program, which is available only to Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and/or LGBTQ college freshmen, is faulty. The letter pointed out that “the use of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation discrimination to advance these goals is blatantly illegal and immoral,” citing two federal civil rights statutes. The warning letter also advised, “You should seek to amend the laws prohibiting these practices rather than engaging in blatant violations of the laws and hoping that social pressure helps you avoid liability. It will not.”   to the top

8   Slavery Redress: Harvard’s $100 million mea culpa  Harvard has pledged $100 million following the release of a 134-page report outlining its enslavement of 79 people by its founding donors, ministers, and presidents. In a letter to the university community, President Lawrence S. Bacow acknowledged, “The truth is that slavery played a significant part in our institutional history.... The work of further redressing its persistent effects will require our sustained and ambitious efforts for years to come.” Recommendations in the report, which were all accepted, included supporting descendants and Native communities, establishing an endowed Legacy of Slavery Fund, and collaborating with Black colleges and universities. It also urged memorializing the enslaved people by advancing research and curricula. A descendent of one of the enslaved, Jordan Lloyd, now lives in Los Angeles and works in film. She once waitressed at Harvard’s repertory theater, never suspecting that she was walking the same streets as an ancestor. She was grateful to learn how her family ended up in Boston but also felt anger toward Harvard for not doing more, earlier. “It feels like they’re hopping on a bandwagon.” Some criticized the amount:  “It’s presumptuous and disingenuous,” said William Darity, a professor of public policy, and director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, at Duke University, “for institutions like Harvard, with a $53 billion endowment, to call a petty $100 million fund ‘reparations.’”  to the top



9   Orange Harmonies are the New Blues: Admissions Scandal Means Jail Time for Some  Several defendants in the federal investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues were found guilty of taking or giving bribes in exchange for favoring student applicants in the admissions process. Jovan Vavic, a former University of Southern California national-championship water polo coach (the only coach to stand trial rather than take a plea), was found guilty of receiving $200,000 in bribes and faces a fine and up to 20 years in prison. Other sentences connected to the scandal, which involved over 50 parties and was exposed by the FBI in 2019, have been considerably shorter. SAT “whiz” Mark Riddell, who was paid to take college-entrance exams for wealthy teens, was found guilty and sentenced to four months. The ring leader of the operation, college counselor William “Rick” Singer, still awaits sentencing. (See past PT coverage:  Operation Varsity Blues: Largest-ever College Admissions Scandal.) A parent received the longest sentence thus far: John Wilson, who paid $220,000 to have his son designated a USC water polo recruit and $1 million to place twin daughters in Harvard and Stanford, was given 15 months in federal prison. He also filed a false tax return claiming a tax write-off for these expenditures. This sentence is considerably longer than some of the celebrity plea agreements. (See past PT coverage: Doing Time for Cheating.)  to the top

10    Balancing Activists’ Demands While Honoring Flawed Heroes   The attempt to remove traces of the legacy of slavery on American college and university campuses continues apace. (See story #8, Slavery Redress: Harvard’s $100 million mea culpa.) For the past several years, institutions have been roiled by debates over how to deal with the uncomfortable fact that many institutions that were founded prior to the abolition of slavery after the Civil War had connections to those who engaged in the slavery.  In some cases, this includes highly prominent persons in the institutions’ history. The University of Cincinnati was founded in 1858 after Charles McMicken, a wealthy businessman and slaveholder, left most of his estate to the city of Cincinnati to found a university. In recent years debates have raged over whether to remove McMicken’s name from several prominent locations on campus, including a street and a building. No decision has been made. The University of Alabama and the University of Richmond, on the other hand, have decided to move ahead with changing the names of buildings to remove names that honor individuals who had ties to slavery. And George Mason University in Virginia has erected a memorial honoring the 100 slaves of its namesake. Said current George Mason president Gregory Washington, “We are here to contemplate how a person could believe so passionately in the tenets of the Bill of Rights while simultaneously holding so many souls in enslavement. And we are here to offer this contradiction as a teaching moment to the community and to the nation.”   to the top

11    Cal State Chancellor’s Resignation Leaves Plenty of Questions  After his stunning resignation as chancellor of California State University after just over a year on the job (see also story #18, Sex Harassment Cases Reveal Scope of Problem, Steep Costs), Joseph Castro’s settlement with CSU—including more than $400,000, a housing allowance, and an advisory position—may not indeed be settled. The post-resignation package was part of an “executive transition program” which has now been halted by CSU, pending a task force review. While such deals aren’t uncommon, some considered this one “outrageous.” Castro resigned in February over his handling of a case at his previous job as president of Cal State-Fresno, where he approved a $260K payout for a colleague, Frank Lamas, who was vice president for student affairs. Lamas faced sex harassment and bullying complaints but Castro failed to rein him in, and did not notify trustees about the situation while being considered for the chancellorship. Following that resignation, the Cal State board of trustees announced a system-wide review of how Title IX cases are handled but stopped short of launching an independent investigation. Meanwhile, Jolene Koester, former president of Cal State-Northridge, was named interim CSU chancellor while the search for a permanent replacement for Castro continues.  to the top

12  Columbia, MIT, and Howard Presidents Bid Farewell   The list of retiring presidents is growing after two difficult years for higher education. L. Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will resign at the end of 2022, having led efforts to “redefine both online education and…computing.” At Tufts University, Anthony Monaco will leave his post; he’s credited with doubling the school’s endowment since he took over in 2011, to $2.8 billion, boosting undergraduate applications, and acquiring the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. In New York, Columbia’s Lee Bollinger will step down after 21 years, having led a contentious 17-acre campus expansion in Harlem. Bollinger, a First Amendment scholar, will return to being a full-time law professor next year. New York University’s Andrew Hamilton will also depart next year, in his eighth year as president. Wayne A.I. Frederick, who led Howard University to a billion dollar endowment, increased retention and graduation rates, and endured votes of no confidence, will leave after a decade as president in 2024.  to the top

13  New Leaders Feature a First, a Sport Shooter, and a Politico   Robin Holmes-Sullivan will become the first Black woman president of Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, Oregon, when she takes over in July. She was previously a top executive at the University of California and is currently the dean at Lewis & Clark. The University of Alaska system made it official in February for Pat Pitney, who’s been serving as interim president since 2020. The sport shooter and Olympic gold medalist will now lead the system permanently. Dennis Shields has been named president of the Southern University System and chancellor of Southern University and A&M College, to start in June. Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia, and Agriculture secretary in the Trump administration, is the new chancellor of the University System of Georgia. Perdue was approved without opposition by the Board of Regents on March 1, ending a process that divided the academic community over Perdue’s lack of administrative experience in higher education. While preparing to take over, he said this may be his “most important” job yet.   to the top


14    The Number and Diversity of Applications Surge to Record Levels   For the second year in a row, the University of California has broken its own admissions record. According to preliminary data, the nine-campus system drew 210,840 applications for the class of 2026. That’s 3.5 percent more than last year’s record. University officials attribute this rise to the elimination of standardized-test requirements as well as greater online outreach efforts. The incoming class is also its most diverse ever, with Black applicants making particularly striking gains. In the last two years, their numbers have grown by 25 percent. Transfer applications, on the other hand, fell 12.6 percent, reflecting continuing declines in community college enrollment across the country. UC campuses are not the only ones seeing an uptick in applications. The Common Application—the largest application in the U.S.—has released its own data showing that through March 15, 2022, total application volume rose 21.3 percent from 2019–20. And the number of first-generation applicants rose 22 percent, which was twice the rate of continuing-generation applicants over the same period.  to the top

15  Calls to End Legacy Admissions Gain Momentum Two Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prohibit all colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid from allowing legacy admissions. Senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, and Representative Jamaal Bowman, of New York, say this would be one step toward reducing the built-in advantages enjoyed by privileged students. Although exact data on how many students currently benefit from the practice are hard to find, a recent report found that 10 to 20 percent of incoming classes at the most selective colleges are made up of students with family ties to the school. Public opinion has been moving against legacy admissions, which is increasingly seen as perpetuating inequality in admissions. In recent years a number of prominent institutions, including Johns Hopkins University and Amherst College, have eliminated legacy preferences, and Colorado became the first state to outlaw legacy preferences at public colleges, in May 2021. It’s one of those rare issues that has the support of progressives as well as some conservatives, who want merit to be the sole basis for admissions. to the top

16    Litigation Proliferation: Two Professors, a Baker, and a Coach Lawyer Up    What do two professors, a baker, and the NFL have in common? All have been accused of racism and have gone or are going to court for judgments. At the University of Illinois-Chicago’s law school, a tenured professor had been asked to undergo “training” after a student became distracted because an exam question that cited a court case used the N-word. The professor subsequently sued the college, calling the mandated “training” a violation of his First Amendment rights. At the University of North Texas, someone placed flyers in the math lounge warning faculty against committing “microaggressions” and suggesting they should avoid statements such as “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” since they promote the “Myth of Meritocracy.” One professor had his own request, written in chalk, concerning the flyers: “Please don’t leave garbage around.” UNT Administrator’s next action was to “not employ him,” and his reaction was to file a federal suit against UNT. The court opined that discontinuing his employment because of his speech violated the First Amendment. Judges on an Ohio court of appeals supported a jury decision in favor of Gibson’s Bakery in its case against Oberlin College. In brief, a Black student was chased down by the proprietor’s son when he saw him shoplift a bottle of wine. The Oberlin student and two accomplices were arrested and pleaded guilty. Next, students demonstrated and distributed flyers branding the owners as racists. The bakery sued Oberlin for libel (among other things), and the college now must pay $33 million in punitive damages and $11 million in compensatory damages to Gibson’s. Before the next lawsuit hits, higher ed institutions, which often require hiring committees to include a wide demographic in its pool of candidates, should consider a cautionary tale about the NFL, which has a similar rule, mandating that the pool of candidates for senior roles include ethnic minorities. Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL after being interviewed for the same role with the Giants. Flores claims that the team never intended to consider him and the interview was a sham. How did he know? Prior to the interview, he erroneously received text messages revealing that a different Brian—Brian Daboll, a white man—got the job. The 2003 NFL rule has resulted not in greater minority representation, but instead mostly “bureaucratized box-ticking exercises,” according to Gabrial Andrade, writing for NAS Minding the Campus. Universities may have an opportunity to learn from this debacle.    to the top

17   Tuition-Assistance Initiatives Gain New Momentum    Institutional and state-funded tuition programs are gaining fresh momentum as hopes for a nationwide free-college initiative are dashed. National programs such as College Promise offers high school students free or reduced tuition at in-state public colleges. Ohio State University’s endowment-backed Scarlet & Gray Advantage program empowers students to graduate debt-free within four years if they participate in financial-literacy programs, combined with federal grants and scholarships—Ohio State plans to raise over $800 million in donations over the next ten years to expand undergraduate scholarships. The City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs initiative covers community college tuition and fees for income-eligible students, including an advisor to help with social needs, career counseling, and tutoring. Income Share Agreement programs, such as those offered at Purdue and Clarkson Universities, set limits on what students will repay based on their postgraduate income. The University of Austin System is offering free tuition to income-eligible residents, and with the recently approved $300 million Promise Plus endowment, the UT Board of Regents will increase the income threshold to reach even more qualified students. In a highly ambitious move, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act, providing two years of free tuition to all state residents (including adult learners and part-time students) attending an in-state public or tribal college, including community college.   to the top

18   Sex Harassment Cases Reveal Scope of Problem, Steep Costs On February 17, California State University chancellor Joseph Castro resigned after reports that in his previous position at Fresno State he approved a glowing letter of recommendation and payout for a colleague who faced allegations of sexual harassment. The week before, the University of California agreed to pay more than $240 million to settle claims that Dr. James Heaps, a former gynecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, had abused more than 200 women over his 35-year career. After the abrupt resignation in January of Florida International University president Mark Rosenberg, an outside investigator’s report described unwelcome overtures he made toward a significantly younger female employee, seeking a life of travel and companionship with her.  to the top

19  MIT Test-Score Requirement Revives Fairness Debate   With more than three-quarters of U.S. colleges and universities not requiring SAT or ACT scores for admissions this fall, California State University announced in March a permanent ban on the scores, saying the move will benefit “students from all backgrounds.” The following week, in a major departure from the national trend, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reinstated test scores as a requirement for the 2022–23 application cycle, after a nearly two-year suspension during the Covid outbreak. MIT’s dean of admissions, Stu Schmill, said the scores help determine “academic preparedness” and “build a diverse and talented MIT.” The diverging approaches bring renewed attention to fairness and the question of whether the standardized tests create inequalities or merely reveal them. The decision to drop the test scores was seen by some as a war on meritocracy and has prompted claims of discrimination against Asian Americans. Bob Schaeffer, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, calls MIT an “outlier” in its decision and claims the consensus is that “test scores are not fair or accurate.”   to the top

20    Changes Afoot as the SAT Faces Digital, Test-Optional Future During the Covid pandemic, many colleges and universities adopted a test-optional approach for admissions, but that didn’t stop 1.5 million students from the class of 2021 from taking the SAT. Along with that sea change, the College Board, which administers the SAT, announced in January 2022 that the test will be digital-only in the U.S. starting in 2024. The digital test will take less time—down from three hours to two—have shorter reading passages and fewer questions, and be more secure. Not surprisingly, not everyone at the College Board is happy about the changes, and in February, Todd Huston, a vice president at the CB, resigned, citing a desire to focus more on his legislative work. Huston, who is Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, has been criticized for leading efforts to restrict classroom teaching on “divisive concepts.” Another indicator for the future could come in early 2023, when the NCAA is on track to vote on eliminating test scores for Divisions I and II eligibility.   to the top

21   Mental Health Counseling Goes Virtual Social isolation and other pandemic-related stressors have contributed to a mental health crisis on campus, and college students are struggling to find counseling. A 2021 study by American College Health Association National College Health Assessment revealed that 73 percent of students surveyed suffer from moderate to severe mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Even before the pandemic, students reported inadequate mental-health-care options on campus, and now staffing shortages are forcing students to be referred to community providers, often with long wait times. Virtual mental-health-care options offer a lifeboat for many, including minority and LGBTQ+ students who often seek providers they can relate to. Concordia College responded by partnering with Positivity+ to offer diverse online life coaches and counselors. At the University of Virginia, TimelyCare provides students with 24/7 access to mental health care including emergency support, and Mantra Health, a digital mental health clinic, is partnering with over 500 colleges to coordinate remote or in-person counseling services. Unmasked—a peer support group with chapters at over 46 colleges—offers an online platform for students to anonymously share their personal mental-health-related experiences. Unmasked has empowered students to seek institutional change, with some chapters petitioning college administrations to provide students with adequate mental health services, including suicide prevention and required mental–health-education classes.     to the top



22   Tenure Under Siege Some within the academy say tenure is unfair and obtainable only for an elite few. Other critics, on the outside, have turned it into a hot button culture-war issue. Faculty who oppose tenure also cite the secretive nature of a practice that has long hindered women and academics of color and grants the guarantee of lifetime employment to only a select few. Academic opponents also maintain that tenure protects abusive colleagues from real consequences. Some conservative lawmakers charge that tenure has allowed for the unrestrained spread of liberalism. They have introduced bills in state legislatures that would restrict and gradually phase out the tradition. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas said in February that he would like to eliminate tenure for all new faculty hired by his state’s public universities—and rescind it for anyone who teaches critical race theory. In a divergent move, Chatham University in Pittsburgh, which eliminated tenure in 2005 (in favor of a “capstone system,” a series of contract renewals of increasing duration), voted in late February to restore it.  to the top

23   Federal Suit Filed in Harvard Sex Harassment Case In early February three Harvard graduate students filed a lawsuit in Boston federal court alleging a decade-long failure to protect students from sexual abuse and career-ending threats of retaliation, violating the students’ rights under Title IX and leaving them with dismal job prospects. The complaint claimed that Harvard African American Studies professor John L. Comaroff forcibly kissed and publicly groped one of the plaintiffs. He also old her she could be raped or murdered while studying abroad--to keep her close to him? According to the complaint, Comaroff also threatened the careers of the two other plaintiffs when they challenged his behavior. The day before the  lawsuit was filed, a group of 38 Harvard professors signed an open letter defending Comaroff—who had just been been placed on unpaid leave—saying, “We are dismayed by Harvard’s sanctions against him and concerned about its effects on our ability to advise our own students.” The day after the lawsuit was filed, however, all but four of the signers retracted their names from the letter, saying they “failed to appreciate the impact this would have on our students, and we were lacking full information about the case.”  to the top

24   A Legislative Quick Fix Gets UC Berkeley out of Enrollment Jam The University of California, Berkeley, will no longer have to follow a court-ordered enrollment cap on its fall 2022 class, after Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation undoing the decision. Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods, a residents’ advocacy group, had sued the university in 2019, alleging it ran afoul of the California Environmental Quality Act for failing to address the effects increasing student enrollment has on housing, homelessness, traffic, and noise. The university initially said it would be forced to reduce its fall class by about 3,000 students, in part by enrolling some 1,000 students in online courses and having another 650 delay attendance. Now it is scrapping those plans and will extend admissions offers to every student it would have sought to admit had it not been for the court order. All of these offers will be for the fall term and in-person classes. Senate Bill 118, which sailed through both houses of the legislature, limits a judge’s ability to slap public colleges with similar orders to cap their enrollment if they exceed their student-population targets. The law went into effect immediately and applies retroactively to UC Berkeley.  to the top


25   Opinion of Higher Ed Improves…Except Among Independents Overall confidence in higher education eroded badly in the latter half of the last decade, with polls showing that Americans, especially Republicans, were convinced that colleges and universities were heading in the wrong direction, failing to prepare graduates for careers and favoring liberal views over conservative ones. A new survey of 1,000 registered voters by the Winston Group, conducted for the American Council on Education, reveals that opinions are improving… a little bit. More Americans now believe degrees have value and graduates are prepared for work than was true four years ago. Twice as many respondents (38 percent) said they believed higher education was “generally on the right track” than on the wrong track (19 percent). A majority (44 percent), however, said they didn’t know. Democrats are almost twice as likely to say the economic value of a degree has increased over the past 20 years, while Republicans are slightly more likely to say it has decreased. But it’s Independents who have the most negative views, with 50 percent saying the value has declined, versus just 25 percent saying it has gone up. (See story #28, Changing the Carnegie Classification.)  to the top

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26   Despite Growth, Black Colleges and Universities Face Challenges While college enrollments are declining nationally, some prominent historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are experiencing burgeoning visibility and growth. It doesn’t hurt that Kamala Harris, the first African American vice president, is a Howard University alumna or that high-profile Black writers Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates have gone to teach there. (See PT Summer 2021.) At the same time, HBCUs are facing major challenges—from budget woes to decades of state-funding disparities. But the most worrisome concern of the moment is violence. The FBI is investigating bomb threats to at least two dozen campuses so far this year. Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (R) said he would ask the General Assembly for emergency funds to heighten security at HBCUs, following late-February bomb threats against Norfolk State and Hampton Universities. The American Council on Education and 64 higher ed associations and organizations recently sent a letter to Congress that calls the bomb threats acts of terror with racist motivations. To address funding inequities, six Democratic Congressional representatives wrote in late February to the governors and legislative leadership of 18 states. The letter emphasized that fair funding is crucial if HBCUs are to reach their potential.  to the top

27   College Is Expensive—It’s Going to Get Worse A recent reprieve from soaring college tuition—due in part to steep enrollment declines and billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief—is expected to end as inflation soars. Colleges are already announcing autumn increases in tuition, housing, and meal plans, among other fees. Rising costs of utilities and food, as well as salary increases for battle-weary faculty, are expected to be passed on to students, in addition to such pandemic-related expenses as remote-instruction technology and mental health counselors. States are easing some pressure by increasing higher education funding (with some stipulating that institutions freeze or lower tuition); California lawmakers have proposed Senate Bill 851—aimed at increasing state aid to private college students and ensuring that awards would increase as inflation rises. The majority of students will continue to pay well below sticker price for tuition because of federal aid and institutional scholarships, although colleges offer less in institutional funds when federal aid increases and the most selective private colleges tend to recoup more after federal funding by hiking tuition and cutting scholarships. Despite the overall increase in college costs, students should prepare to see less “bang for their buck” when universities are forced to increase class sizes, lay off staff, and defer maintenance to compensate for shortfalls.  to the top

28   Changing the Carnegie Classification—Say What? The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is known by the cognoscenti of college-watchers as the arbiter of institutional taxonomy, an important resource in the college-rankings industry. Now housed in the American Council on Education, after a long tenure at Indiana University, the CCIHE is making news lately for tinkering with its classification system by inaugurating a category focusing on social and economic mobility. Timothy Knowles, president of Carnegie, said recently that “the Foundation is committed to ensuring the postsecondary sector remains an engine of economic opportunity for all.” The new inclusive system will create incentives for colleges to fill in the equity gaps. The publication of the latest Carnegie rankings—which unveil everyone’s position in the revised hierarchy and are widely considered prestigious—has been a major event for nearly 50 years. In another industry change, the U.S. Department of Education has revised the College Scorecard, its signature tool for investigating college affordability, graduation rates, and return on investment. Once again prospective students can research how well specific institutions serve their low-income students and how much alumni earn after graduation. The earnings data was one of the metrics the Trump administration removed in 2018. Education secretary Miguel Cardona said the enhanced Scorecard “shines a spotlight on affordability, inclusivity, and outcomes, over exclusivity and colleges that leave students without good jobs and with mountains of debt.” (See also stories #19 and #20, MIT Test-Score Requirement Revives Fairness Debate and Changes Afoot.)  to the top

29   Rankings Challenged The U.S. News & World Report rankings of American colleges and universities are under fire (again?). One critic, Columbia University mathematician Michael Thaddeus, claims administrators at his school submitted inaccurate data. Columbia, ranked second among national universities, says the charges are false. Thaddeus conducted his own research into the university’s online course and faculty directories to produce the figures asked for by the magazine. He alleges administrators submitted erroneous details on class sizes, percentage of full-time faculty with doctorates, and spending per student. U.S. News relies on institutions to self-report accurate information. Meanwhile, the University of Southern California has pulled its education school from U.S. News graduate school rankings. USC concluded it had provided inaccurate data for at least five years. U.S. News created the first college rankings, in 1983, and their influence remains profound. Schools employ their rank to attract more applicants and alumni support—and rankings confer significant bragging rights on all stakeholders. Physics professor Jed Macosko, who is president at Academic Influence, sees a weakness in the U.S. News methodology. He offers a more objective way to rank colleges—to consider influence rather than prestige. For example, how effective are the faculty as teachers as opposed to their ability to advance their fields through research and publishing?  to the top

30   Highly Selective Colleges Are Becoming Even More Selective In 1990 the acceptance rate at Harvard University was 18 percent. This year Harvard accepted just 3.2 percent of those who applied to join the fall 2022 class. At Ivy League schools acceptance rates in the single digits have become the norm: 4.5 percent at Yale University, 5 percent at Brown University, 6.2 percent at Dartmouth, and 3.7 percent at Columbia University. Princeton and Cornell Universities no longer share detailed admissions figures over fears that it “is doing more harm than good.” While the Ivies are turning away students in droves, 75 percent of schools that use the Common App accept more than half of their applicants. “Plenty of spots are out there, just not at the small set of elite institutions whose freshman classes have barely budged in size since the late 1970s,” Jeffrey Selingo, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, writes. Leading journalists, scientists, public intellectuals, and other members of the cultural elite disproportionately attended highly selective undergraduate colleges. However, only about 18 percent of national business and political leaders attended one of the top 40 undergraduate colleges, according to Steven Brint, a professor at the University of California at Riverside and author of Two Cheers for Higher Education (Princeton University Press, 2019)—“a great over-representation to be sure,” he writes, “but nothing like the level of dominance one might expect from those who believe that it is a straight path from the halls of Ivy to Fortune 500 executive suites.” to the top

31   Is the Pandemic the Breaking Point for Higher Ed? Only half the jobs in higher education that were lost to layoffs or furloughs have been recovered, and total student enrollment is still down by more than one million since the fall of 2019. Community colleges have been the hardest hit, with enrollments down by more than 10 percent. Covid has also amplified inequality in higher education. While elite schools are flourishing, many others are battling to stay solvent. Central Michigan University, for instance, faces declining public subsidies (state funding per student has fallen 40 percent over the past 20 years) and falling enrollment. By contrast, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor raises large sums for its endowment and attracts out-of-state and international students. Other problems—such as student anxiety and faculty fatigue—are harder to quantify. Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner, authors of The Real World of College, interviewed 2,000 people across 10 colleges. The biggest problems on campus, they found, “are issues of mental health and belonging.” (See story #21, Mental Health Counseling Goes Virtual.) When asked what kept them up at night, more than half of students mentioned workload, time management, and pressure around success and performance—and this held true across every kind of campus.  to the top


32   Free Affordable College for All President Biden’s plan for free community college and mass loan forgiveness is losing steam just as the student-loan debt crisis is reaching a fever pitch. With the threat of inflation-fueled tuition increases, several proposals that include expanding the Pell Grant program have been introduced to Congress this year—most notably the stalled Build Back Better Bill, with a proposed minimal $550 increase to the Pell Grant over the next four years, and the Pell Grant Preservation and Expansion Act, which would more than double the current award over the next five years. However, the most likely proposal to make its way through Congress is a onetime increase of $400 that will appear in the 2022 appropriations bill, although President Biden is pushing a onetime $2,000 Pell increase in his proposed 2023 budget. Advocates for doubling the current yearly maximum Pell Grant of $6,495 say this is a necessity for the more than seven million low-income students who qualify—particularly minorities and students attending HBCUs who are disproportionately impacted by student debt. (See story #26, Despite Growth, Black Colleges Face Challenges.) As it exists now, the current Pell award covers only about one-third the cost of college, and that rate will continue to shrink as inflation and tuition hikes increase.  to the top

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