Syracuse University has been struggling with repeated incidents of racism on campus over the past couple weeks. These incidents have included racist graffiti; hate speech against black, Jewish, and Asian students; a racist manifesto that was sent to many students' phones; and an encounter in which fraternity members accosted a black female student and harassed her with racial slurs. Students have staged protests, demanding action from Syracuse administrators.
Syracuse suspended four students in connection with the incidents and reported nine other students to their respective universities, including Rutgers University. So far, the only police involvement has been to arrest a student who made graffiti in support of student protests.
Syracuse isn't the only university reconsidering its approach to racist incidents on campus. Salisbury University recently pledged to revamp its diversity efforts by creating a new administrative position and relaunching its office of diversity and inclusion. The move comes after a racist slur invoking the Sandy Hook massacre was found written on a building on campus.
University Says a Professor's Views Are Racist, Sexist, and Homophobic – But It Can't Fire Him
Indiana University professor Eric Rasmusen, a tenured professor of business and economics, drew accusations of sexism after he shared an article on Twitter arguing that women are too emotional for careers in academia. Rasmusen has a history of making racist, sexist, and homophobic comments. Indiana University condemned his comments, but maintains that firing him would be in violation of the First Amendment.
"Don't Let Them In": Arrests Made As Hundreds Protest Ann Coulter Speech at UC Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley, saw student protests last month when Berkeley College Republicans invited Ann Coulter to give a speech about immigration called "Adios, America." Student protesters blocked access to the building, chanting "don't let them in," while attendees had to be escorted by police. At least seven protesters were arrested, including one woman who interrupted the speech itself.
There's a New Type of Senior on College Campuses
As universities face funding issues, some are turning to unconventional communities to make ends meet. One such strategy is to open senior living communities on college campuses. University-based retirement communities, or UBRCs, are typically very expensive, costing residents between $200,000 and $1 million for entrance fees, plus monthly rent. Residents in these facilities participate in campus life on a limited basis, attending sports games, auditing classes, and interacting with students.
Data Is In
Graduate Students Face More Inequality Than Undergrads, Study Finds
A new study from the University of Kansas found clear disparities in access to graduate degrees for students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Students from wealthy families can go to graduate school immediately after earning bachelor's degrees, meaning they graduate earlier and have more years in the job market with higher credentials. Poor students, on the other hand, typically must work to pay off student loans from their undergraduate education before they can pursue lucrative degrees, meaning less time to build careers and earn higher incomes.
Education Department Releases Wage, Debt Data for Specific College Majors
For the first time, the Department of Education (ED) has released major-specific income and debt information on its College Scorecard tool. With it, students can research the debt loads and average incomes for graduates from specific programs at a variety of schools, including trade schools and four-year universities. For more help choosing a college major, check out Veronica Freeman's helpful guide.
Forgiving Student Debt Would Boost Economy, Economists Say
Student loan debt has young adults delaying life milestones like buying houses and having children. Recent economic studies have found that forgiving student loan debt would boost the economy by freeing these people financially, allowing them to start businesses or families. William Foster, a vice president with Moody's Corporation, said estimates have projected real GDP boosts of $86-$108 billion per year if student loan debt were forgiven. For more, check out Mikael Mulugeta's exploration of the impact of limited student debt cancellation.
What Happens if SAT Scores Consider Adversity? Find Your School
The College Board suspended its single-number adversity score after criticism over the summer, but The Wall Street Journal asked a Georgetown University data scientists to analyze the score and its relationship with average SAT scores at various high schools anyway. The resultant interactive graphs show how adversity affects SAT scores among high school students.
Trump Pledge to Forgive Disabled Veterans' Student Loans Delayed by Education Department
In August, President Donald Trump promised to automatically forgive student loan debt for veterans with severe disabilities, but that promise was delayed by ED regulations. Student loan borrowers with a "total and permanent disability" have long been entitled to debt forgiveness, but the process involved complicated paperwork. Trump's directive made the process automatic for veterans, but only 3,300 eligible veterans have received forgiveness, with 24,000 more qualified.
University of Arizona Offers Free Tuition to Medical Students Who Pledge to Train in Primary Care
The University of Arizona hopes to solve two problems with one solution: It will address student loan debt and a shortage of primary care physicians in the state by offering free tuition for medical students who agree to practice primary care for at least two years after their residencies and within 10 years of graduating. Currently, Arizona has only 40% of the primary care physicians it needs to serve its population. The state legislature allocated $8 million in annual funding for the purpose, which could cover tuition for 100 students.
University to Students on Medicaid: Buy Private Coverage, or Drop Out
Brigham Young University-Idaho announced that it will no longer accept Medicaid for its health insurance requirement. Instead, students must buy private health insurance. For many, the cheapest option is the university's student health plan, which costs $3,125 annually and does not comply with the Affordable Care Act's consumer protections. For example, it does not cover birth control. The plan is administered by Deseret Mutual Benefits Administration, which, like the university, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
SAT Prep for the Uber-Rich
If you've ever wondered how wealthy students study for the SAT, The New Yorker has the answer: with "prep-permint tea." In a recent exposé, reporter Charles Bethea followed an SAT tutor as he made the rounds to his super-wealthy clients, dishing out advice and specialty pencils. For some more affordable study tips, check out Veronica Freeman's study tips for college students.
In Other News
Lori Loughlin Fighting New Charges in College Admissions Scandal
In an update to the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, prosecutors have added a bribery charge. The new charge will apply to the 11 parents who have previously pleaded not guilty, including actress Lori Laughlin, who is accused of spending $500,000 to get her two daughters into USC as athletic recruits. Another 19 parents have pled guilty to charges in the case.
Will the University of California System Go Test Optional?
There has still been no decision on whether the University of California system will drop SAT requirements for admission, but chancellors for UC-Berkeley and UC-Santa Cruz both endorsed the suggestion. Carol Christ, chancellor of Berkeley, said her decision was reached after research convinced her that family wealth plays too large a role in influencing SAT scores.
Nine Face Hazing-Related Charges in Death of Ohio University Student
In another update, eight current or former Ohio University students have been charged in connection with the 2018 hazing of Collin Wiant, who died after inhaling nitrous oxide at an off-campus fraternity party. One non-student was also charged. Charges include trafficking in harmful intoxicants, hazing, and reckless homicide. For more, check out Veronica Freeman's article on how to stop college hazing.
"Undoing a Mistake": Ken Burns Film Looks Inside the Push to Bring College Education Back to Prison
"College Behind Bars" is a new documentary from Ken Burns, sponsored by PBS, that explores how a college education can help reform prisoners -- and how the 1994 Crime Bill prevents prisoners from seeking that education by limiting their access to federal Pell Grants. The documentary focuses on the Bard Prison Initiative, a privately funded college program in New York that serves about 300 imprisoned students.
A Doomsday List of Possible College Closures Inspired Panic and Legal Threats. That's Telling.
Financial advising company Edmit recently scrapped plans to release a list of private, nonprofit colleges that its financial models predict will close in the coming years after threats of legal action from some of the 946 colleges it planned to name. The projections were made using publicly available data and a financial-modeling tool designed by master's students at Brandeis University's finance program. Though most of the recent college closures have happened at for-profit schools, some nonprofit institutions have closed as well.