Struggling with low attendance at games, colleges turn to beer sales

Ohio State University football fans attending the first home game of the season earlier this month saw a new concession item on the menu at Ohio Stadium. Among the hot dogs, pretzels and tacos, the game’s attendees were also able to buy cans of Miller Lite.

This season, Ohio State became one of several universities to sell beer at football games. In the last decade, alcohol sales at college stadiums have gone from nearly nonexistent to an increasingly popular — though largely unproven — solution for programs hoping to improve sagging attendance at home games.

West Virginia University started offering beer at its stadium’s concession stands in 2011, and the idea has snowballed from there: fans can now drink beer — and in many cases, wine — in the stands at Syracuse University and the Universities of Cincinnati, Colorado at Boulder, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Minnesota, Texas at Austin, and Toledo, among many others.

Pennsylvania State University is also now considering selling beer to general admission fans, and so are the University of Wyoming and Indiana University. Washington State University wants to sell beer at football games but is waiting on the state’s liquor board to approve the change. Unable to sell beer inside its stadium because of Southeastern Conference rules, Louisiana State University has announced plans to create a beer garden just outside the stadium gates. The University of Pittsburgh started selling beer at its football games this season, as did the University of Tulsa.

“We studied the idea for a year,” said Don Tomkalski, associate athletics director for communications at Tulsa. “And we determined that it could be done responsibility and be a positive change. It gives us an additional revenue source and adds another element to our game-day fan experience.”

Worried about the binge drinking, disorderly behavior and violence that can come with consuming alcohol, most colleges have long been opposed to selling beer at football games. A study published in January by the National Bureau of Economic Research found a 28 percent increase in rape reports by college-age women on days when Football Bowl Subdivision teams play. Earlier research has found that arrests for driving while intoxicated also increase on college game days.

Those concerns haven’t been limited to football games. In 1964, the National Collegiate Athletic Association barred beer sales at the College World Series for baseball. The ban lasted until this summer, when NCAA officials decided to allow beer and wine to be sold once again in an attempt to draw in more fans.

The same logic is driving the changes in college football. A decade ago, most college sports fans looking to down a beer while watching their team had to stay at home or go to a bar. And many did just that. Last year, according to the NCAA, attendance at Football Bowl Subdivision home games averaged about 43,000 people. In the mid-2000s, FBS home games averaged about 46,000 people.

“One of the conversations we’ve been having the past few years is about how we can compete with other fan experiences,” said Jack Miner, director of operations at Ohio State’s registrar office and a member of the university’s athletic council. “Being in Columbus, Ohio, we’re not competing against professional sports teams, but locations where someone can go watch a game. Very frequently we were losing attendance to people staying at home or watching from a bar.”

Improving the “fan experience” has been a common concern among athletic departments in recent years, leading to college stadiums offering in-stadium instant replay, over-the-top halftime shows and increasingly sophisticated concessions menus.

So far, it’s unclear if selling alcohol has actually helped boost attendance. Anecdotally, university officials say they see more fans attending games and staying in the stands longer. But a paper published in the Journal of Sports Economics last year, which studied attendance at 29 midmajor football programs from 2005 to 2012, found “no evidence” of such a correlation.

As an additional form of revenue, though, selling beer at games seems to be working. West Virginia University has received more than $3 million in revenue from alcohol sales since it began selling beer in 2011. Ohio State and Tulsa, which both began to offer alcohol in their stadiums this season, said it’s too early to offer concrete numbers, but that they expect to see high returns on the investment.

So many people lined up for beer at Ohio State’s first game of the season that one angry fan wrote to the local newspaper, bemoaning the concession stands’ sudden popularity. “I am sure the university made a lot of money on the sale of beer,” the fan wrote. “It had to, because the lines were horrendous.”

The university said it plans on using $600,000 of the new revenue to hire and train four new campus police officers. Another $50,000 will go toward university research on alcohol consumption. Ohio State, West Virginia and other colleges that now offer beer during games all say that revenue and attendance are not the only reasons for the change, however. They said there’s a safety component, too.

“One of the things we saw consistently when talking to schools that tried beer sales, is that it began changing fan behavior,” Miner said. “We heard a lot of feedback that fans don’t feel the pressure to drink and preload before entering the stadium. There’s no longer that pressure to chug a few beers while tailgating because you know you can’t drink anymore once you’re inside the stadium.”

It’s too early to say for certain that the experiment has led to less intoxicated fans at Ohio State, but the university suggested that it could be having an effect on fan behavior. In the 2015 season opener, 10 fans were ejected from the stadium, which was on par with the season average of 12 ejections. Only two fans were ejected by stadium security at this season’s first game.

West Virginia officials, as well, have reported a “sharp decline” in security incidents during home games. Bob Roberts, the university’s chief of police, said that’s the result of not only selling beer in the stadium but also a series of other precautions the university adopted. Fans can no longer re-enter the stadium if they exit before a game is over, for example, and the university started a campaign called High Five Rules, which encourages students and other fans to “engage in proper behavior.” That includes no excessive drinking.

“We had a reputation as being a pretty bad place to come if you were a visiting team, and I think alcohol was a part of that,” Roberts said. “The beer sales have had an effect on binge drinking before games. As chief of police, if someone said, ‘Hey, we want to sell beer, but not do these extra things,’ I would have said ‘nope, I’m not supporting that.’ But for us, it was a part of an overall strategy for improving safety in our stadium.”

Aaron White, the program director of college and underage drinking prevention at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said he is skeptical of beer sales being able to reduce game-day drinking.

The University of Colorado at Boulder, citing drunken and violent behavior of fans, banned drinking in its football stadium from 1996 to 2014. A 2010 study about the university, published in the Journal of American College Health, found that “arrests, assaults, ejections and student referrals to the judicial affairs office all fell dramatically after the ban on beer sales” went into effect.

“Selling alcohol at sporting events is not a prevention strategy,” White said. “It’s a tricky issue, but the logic that allowing alcohol sales inside stadiums will decrease game-day drinking is dubious at best.”

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A fan drinks a beer during a University of Minnesota football game.
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Ohio State University football fans attending the first home game of the season earlier this month saw a new concession item on the menu at Ohio Stadium. Among the hot dogs, pretzels and tacos, the game’s attendees were also able to buy cans of Miller Lite.

This season, Ohio State became one of several universities to sell beer at football games. In the last decade, alcohol sales at college stadiums have gone from nearly nonexistent to an increasingly popular -- though largely unproven -- solution for programs hoping to improve sagging attendance at home games.

West Virginia University started offering beer at its stadium’s concession stands in 2011, and the idea has snowballed from there: fans can now drink beer -- and in many cases, wine -- in the stands at Syracuse University and the Universities of Cincinnati, Colorado at Boulder, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Minnesota, Texas at Austin, and Toledo, among many others.

Pennsylvania State University is also now considering selling beer to general admission fans, and so are the University of Wyoming and Indiana University. Washington State University wants to sell beer at football games but is waiting on the state’s liquor board to approve the change. Unable to sell beer inside its stadium because of Southeastern Conference rules, Louisiana State University has announced plans to create a beer garden just outside the stadium gates. The University of Pittsburgh started selling beer at its football games this season, as did the University of Tulsa.

“We studied the idea for a year,” said Don Tomkalski, associate athletics director for communications at Tulsa. “And we determined that it could be done responsibility and be a positive change. It gives us an additional revenue source and adds another element to our game-day fan experience.”

Worried about the binge drinking, disorderly behavior and violence that can come with consuming alcohol, most colleges have long been opposed to selling beer at football games. A study published in January by the National Bureau of Economic Research found a 28 percent increase in rape reports by college-age women on days when Football Bowl Subdivision teams play. Earlier research has found that arrests for driving while intoxicated also increase on college game days.

Those concerns haven't been limited to football games. In 1964, the National Collegiate Athletic Association barred beer sales at the College World Series for baseball. The ban lasted until this summer, when NCAA officials decided to allow beer and wine to be sold once again in an attempt to draw in more fans.

The same logic is driving the changes in college football. A decade ago, most college sports fans looking to down a beer while watching their team had to stay at home or go to a bar. And many did just that. Last year, according to the NCAA, attendance at Football Bowl Subdivision home games averaged about 43,000 people. In the mid-2000s, FBS home games averaged about 46,000 people.

“One of the conversations we’ve been having the past few years is about how we can compete with other fan experiences,” said Jack Miner, director of operations at Ohio State’s registrar office and a member of the university’s athletic council. “Being in Columbus, Ohio, we’re not competing against professional sports teams, but locations where someone can go watch a game. Very frequently we were losing attendance to people staying at home or watching from a bar.”

Improving the “fan experience” has been a common concern among athletic departments in recent years, leading to college stadiums offering in-stadium instant replay, over-the-top halftime shows and increasingly sophisticated concessions menus.

So far, it’s unclear if selling alcohol has actually helped boost attendance. Anecdotally, university officials say they see more fans attending games and staying in the stands longer. But a paper published in the Journal of Sports Economics last year, which studied attendance at 29 midmajor football programs from 2005 to 2012, found “no evidence” of such a correlation.

As an additional form of revenue, though, selling beer at games seems to be working. West Virginia University has received more than $3 million in revenue from alcohol sales since it began selling beer in 2011. Ohio State and Tulsa, which both began to offer alcohol in their stadiums this season, said it’s too early to offer concrete numbers, but that they expect to see high returns on the investment.

So many people lined up for beer at Ohio State’s first game of the season that one angry fan wrote to the local newspaper, bemoaning the concession stands’ sudden popularity. “I am sure the university made a lot of money on the sale of beer,” the fan wrote. “It had to, because the lines were horrendous.”

The university said it plans on using $600,000 of the new revenue to hire and train four new campus police officers. Another $50,000 will go toward university research on alcohol consumption. Ohio State, West Virginia and other colleges that now offer beer during games all say that revenue and attendance are not the only reasons for the change, however. They said there’s a safety component, too.

“One of the things we saw consistently when talking to schools that tried beer sales, is that it began changing fan behavior,” Miner said. “We heard a lot of feedback that fans don’t feel the pressure to drink and preload before entering the stadium. There’s no longer that pressure to chug a few beers while tailgating because you know you can’t drink anymore once you’re inside the stadium.”

It’s too early to say for certain that the experiment has led to less intoxicated fans at Ohio State, but the university suggested that it could be having an effect on fan behavior. In the 2015 season opener, 10 fans were ejected from the stadium, which was on par with the season average of 12 ejections. Only two fans were ejected by stadium security at this season's first game.

West Virginia officials, as well, have reported a “sharp decline” in security incidents during home games. Bob Roberts, the university’s chief of police, said that’s the result of not only selling beer in the stadium but also a series of other precautions the university adopted. Fans can no longer re-enter the stadium if they exit before a game is over, for example, and the university started a campaign called High Five Rules, which encourages students and other fans to “engage in proper behavior.” That includes no excessive drinking.

“We had a reputation as being a pretty bad place to come if you were a visiting team, and I think alcohol was a part of that,” Roberts said. “The beer sales have had an effect on binge drinking before games. As chief of police, if someone said, ‘Hey, we want to sell beer, but not do these extra things,’ I would have said ‘nope, I’m not supporting that.’ But for us, it was a part of an overall strategy for improving safety in our stadium.”

Aaron White, the program director of college and underage drinking prevention at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said he is skeptical of beer sales being able to reduce game-day drinking.

The University of Colorado at Boulder, citing drunken and violent behavior of fans, banned drinking in its football stadium from 1996 to 2014. A 2010 study about the university, published in the Journal of American College Health, found that “arrests, assaults, ejections and student referrals to the judicial affairs office all fell dramatically after the ban on beer sales” went into effect.

“Selling alcohol at sporting events is not a prevention strategy,” White said. “It’s a tricky issue, but the logic that allowing alcohol sales inside stadiums will decrease game-day drinking is dubious at best.”

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A fan drinks a beer during a University of Minnesota football game.
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37 Nigerian students sue Alabama State

A group of 37 Nigerian students is suing Alabama State University, claiming that the university failed to properly disburse scholarship funds awarded by the Nigerian government.

The suit, filed Aug. 25 in federal court, alleges that the university “wrongfully withheld” scholarship monies from the Nigerian students. “As a result,” the complaint states, “the plaintiff students have been denied, excluded and/or subjected to decreased services from Alabama State University, and/or charged increased prices for the same services provided to natural-born American students, and/or denied the opportunity to participate in educational opportunities at Alabama State University because of their national origin.”

The lawsuit, which alleges discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, is the second one filed on this matter. The first lawsuit, which alleged breach of contract but did not allege discrimination, was dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds.

According to the second, discrimination-related complaint, the Nigerian government scholarship covers payment of tuition, fees, health insurance, room and board, textbooks, and other miscellaneous personal costs. The complaint asserts that the university is obligated to disburse all monies not used for tuition and fees to the students, and cites a May 2015 document from a Nigerian government official requesting that credit balances on all line items other than tuition be refunded to students.

In various documents filed with the court, the university has maintained that the students are not a party to the financial agreement between the university and the Nigerian government and that any refunds should be credited to the government, not the individual students. The university has cited a communication from a different Nigerian government official, from May of this year, confirming the amount held in credit at the institution and asking Alabama State to hold on to the funds “until instructions are given on the process of refunds.”

“Without a doubt, ASU will be in a financial conundrum if it has to pay over refunds to Nigerian students after it has been instructed by a current Nigerian government official to hold on to the funds until further advised,” Alabama State wrote in a petition to dismiss the first complaint, filed in May.

The related question is what refunds, if any, are owed, irrespective of to whom (government or student). The students’ lawsuit requests that Alabama State be ordered to “refund all monies the Nigerian government has paid for services ASU did not offer to the plaintiff students sponsored by the Nigerian government.”

What kinds of services were allegedly not offered? One of the plaintiffs interviewed by Inside Higher Ed who graduated from Alabama State in spring 2015 described being unable to transfer scholarship funds paid in advance by the government for the summer session immediately following his graduation to his new graduate institution, despite presenting a letter — shared with Inside Higher Ed — from his government sponsor authorizing the transfer of all credits and balances to Auburn University at Montgomery. The student, Tamarraubibibogha Manfred Gunuboh, said he was dropped from his summer classes at AUM partway through due to the nontransfer of funds and had to (successfully) petition AUM for cancellation of his room and board charges there (he remained in his housing at Alabama State). As far as Gunuboh is aware, the unused tuition for that summer has not been refunded either to the government or to him.

A November 2015 letter included in the court filings from the students’ lawyer, Julian McPhillips, cites as another example of unutilized services the case of a plaintiff who is married with a child and lives off campus. McPhillips wrote that “the Nigerian government has paid for nearly two years of dormitory expenses on his behalf, even though he has not needed such expense.”

Many of the students’ grievances center on Alabama State’s alleged withholding of the nontuition portion of their scholarship funds. Students feel that by not releasing certain scholarship funds directly to them, the university unfairly compelled them — unlike other students — to live in university housing, eat in the cafeteria and buy their books in the university bookstore rather than shop around for better or more suitable deals elsewhere. In other words, the students only had credit at the company store, and they didn’t necessarily like the merchandise — or the prices — they found there (even if their government was the one paying).

“Average American students, when they’re brought in, they’re given much lower prices,” McPhillips​, the students’ lawyer, said in an interview. “They’ve inflated the prices considerably for books and meals and lodging — they charge some outrageous fees for lodging — and we think they did it to meet some other financial needs for the university that were not related to the students.”

A spokesman for Alabama State declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the university does not comment on pending litigation. An official with the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta also declined to comment.

Whatever the merits of the lawsuit, this is undoubtedly a case in which a university’s relationship with a substantial proportion of its international student population has gone sour. Thirty-seven international students, after all, are discontented enough to sue.

Alabama State, a historically black university in Montgomery, has a relatively small international student population: it enrolled just 122 international students in 2014-15, according to data held by the Institute of International Education.

The institution, which has a six-year graduation rate of 27 percent, has had accreditation troubles of late. The university’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, took Alabama State off warning status in June, a sanction that had been imposed two years earlier for failure to comply with requirements and standards on issues related to financial stability and control, and conflict of interest on its governing board.

The professor who recruited the group of Nigerian students to Alabama State said he now regrets it.

“I feel very guilty that I brought these students to be exploited by Alabama State University,” said David Iyegha, a retired professor of geography who has served as an advocate for the Nigerian students.

“At some point I was wondering why the Nigerian government would bring us here,” said Kehinde Batife, one of the student plaintiffs in the case.

“It’s not like this is such a fantastic school.”

Batife, who graduated as a criminal justice major in the spring, at first treated Inside Higher Ed’s request for an interview as an opportunity to begin a negotiation, writing via email that he was willing to share “firsthand testimony from the victims” and documents to back up the story. “Based on the fact that other publications are contacting me for this same story, it is going to be the highest bidder takes it all. What do you have to offer?” he wrote.

After Inside Higher Ed’s reporter clarified that the publication does not pay for access to news or sources, Batife declined to talk immediately, saying he first needed to consult with others involved with the suit. But he subsequently agreed to an interview and shared a letter the students sent to Nigeria’s president enumerating their complaints. The June 3 letter accuses Alabama State’s administration of having “singled out only the Nigerian students — because the university has complete control of the money the government sent — to be exploited by subjecting us, the students, to conditions that are inconsistent with the norm in other institutions in the United States and even at Alabama State University itself.”

“We are not in this to make money for ourselves,” Batife said. “I’m a criminal justice major. I’m in school to defend myself and to defend other people. I’m thinking to pursue a law degree. Someone who is educating me will not call me a fool to my face. They call us cash cows and things like that.”

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Alabama State University
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A group of 37 Nigerian students is suing Alabama State University, claiming that the university failed to properly disburse scholarship funds awarded by the Nigerian government.

The suit, filed Aug. 25 in federal court, alleges that the university "wrongfully withheld" scholarship monies from the Nigerian students. "As a result," the complaint states, "the plaintiff students have been denied, excluded and/or subjected to decreased services from Alabama State University, and/or charged increased prices for the same services provided to natural-born American students, and/or denied the opportunity to participate in educational opportunities at Alabama State University because of their national origin."

The lawsuit, which alleges discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, is the second one filed on this matter. The first lawsuit, which alleged breach of contract but did not allege discrimination, was dismissed without prejudice on procedural grounds.

According to the second, discrimination-related complaint, the Nigerian government scholarship covers payment of tuition, fees, health insurance, room and board, textbooks, and other miscellaneous personal costs. The complaint asserts that the university is obligated to disburse all monies not used for tuition and fees to the students, and cites a May 2015 document from a Nigerian government official requesting that credit balances on all line items other than tuition be refunded to students.

In various documents filed with the court, the university has maintained that the students are not a party to the financial agreement between the university and the Nigerian government and that any refunds should be credited to the government, not the individual students. The university has cited a communication from a different Nigerian government official, from May of this year, confirming the amount held in credit at the institution and asking Alabama State to hold on to the funds “until instructions are given on the process of refunds.”

“Without a doubt, ASU will be in a financial conundrum if it has to pay over refunds to Nigerian students after it has been instructed by a current Nigerian government official to hold on to the funds until further advised,” Alabama State wrote in a petition to dismiss the first complaint, filed in May.

The related question is what refunds, if any, are owed, irrespective of to whom (government or student). The students' lawsuit requests that Alabama State be ordered to "refund all monies the Nigerian government has paid for services ASU did not offer to the plaintiff students sponsored by the Nigerian government."

What kinds of services were allegedly not offered? One of the plaintiffs interviewed by Inside Higher Ed who graduated from Alabama State in spring 2015 described being unable to transfer scholarship funds paid in advance by the government for the summer session immediately following his graduation to his new graduate institution, despite presenting a letter -- shared with Inside Higher Ed -- from his government sponsor authorizing the transfer of all credits and balances to Auburn University at Montgomery. The student, Tamarraubibibogha Manfred Gunuboh, said he was dropped from his summer classes at AUM partway through due to the nontransfer of funds and had to (successfully) petition AUM for cancellation of his room and board charges there (he remained in his housing at Alabama State). As far as Gunuboh is aware, the unused tuition for that summer has not been refunded either to the government or to him.

A November 2015 letter included in the court filings from the students' lawyer, Julian McPhillips, cites as another example of unutilized services the case of a plaintiff who is married with a child and lives off campus. McPhillips wrote that "the Nigerian government has paid for nearly two years of dormitory expenses on his behalf, even though he has not needed such expense."

Many of the students' grievances center on Alabama State's alleged withholding of the nontuition portion of their scholarship funds. Students feel that by not releasing certain scholarship funds directly to them, the university unfairly compelled them -- unlike other students -- to live in university housing, eat in the cafeteria and buy their books in the university bookstore rather than shop around for better or more suitable deals elsewhere. In other words, the students only had credit at the company store, and they didn't necessarily like the merchandise -- or the prices -- they found there (even if their government was the one paying).

"Average American students, when they’re brought in, they’re given much lower prices," McPhillips​, the students' lawyer, said in an interview. "They’ve inflated the prices considerably for books and meals and lodging -- they charge some outrageous fees for lodging -- and we think they did it to meet some other financial needs for the university that were not related to the students."

A spokesman for Alabama State declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the university does not comment on pending litigation. An official with the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta also declined to comment.

Whatever the merits of the lawsuit, this is undoubtedly a case in which a university’s relationship with a substantial proportion of its international student population has gone sour. Thirty-seven international students, after all, are discontented enough to sue.

Alabama State, a historically black university in Montgomery, has a relatively small international student population: it enrolled just 122 international students in 2014-15, according to data held by the Institute of International Education.

The institution, which has a six-year graduation rate of 27 percent, has had accreditation troubles of late. The university’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, took Alabama State off warning status in June, a sanction that had been imposed two years earlier for failure to comply with requirements and standards on issues related to financial stability and control, and conflict of interest on its governing board.

The professor who recruited the group of Nigerian students to Alabama State said he now regrets it.

“I feel very guilty that I brought these students to be exploited by Alabama State University,” said David Iyegha, a retired professor of geography who has served as an advocate for the Nigerian students.

“At some point I was wondering why the Nigerian government would bring us here,” said Kehinde Batife, one of the student plaintiffs in the case.

“It’s not like this is such a fantastic school.”

Batife, who graduated as a criminal justice major in the spring, at first treated Inside Higher Ed’s request for an interview as an opportunity to begin a negotiation, writing via email that he was willing to share “firsthand testimony from the victims” and documents to back up the story. “Based on the fact that other publications are contacting me for this same story, it is going to be the highest bidder takes it all. What do you have to offer?” he wrote.

After Inside Higher Ed’s reporter clarified that the publication does not pay for access to news or sources, Batife declined to talk immediately, saying he first needed to consult with others involved with the suit. But he subsequently agreed to an interview and shared a letter the students sent to Nigeria's president enumerating their complaints. The June 3 letter accuses Alabama State's administration of having "singled out only the Nigerian students -- because the university has complete control of the money the government sent -- to be exploited by subjecting us, the students, to conditions that are inconsistent with the norm in other institutions in the United States and even at Alabama State University itself."

"We are not in this to make money for ourselves," Batife said. "I’m a criminal justice major. I’m in school to defend myself and to defend other people. I’m thinking to pursue a law degree. Someone who is educating me will not call me a fool to my face. They call us cash cows and things like that."

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Racist chalk messages at college directed against president’s children and diversity efforts

Chalk messages appeared this month on the campus of Bethany College, in Kansas. The chalkings said, “Make Lindsborg white again,” referring to the small city where the college is located. Other chalkings featured the outlines of dead bodies with the words “rest in peace my friend.”

The various messages upset many at the college. On Friday, its president, William Jones, went public with what he had found out about the chalkings. He began a post on Facebook with the words “What do you do when a white supremacist writes racist and hateful messages directed at your children and at the students you work to serve?”

He said the messages in chalk are “disgusting and are completely contrary to our core values and intellectual identity,” and said he had learned that they had been left there by a small group of people who claim to be associated with a hate group.

Jones said that, a few days after the messages appeared, he received a call from a man who is not a Bethany student who said that he and others had left the messages. “He stated that the chalk messages were written in response to the makeup of my family (I have two adopted, biracial children), to some of the things that have been written and posted online and in the press about my work at the college, and in response to the students of color that Bethany College is recruiting,” Jones wrote.

Bethany — founded by Swedish immigrants in 1881 — has had unusual success at diversifying its student body for a small liberal arts college in a rural state. About 16 percent of its students are black and another 16 percent are Latino.

“That’s right. Think about it,” Jones wrote. “A man called my office to tell me that messages like the outline of a dead body and ‘make Lindsborg white again’ were directed at my family — the love of my life and my sweet children, ages 7 to 14 years old. Let it sink into your mind and heart. Dead body outline. Children. Hate. As a parent, how would you feel?” (Jones and his wife have six children.)

The man called a second time, Jones said, and demanded changes in the college.

“This time [he called] to relish in his ‘activism,’ to threaten to instigate the forces of his ‘movement’ to close our college …. You see, our college is on probation, primarily for financial issues,” Jones wrote. “This man hopes to gather other bigoted people to keep friends and alumni from supporting our college unless we comply with his demands. He says things to me like ‘this is what’s going to happen’ and ‘you will’ do X and Y during his brief and troubling calls. I am not worried by his threats. His ‘facts’ are wrong. More importantly, I know how much our alumni and friends care for Bethany College.”

Jones wrote that, with help from a lawyer, the college has banned the man who called and three others from coming to campus. He also said that security has been bolstered.

Via email, Jones said that the second time the man called, he left a message with his name and phone number, which enabled the college to identify him. “He was already on our radar and the police’s,” Jones wrote. “We have turned this information over to the authorities. He also was identified in an earlier incident in Kansas City in which his organization posted stickers in parts of the city.” He added that there were three to five men involved and that they are part of “an organization that is looking to target young adults and colleges.”

To everyone, Jones said, the incident suggests an important task. “Please challenge racism wherever you encounter it. Hurtful, racist actions are not ‘activism,'” he wrote. “Hate language is not blunt talk. Get to know people of other races and cultures. Think about what you post or share online or the jokes you tolerate. Use your imagination to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, kicks or sandals. Do the simple thing and treat all people the way you want to be treated.”

Jones said that he was not planning to change the college’s recruiting strategy, which has used its athletics programs to attract nonwhite students. He said that Bethany would continue to recruit and make welcome students of all kinds. He also released a photo of his family (at right).

Jones was named president of Bethany this summer after six years as vice president for external relations at LaGrange College.

Diversity
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Is this breaking news?: 

Chalk messages appeared this month on the campus of Bethany College, in Kansas. The chalkings said, "Make Lindsborg white again," referring to the small city where the college is located. Other chalkings featured the outlines of dead bodies with the words "rest in peace my friend."

The various messages upset many at the college. On Friday, its president, William Jones, went public with what he had found out about the chalkings. He began a post on Facebook with the words "What do you do when a white supremacist writes racist and hateful messages directed at your children and at the students you work to serve?"

He said the messages in chalk are "disgusting and are completely contrary to our core values and intellectual identity," and said he had learned that they had been left there by a small group of people who claim to be associated with a hate group.

Jones said that, a few days after the messages appeared, he received a call from a man who is not a Bethany student who said that he and others had left the messages. "He stated that the chalk messages were written in response to the makeup of my family (I have two adopted, biracial children), to some of the things that have been written and posted online and in the press about my work at the college, and in response to the students of color that Bethany College is recruiting," Jones wrote.

Bethany -- founded by Swedish immigrants in 1881 -- has had unusual success at diversifying its student body for a small liberal arts college in a rural state. About 16 percent of its students are black and another 16 percent are Latino.

"That's right. Think about it," Jones wrote. "A man called my office to tell me that messages like the outline of a dead body and 'make Lindsborg white again' were directed at my family -- the love of my life and my sweet children, ages 7 to 14 years old. Let it sink into your mind and heart. Dead body outline. Children. Hate. As a parent, how would you feel?" (Jones and his wife have six children.)

The man called a second time, Jones said, and demanded changes in the college.

"This time [he called] to relish in his 'activism,' to threaten to instigate the forces of his 'movement' to close our college …. You see, our college is on probation, primarily for financial issues," Jones wrote. "This man hopes to gather other bigoted people to keep friends and alumni from supporting our college unless we comply with his demands. He says things to me like 'this is what’s going to happen' and 'you will' do X and Y during his brief and troubling calls. I am not worried by his threats. His 'facts' are wrong. More importantly, I know how much our alumni and friends care for Bethany College."

Jones wrote that, with help from a lawyer, the college has banned the man who called and three others from coming to campus. He also said that security has been bolstered.

Via email, Jones said that the second time the man called, he left a message with his name and phone number, which enabled the college to identify him. "He was already on our radar and the police's," Jones wrote. "We have turned this information over to the authorities. He also was identified in an earlier incident in Kansas City in which his organization posted stickers in parts of the city." He added that there were three to five men involved and that they are part of "an organization that is looking to target young adults and colleges."

To everyone, Jones said, the incident suggests an important task. "Please challenge racism wherever you encounter it. Hurtful, racist actions are not 'activism,'" he wrote. "Hate language is not blunt talk. Get to know people of other races and cultures. Think about what you post or share online or the jokes you tolerate. Use your imagination to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, kicks or sandals. Do the simple thing and treat all people the way you want to be treated."

Jones said that he was not planning to change the college's recruiting strategy, which has used its athletics programs to attract nonwhite students. He said that Bethany would continue to recruit and make welcome students of all kinds. He also released a photo of his family (at right).

Jones was named president of Bethany this summer after six years as vice president for external relations at LaGrange College.

Diversity
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Beyond well-funded individual campus initiatives, experts urge collaboration on increasing faculty diversity

Increased faculty diversity has long been a goal of many colleges and universities. But a number of institutions have recently put their money where their mouths are, so to speak, launching expensive initiatives aimed at making their faculties more representative of their respective student bodies and the U.S. population. And while these initiatives are comprehensive, targeting multiple potential points of entry into — and exit from — the faculty candidate pool, a good portion of the funds are reserved for recruiting underrepresented minorities already working in academe or new Ph.D.s.

These patterns have led some to wonder whether the net effect of these individual initiatives across academe will be zero — just a shifting of diverse candidates from institution to institution — instead of a real demographic change.

Are those concerns legitimate? And how can a net-zero outcome be avoided? Experts say the answers lie in trial and error, inclusivity efforts, earlier interventions with students, and — perhaps less obviously but no less crucially — collaboration.

One of the biggest such initiatives is under way at Brown University, which earlier this year said it was dedicating $100 million to diversity and inclusion, including $50 million for faculty diversity efforts. Richard Locke, provost, likened the potential pass-the-faculty problem to a costly game of “musical chairs.”

“That’s the biggest concern,” he said. “When we released our report and everyone else released their reports around the same time, I kind of froze and said, ‘Oh, God, if we’re all doing this, what’s going to happen?’ Our approach has to not be simply going out and poaching people from other universities, but building up the population — not just for us but for all universities.”

Brown’s faculty plan never hinged on poaching. The people aspect of its Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan includes multiple simultaneous strategies aimed at attracting and retaining underrepresented faculty members. Examples include hosting Young Scholars Conferences to provide mentoring and guidance, thus far for those working in certain sciences; creating a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellows Program, from which two recent cohort alumni have been hired into tenure-track positions; investing in faculty mentoring; launching campus networks for early-career faculty members of color; and training professors involved in tenure and promotion decisions about conscious and unconscious bias.

But Brown has also announced that it will double the number of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by 2022, reflecting an increase of at least 60 professors. So it’s of course under pressure — both from within and without — to show real results, relatively quickly, and a number of its strategies do or could entail recruiting talent from other institutions. It is creating endowed professorships for scholars working on issues of diversity, social justice, power and privilege; engaging in cluster hiring with an eye toward diversity in those teams; launching a diverse visiting scholars program; and revitalizing a Target of Opportunity program that shortcuts the traditional search process for scholars of “extraordinary” value to the university.

Locke says much headway has been made so far by even simpler means, such as rewriting job ads to make them as inclusive as possible, and attempting to circulate them beyond the standard avenues. The idea is to reach people who, for a variety of reasons, never would have considered applying for a job at Brown. A bigger, more diverse applicant pool can only help improve faculty excellence, he said.

So how have all those efforts played out so far? Brown hired 35 new tenure-line professors this year. Eleven were from underrepresented groups, two of whom had permanent positions elsewhere. A few were in visiting positions at other campuses or were in private industry. The rest were graduate students or Brown postdocs.

With these additions, Brown now has 73 underrepresented faculty members of 751 total, or about 9.7 percent. That’s up from 8.1 percent since 2014-15, Brown’s baseline for its efforts.

For reference, Brown defines historically underrepresented groups as those who self-identify as American Indian, Alaskan native, African-American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander.

Yale University recently announced progress in its own $50 million faculty diversity program. Ben Polak, provost, told faculty members that his development fund, which supports the appointment of professors who contribute to diversity or other strategically important values, committed resources to 26 ladder faculty members in its first year.

Thomas Conroy, a spokesperson for Yale, declined to provide details on where the scholars were coming from or how many were already teaching at other institutions. But he said the university “recognizes the need to expand and develop the pool of young scholars who will contribute to the excellence and diversity of future generations of faculty.” Examples include the Graduate School Dean’s Emerging Scholars Initiative, designed to help attract and retain the best Ph.D. students who enhance diversity and excellence. Fifteen incoming Ph.D. students were admitted as fellows through the program and another 10 received competitive research awards, he said. The Provost’s Faculty Development Fund also provides resources to expand postbaccalaureate programs that help promising students transition to graduate school and academic careers.

Brown also has a number of diversity efforts directed at graduate students, whose underrepresented minority ranks it also wants to double by 2022. It’s also working with undergraduates, to encourage more students of color to pursue Ph.D.s in the first place. Retention and recruitment efforts at both those levels are key, experts say, to keeping graduate students within the faculty pipeline, and encouraging more students to follow them.

The University of Missouri — whose Columbia campus was a flash point for college and university discussions about race last fall — also is striving toward increased faculty diversity. It has said that it wants to double the percentage of historically underrepresented faculty by 2020, up from 6.7 percent currently. It has added $600,000 to its Faculty Incentive and Excellence fund to recruit and retain diverse professors, for a total of $1.3 million. Last week, it announced an additional $1 million investment to come from intellectual property revenue to recruit minority postdocs, with the goal of retaining them in the long term. It’s seeking additional donations to continue the program.

While the funds being added represent real money for Missouri, which has far fewer resources than Brown or Yale, it amounts to fraction of what those institutions can spend to — potentially — lure faculty members.

Doing More Together

Columbia and Harvard Universities and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, have their own well-funded faculty diversity initiatives. And like the plans at Yale, Brown, Missouri and other institutions, these plans revolve around improving their own statistics — attracting praise but also criticism from those who say universities could do more if they work together.

One of the most vocal critics of individual diversity initiatives is Bernard Milano, executive director of the Ph.D. Project, which aims to improve diversity among business professors. The program is funded by the KPMG Foundation, partner colleges and universities, the makers of the Graduate Management Admission Test, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and various business faculty groups. Its budget is relatively small — some $2.4 million — and goes to marketing efforts to recruit those working in business or studying in undergraduate or master’s programs to pursue Ph.D.s. It’s also heavy on networking opportunities, so those in graduate school feel supported by peers and mentors. There is no direct support to graduate students. Yet it graduates about 50 students per year and says 97 percent of alumni are teaching in colleges or universities.

“When I heard about Yale committing $50 million to faculty diversity, I thought about our program and how over 22 years we’ve spent $49 million,” Milano said. “If you just carved out a little from what Brown and Yale and Harvard have committed to a national program, that could be very effective.”

Milano didn’t necessarily dismiss those individual campus efforts, but he said he’s convinced that real change is best achieved through collaboration across campuses, by discipline. The Ph.D. Project works with 300 institutions, which have welcomed more than 1,000 new minority instructors into their ranks.

“Unless these institutions do something to increase the pool across higher ed, it will not increase,” he said. “They have to go out to people getting their undergraduate degrees in these respective fields and plant the seed about getting a Ph.D. to become a professor — that’s the missing component.” (Milano also said such programs have to help their recruits solve the “opportunity cost” of attending graduate school, especially for those who might otherwise seek or continue more immediately lucrative work.)

The Ph.D. Project is not the only collaborative effort aimed at increasing diversity in the eventual faculty candidate pool. But they are relatively uncommon — especially considering the resources so many institutions are devoting to the issue.

Kimberly Griffin, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Maryland at College Park who has studied early-career choices by academics of color, said the problem, in part, is one of incentives.

“It’s hard for individual institutional efforts, especially early on, to go beyond activities that will benefit their individual institutions in some way,” she said. “When your students are mad at you and you’re facing other kinds of pressure, intuitively, your thoughts turn immediately to ‘How do we increase faculty diversity? How do we improve our own policies and programs?’”

Like Milano, Griffin said she was increasingly convinced that collaborative efforts were the key to real gains in faculty diversity across higher education; she’s currently working on grants with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities that aim to scale up diversity efforts through partnerships and by amplifying successful strategies. But she said group efforts might happen not just across disciplines, with the help of disciplinary organizations, but also in other configurations — such as across a state university system.

Still, Griffin called initiatives such as Yale’s and Brown’s a “great start” to eventual collaborative successes.

Lorelle Espinosa, assistant vice president for the American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy, said she agreed that “an alliance or consortia approach is going to see that much more powerful gains, if it’s executed the right way.” At the same time, she said, there’s no “silver bullet” to the issue of faculty diversity, “and certainly there is power in numbers. With Brown and Yale making their mark on this issue, it’s another signal to higher education that this is important work.”

Espinosa added, “We’re still in a period of long-running experimentation.”

Locke, at Brown, said he wouldn’t be opposed to partnering with other institutions or disciplinary organizations going forward. He said he was heartened to see some individual departments already have started this kind of work as part of their own, unit-specific initiatives. Brown also is home to the national Leadership Alliance Summer Research-Early Identification Program, which provides nine-week summer study opportunities for undergraduates considering graduate school.

There’s room for more collaboration, with time.

“This is not going to be addressed effectively if we all go off and do our own thing, without any coordination or collaboration or information sharing,” Locke said. “All of us are learning as we go.”

Diversity
Editorial Tags: 
Is this breaking news?: 

Increased faculty diversity has long been a goal of many colleges and universities. But a number of institutions have recently put their money where their mouths are, so to speak, launching expensive initiatives aimed at making their faculties more representative of their respective student bodies and the U.S. population. And while these initiatives are comprehensive, targeting multiple potential points of entry into -- and exit from -- the faculty candidate pool, a good portion of the funds are reserved for recruiting underrepresented minorities already working in academe or new Ph.D.s.

These patterns have led some to wonder whether the net effect of these individual initiatives across academe will be zero -- just a shifting of diverse candidates from institution to institution -- instead of a real demographic change.

Are those concerns legitimate? And how can a net-zero outcome be avoided? Experts say the answers lie in trial and error, inclusivity efforts, earlier interventions with students, and -- perhaps less obviously but no less crucially -- collaboration.

One of the biggest such initiatives is under way at Brown University, which earlier this year said it was dedicating $100 million to diversity and inclusion, including $50 million for faculty diversity efforts. Richard Locke, provost, likened the potential pass-the-faculty problem to a costly game of “musical chairs.”

“That’s the biggest concern,” he said. “When we released our report and everyone else released their reports around the same time, I kind of froze and said, ‘Oh, God, if we’re all doing this, what’s going to happen?’ Our approach has to not be simply going out and poaching people from other universities, but building up the population -- not just for us but for all universities.”

Brown’s faculty plan never hinged on poaching. The people aspect of its Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan includes multiple simultaneous strategies aimed at attracting and retaining underrepresented faculty members. Examples include hosting Young Scholars Conferences to provide mentoring and guidance, thus far for those working in certain sciences; creating a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellows Program, from which two recent cohort alumni have been hired into tenure-track positions; investing in faculty mentoring; launching campus networks for early-career faculty members of color; and training professors involved in tenure and promotion decisions about conscious and unconscious bias.

But Brown has also announced that it will double the number of faculty members from historically underrepresented groups by 2022, reflecting an increase of at least 60 professors. So it’s of course under pressure -- both from within and without -- to show real results, relatively quickly, and a number of its strategies do or could entail recruiting talent from other institutions. It is creating endowed professorships for scholars working on issues of diversity, social justice, power and privilege; engaging in cluster hiring with an eye toward diversity in those teams; launching a diverse visiting scholars program; and revitalizing a Target of Opportunity program that shortcuts the traditional search process for scholars of “extraordinary” value to the university.

Locke says much headway has been made so far by even simpler means, such as rewriting job ads to make them as inclusive as possible, and attempting to circulate them beyond the standard avenues. The idea is to reach people who, for a variety of reasons, never would have considered applying for a job at Brown. A bigger, more diverse applicant pool can only help improve faculty excellence, he said.

So how have all those efforts played out so far? Brown hired 35 new tenure-line professors this year. Eleven were from underrepresented groups, two of whom had permanent positions elsewhere. A few were in visiting positions at other campuses or were in private industry. The rest were graduate students or Brown postdocs.

With these additions, Brown now has 73 underrepresented faculty members of 751 total, or about 9.7 percent. That’s up from 8.1 percent since 2014-15, Brown’s baseline for its efforts.

For reference, Brown defines historically underrepresented groups as those who self-identify as American Indian, Alaskan native, African-American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander.

Yale University recently announced progress in its own $50 million faculty diversity program. Ben Polak, provost, told faculty members that his development fund, which supports the appointment of professors who contribute to diversity or other strategically important values, committed resources to 26 ladder faculty members in its first year.

Thomas Conroy, a spokesperson for Yale, declined to provide details on where the scholars were coming from or how many were already teaching at other institutions. But he said the university “recognizes the need to expand and develop the pool of young scholars who will contribute to the excellence and diversity of future generations of faculty.” Examples include the Graduate School Dean’s Emerging Scholars Initiative, designed to help attract and retain the best Ph.D. students who enhance diversity and excellence. Fifteen incoming Ph.D. students were admitted as fellows through the program and another 10 received competitive research awards, he said. The Provost’s Faculty Development Fund also provides resources to expand postbaccalaureate programs that help promising students transition to graduate school and academic careers.

Brown also has a number of diversity efforts directed at graduate students, whose underrepresented minority ranks it also wants to double by 2022. It's also working with undergraduates, to encourage more students of color to pursue Ph.D.s in the first place. Retention and recruitment efforts at both those levels are key, experts say, to keeping graduate students within the faculty pipeline, and encouraging more students to follow them.

The University of Missouri -- whose Columbia campus was a flash point for college and university discussions about race last fall -- also is striving toward increased faculty diversity. It has said that it wants to double the percentage of historically underrepresented faculty by 2020, up from 6.7 percent currently. It has added $600,000 to its Faculty Incentive and Excellence fund to recruit and retain diverse professors, for a total of $1.3 million. Last week, it announced an additional $1 million investment to come from intellectual property revenue to recruit minority postdocs, with the goal of retaining them in the long term. It’s seeking additional donations to continue the program.

While the funds being added represent real money for Missouri, which has far fewer resources than Brown or Yale, it amounts to fraction of what those institutions can spend to -- potentially -- lure faculty members.

Doing More Together

Columbia and Harvard Universities and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, have their own well-funded faculty diversity initiatives. And like the plans at Yale, Brown, Missouri and other institutions, these plans revolve around improving their own statistics -- attracting praise but also criticism from those who say universities could do more if they work together.

One of the most vocal critics of individual diversity initiatives is Bernard Milano, executive director of the Ph.D. Project, which aims to improve diversity among business professors. The program is funded by the KPMG Foundation, partner colleges and universities, the makers of the Graduate Management Admission Test, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and various business faculty groups. Its budget is relatively small -- some $2.4 million -- and goes to marketing efforts to recruit those working in business or studying in undergraduate or master’s programs to pursue Ph.D.s. It's also heavy on networking opportunities, so those in graduate school feel supported by peers and mentors. There is no direct support to graduate students. Yet it graduates about 50 students per year and says 97 percent of alumni are teaching in colleges or universities.

“When I heard about Yale committing $50 million to faculty diversity, I thought about our program and how over 22 years we’ve spent $49 million,” Milano said. “If you just carved out a little from what Brown and Yale and Harvard have committed to a national program, that could be very effective.”

Milano didn’t necessarily dismiss those individual campus efforts, but he said he's convinced that real change is best achieved through collaboration across campuses, by discipline. The Ph.D. Project works with 300 institutions, which have welcomed more than 1,000 new minority instructors into their ranks.

“Unless these institutions do something to increase the pool across higher ed, it will not increase,” he said. “They have to go out to people getting their undergraduate degrees in these respective fields and plant the seed about getting a Ph.D. to become a professor -- that’s the missing component.” (Milano also said such programs have to help their recruits solve the “opportunity cost” of attending graduate school, especially for those who might otherwise seek or continue more immediately lucrative work.)

The Ph.D. Project is not the only collaborative effort aimed at increasing diversity in the eventual faculty candidate pool. But they are relatively uncommon -- especially considering the resources so many institutions are devoting to the issue.

Kimberly Griffin, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Maryland at College Park who has studied early-career choices by academics of color, said the problem, in part, is one of incentives.

“It's hard for individual institutional efforts, especially early on, to go beyond activities that will benefit their individual institutions in some way,” she said. “When your students are mad at you and you’re facing other kinds of pressure, intuitively, your thoughts turn immediately to ‘How do we increase faculty diversity? How do we improve our own policies and programs?’”

Like Milano, Griffin said she was increasingly convinced that collaborative efforts were the key to real gains in faculty diversity across higher education; she’s currently working on grants with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities that aim to scale up diversity efforts through partnerships and by amplifying successful strategies. But she said group efforts might happen not just across disciplines, with the help of disciplinary organizations, but also in other configurations -- such as across a state university system.

Still, Griffin called initiatives such as Yale’s and Brown’s a “great start” to eventual collaborative successes.

Lorelle Espinosa, assistant vice president for the American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy, said she agreed that “an alliance or consortia approach is going to see that much more powerful gains, if it’s executed the right way.” At the same time, she said, there’s no “silver bullet” to the issue of faculty diversity, “and certainly there is power in numbers. With Brown and Yale making their mark on this issue, it’s another signal to higher education that this is important work.”

Espinosa added, “We’re still in a period of long-running experimentation.”

Locke, at Brown, said he wouldn’t be opposed to partnering with other institutions or disciplinary organizations going forward. He said he was heartened to see some individual departments already have started this kind of work as part of their own, unit-specific initiatives. Brown also is home to the national Leadership Alliance Summer Research-Early Identification Program, which provides nine-week summer study opportunities for undergraduates considering graduate school.

There's room for more collaboration, with time.

"This is not going to be addressed effectively if we all go off and do our own thing, without any coordination or collaboration or information sharing," Locke said. "All of us are learning as we go."

Diversity
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Is this breaking news?: 

Syracuse ousted dean after he was arrested for patronizing a prostitute

Kenneth Kavajecz was removed last week as dean of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. He was also suspended from his role as a faculty member in the business school. No explanation was offered — and students and faculty members were stunned.

Then Friday came the word that Kavajecz had been charged with the misdemeanor of patronizing a person for prostitution in Salina, N.Y., a small town near Syracuse. The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office released the news after Syracuse.com filed an open records request.

The university, which had said nothing about why Kavajecz had been removed, then gave a statement to local reporters that it had “confirmed with law enforcement that the alleged behavior did not occur on the Syracuse University campus, did not involve members of the campus community and is unrelated to the former dean’s university responsibilities.”

Kavajecz has not commented on the situation to local reporters, and he did not respond to an email from Inside Higher Ed.

The former dean had earned just under $500,000 annually. The Daily Orange, the student newspaper, ran a profile of him earlier this month, full of praise.

More Rights as Professor Than Dean

Experts on the rights of academic employees said that Kavajecz has more rights as a faculty member than as dean.

Ann Franke, president of Wise Results, a consulting firm that advises colleges on legal issues and risk management, said via email that administrators typically serve a university at the will of their supervisors, so Syracuse likely has wide latitude to dismiss a dean. While she said she had no background on the Syracuse case, she said that the faculty position raises more issues.

“Every institution needs to articulate a standard for temporarily suspending a faculty member during disciplinary proceedings. This type of suspension is sometimes called an administrative or emergency suspension. You want to have a standard in place well before a messy situation arises,” she said. “Many institutions use American Association of University Professors’ recommended standard that the faculty member must pose a threat of immediate harm to self or others.”

“Sometimes misconduct occurs in a faculty member’s private life, unconnected to the university,” Franke added. “If the situation involved no violence, it may be difficult to justify a suspension under a standard of threat of immediate harm to self or others.”

Rudy Fichtenbaum, professor emeritus of economics at Wright State University and national president of the AAUP, said via email that the “dismissal of a faculty member (presumably a tenured faculty member) might happen in a case like this on grounds of moral turpitude …. Of course this should only happen if 1) someone is actually convicted of a crime [that] is considered a crime that is contrary to community standards of moral behavior or 2) there is some sort of due process, in the absence of an actual conviction, where a group of faculty peers recommends dismissal on grounds of moral turpitude.”

Editorial Tags: 
Image Caption: 
Kenneth Kavajecz
Is this breaking news?: 

Kenneth Kavajecz was removed last week as dean of Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management. He was also suspended from his role as a faculty member in the business school. No explanation was offered -- and students and faculty members were stunned.

Then Friday came the word that Kavajecz had been charged with the misdemeanor of patronizing a person for prostitution in Salina, N.Y., a small town near Syracuse. The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office released the news after Syracuse.com filed an open records request.

The university, which had said nothing about why Kavajecz had been removed, then gave a statement to local reporters that it had "confirmed with law enforcement that the alleged behavior did not occur on the Syracuse University campus, did not involve members of the campus community and is unrelated to the former dean's university responsibilities."

Kavajecz has not commented on the situation to local reporters, and he did not respond to an email from Inside Higher Ed.

The former dean had earned just under $500,000 annually. The Daily Orange, the student newspaper, ran a profile of him earlier this month, full of praise.

More Rights as Professor Than Dean

Experts on the rights of academic employees said that Kavajecz has more rights as a faculty member than as dean.

Ann Franke, president of Wise Results, a consulting firm that advises colleges on legal issues and risk management, said via email that administrators typically serve a university at the will of their supervisors, so Syracuse likely has wide latitude to dismiss a dean. While she said she had no background on the Syracuse case, she said that the faculty position raises more issues.

"Every institution needs to articulate a standard for temporarily suspending a faculty member during disciplinary proceedings. This type of suspension is sometimes called an administrative or emergency suspension. You want to have a standard in place well before a messy situation arises," she said. "Many institutions use American Association of University Professors' recommended standard that the faculty member must pose a threat of immediate harm to self or others."

"Sometimes misconduct occurs in a faculty member's private life, unconnected to the university," Franke added. "If the situation involved no violence, it may be difficult to justify a suspension under a standard of threat of immediate harm to self or others."

Rudy Fichtenbaum, professor emeritus of economics at Wright State University and national president of the AAUP, said via email that the "dismissal of a faculty member (presumably a tenured faculty member) might happen in a case like this on grounds of moral turpitude …. Of course this should only happen if 1) someone is actually convicted of a crime [that] is considered a crime that is contrary to community standards of moral behavior or 2) there is some sort of due process, in the absence of an actual conviction, where a group of faculty peers recommends dismissal on grounds of moral turpitude."

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Image Caption: 
Kenneth Kavajecz
Is this breaking news?: 

AAUP Chapter Meeting – September 23, 2016

IMPORTANT! The first UNE AAUP Advisory Chapter open meeting takes place on September 23 from noon to 1.  Biddeford Campus Location: Pickus 214 Portland Campus Location: Pharmacy Dean’s Conference Room 123 The purpose of the chapter meeting is to get the word out that we are not a collective bargaining chapter, that we hope to …

IMPORTANT!

The first UNE AAUP Advisory Chapter open meeting takes place on September 23 from noon to 1. 

Biddeford Campus Location: Pickus 214

Portland Campus Location: Pharmacy Dean’s Conference Room 123

The purpose of the chapter meeting is to get the word out that we are not a collective bargaining chapter, that we hope to work within the existing system, and that our modest goals are to enhance the quality of our educational programs by strengthening the role of faculty at the institution. This is also a great place for existing chapter members to network and discover how to integrate into our efforts. 

This meeting is open to all faculty of the University.   

Anyone seeking to join the email list should contact Thomas McLaughlin, Ph.D., UNE AAUP Chapter Secretary at chalmersmclaughlin@gmail.com

Innovation – Everyone Says It’s the Answer

“Innovation — Everyone Says It’s the Answer, but Is It What Colleges Need?” is the title of a recent article by Scott Carlson in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Innovation as a vision, it turns out, may not be so innovative after all! Reporting on a panel discussion hosted by The New America Foundation and featuring Charles …

“Innovation — Everyone Says It’s the Answer, but Is It What Colleges Need?” is the title of a recent article by Scott Carlson in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Innovation as a vision, it turns out, may not be so innovative after all!

Reporting on a panel discussion hosted by The New America Foundation and featuring Charles L. Isbell, Jr. (Senior Associate Dean in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology), Bridget Burns (Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance), and Amy Laitinin (director of higher-education policy at The New America Foundation), Carlson captures several of the key pressures for innovation, in addition to the possible negative repercussions.

Colleges and universities, though, are not necessarily in the driver’s seat, as Carlson reports:

Actually, the panelists pointed out, it might not be entirely colleges’ problem. Too many of the incentives around higher education, they said, focus on inputs — more applicants, more students, the time those students spend in class — rather than outcomes, like graduation rates or the jobs students get after college. And that focus applies to the innovation conversation as well.

With incentives focused on inputs and the new, the innovation agenda exists in tension with the important outcomes assessment conversations within colleges and universities.

Carlson’s article can be read in its entirety at http://www.chronicle.com.une.idm.oclc.org/article/Innovation-Everyone-Says/237820. It is behind the Chronicle‘s paywall, but many university libraries subscribe to the periodical.

LIU Lockout Ends – 12 Days of Educational Disruption

Writing for The Guardian, Rose Hackman reports on the possible longterm significance of the lockout at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in “LIU Lockout: US Professors and Students Seen as Disposable Commodities.”  In the midst of contract negotiations, the administration locked out the faculty over Labor Day weekend, a pre-emptive move intended to pressure the …

Writing for The Guardian, Rose Hackman reports on the possible longterm significance of the lockout at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus in “LIU Lockout: US Professors and Students Seen as Disposable Commodities.” 

In the midst of contract negotiations, the administration locked out the faculty over Labor Day weekend, a pre-emptive move intended to pressure the union into concessions just as classes were about to start. Faculty were denied access to their university email and offices, and the administration quickly sought to put replacement “teachers” in classes.

Hackman’s reporting focuses considerable attention on possible relationship between race and educational investments. LIU has two campuses: Brooklyn and Post. The Post campus is situated in the leafy suburbs of eastern Long Island, and its student body is considerably less diverse.

Ben Saunders, a professor of psychology at LIU Brooklyn, says that he feels the campus in Brooklyn is effectively funding the suburban Post campus, echoing critiques long made over the centuries by black public intellectuals: that communities of color are systematically plundered to support unrealistic standards of living for whiter communities.

Also at issue in the LIU lockout was educational quality. Much of the reporting on the lockout included examples of unqualified or marginally qualified individuals hired to stand before students in the first weeks of the term. Hackman spotlights the experience of one LIU Brooklyn student, Nichia McFarlane:

McFarlane says after the lockout was announced, and after she realized courses were not being taught by the qualified professors she had been looking forward to, students received emails from the administration saying their time to un-enroll without incurring a financial penalty had been shortened. She had to make a split-second decision that very day, and withdrew.

‘As they were locking out faculty, they were trying to lock in students. It felt like a con or a scam. I don’t want to think that about the university that I am going to.’

Teaching is a highly skilled profession requiring years of apprenticeship, credentialing, and more. Students are often quite capable of recognizing when instruction is not provided by qualified individuals.

Study finds major access gaps in higher education in developing countries

Global higher education access targets are likely to be missed, according to a study that found that women are at the back of the queue when university enrollment widens in the developing world.

An analysis of higher education participation rates in 3…

Global higher education access targets are likely to be missed, according to a study that found that women are at the back of the queue when university enrollment widens in the developing world.

An analysis of higher education participation rates in 35 countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa by University of Cambridge researchers detected “extremely low” rates for people under 25 in almost all of them: below 10 percent in 31 of the countries, and below 5 percent in 20.

Drawing on U.S.-funded Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2007 and 2014, Sonia Ilie and Pauline Rose found that enrollment was generally lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, with participation among the young below 2 percent in countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda and Tanzania.

However, average attendance rates mask “vast differences” in participation between the poorest and richest in each country, write Ilie and Rose in the journal Higher Education. There are five countries where the number of poor young people going to university is “not statistically different from zero”: Burkina Faso, Liberia, Malawi, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Tanzania.

More than 5 percent of the poorest half of young people went to university in only four of the 35 countries -- Comoros, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan -- and, even in these nations, richer citizens were three to five times more likely to enroll.

Ilie and Rose found that the overall access trend for poorer young people over the past 40 years has been “one of stagnation.” Richer people have benefited the most, although this has often been relatively gradual: participation rates are estimated to have increased by fewer than five percentage points in 22 of the 35 countries.

Given that the gap in participation between rich and poor “has, if anything, widened over time,” Ilie and Rose wrote that the chances of meeting the goal of equal university access for all women and men by 2030, set out in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, seem “remote.”

The prospects for women are particularly concerning, add Ilie and Rose. They find that, in countries where access is restricted to a very small proportion of under-25s overall, the difference in participation between men and women is small.

However, in 24 of the 30 countries where at least some of the poorest are enrolled, poor young women were the least likely to enter university and, in 15, rich men were the most likely to. In Guinea, the paper says, less than 0.1 percent of poor young women enroll, compared with 1.1 percent of poor young men and 15 percent of rich young men.

Rose told Times Higher Education that “wide inequalities will remain” until standards of primary and secondary schooling are significantly improved.

“Despite recent expansion in higher education in African countries, the evidence shows that the poorest young people in African countries are very rarely getting access,” Rose said. “As higher education expands, there is also some evidence to suggest that gaps in access to higher education between young women and men widen in these countries.

“Public spending needs to focus on the parts of the education system where inequalities begin -- in primary and secondary schooling.”

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As Indiana U’s eTexts initiative grows, a textbook model emerges

Indiana University’s eText initiative is rapidly becoming the go-to way for students there to buy textbooks and other course materials.

The initiative, which began as a pilot in 2009, has a simple goal: ensure all students have access to textboo…

Indiana University’s eText initiative is rapidly becoming the go-to way for students there to buy textbooks and other course materials.

The initiative, which began as a pilot in 2009, has a simple goal: ensure all students have access to textbooks. To do so, IU has developed a model that it says balances benefits and compromises for all partners involved -- faculty members, publishers, students and the university.

“We don’t ask students to bring their own desk and chair to the classroom,” Bradley C. Wheeler, vice president for information technology, said in an interview. “Why do we ask them to waste their own time running around, playing games trying to find the book they need, when we can simplify the process electronically and have the university buy it wholesale?”

Essentially, the eTexts initiative treats textbook acquisition as software licensing. In course sections where faculty members opt in to the program, the university is able to negotiate discounted prices by promising publishers that virtually every student in the section will buy the textbook. The course materials are then delivered through an ereading platform controlled by IU, giving the university control over the data collected about how students interact with their textbooks. Students themselves are notified if a course section they wish to enroll in uses an eText, telling them up front how much they will be charged.

The program has over the last 12 months seen a surge in popularity. Last academic year, more than 40,000 students -- about one-third of the university’s total enrollment -- got at least one textbook through the program. This fall alone, more than 27,000 students did the same, suggesting another record-setting year ahead. Now the growth has experts wondering if IU has developed a model the higher education textbook industry has been searching for.

Wheeler said a combination of factors is behind the growth, including the maturation of the smartphone and tablet markets, as well as a growing sense that faculty members and students are more comfortable with digital course materials today than they were a few years ago.

The persistence of the used and rental book market also plays a major role, Wheeler said. While it serves as a convenient and affordable option for students, it represents a tantalizing missed revenue opportunity to publishers.

The life cycle of a traditional textbook goes something like this: student A pays up to several hundred dollars for a brand-new textbook. At the end of the semester, the student may decide to sell the book back to the bookstore, receiving slightly less than list price in return. The book then enters the used-book market, where a new student is able to purchase it for considerably less than the first student. That cycle of depreciation repeats until the publisher releases a new edition, after which the cycle restarts.

Publishers, of course, only make money on the first sale, and as a result they have made several attempts to cut into the used and rental book markets -- for example, pushing for more faculty members to use digital course materials, exploring direct-to-student marketing and sales, and charging students who buy used books to access homework questions.

None of those strategies have addressed the “fundamental problem” of making course materials affordable and accessible to a greater number of students, Wheeler said

“We’ve just had such a distortion in how people who consume pay the people who produce,” Wheeler said. “If every user pays a little bit, you do away with piracy, you do away with … whether a student can afford to buy a book or not. It brings a whole new level of rationality of acquiring course materials.”

Other universities have signed similar agreements with a single publisher, such as the California State University System’s 2012 deal with Cengage Learning. IU has expanded its program to about two dozen publishers, including the five largest -- Cengage, John Wiley & Sons, Macmillan Publishers, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson -- but also smaller ones, such as its own university press. The publishers aren’t disclosing how much of a discount they give, but students pay substantially less than they would for a traditional print book.

Joseph J. Esposito, a management consultant in the publishing industry, said the initiative is a “major development” in the textbook market that, if copied by other large universities, could shift the balance of power in textbook sales away from resellers and back toward publishers. He described it as a “brilliant move” -- and not just for the university or its students.

“Meanwhile, behind closed doors, they’re uncorking the bottles of champagne in the publishers’ offices, because they’re making more money on this deal than they would have otherwise,” Esposito said.

Picture a class of 30 students. About a dozen of them -- if publishers are lucky -- will buy the newest version of the textbook assigned by their instructor. Among the remaining students, maybe 10 rent or buy the book used, a handful get their hands on pirated copies, and some can’t afford or simply don’t buy it.

With the eTexts initiative, publishers are guaranteed that virtually every student in a class buys the textbook -- an almost unheard-of 100 percent sell-through rate. None of those digital course materials end up in the used book market. And since the textbooks are delivered digitally, the publishers are able to cut down on manufacturing and shipping costs, as well as the markup college bookstores collect, Esposito said.

College bookstores aren’t expressing any concern about the eTexts initiative and similar programs, however. On the contrary, the National Association of College Stores in a statement said it “applauds efforts to make course materials and education more affordable for students.” NACS pointed to institutions such as the University of California, Davis, which works with outside vendors to offer students a choice of where they buy their course materials.

“The campus store is well positioned to play an important role in these programs,” the organization said in the statement. “The store has relationships with students, faculty, other campus services and content providers that are key when creating and implementing a digital course materials initiative.”

While faculty members at IU opt in to using eTexts in their courses, the growing popularity of the program means it is becoming increasingly opt out for students. Many IU students today have a choice between sections using eTexts and those that don’t, but if more faculty members continue to opt in, that may no longer be the case in the future. IU offers an electronic opt-out form for students who want to purchase their own course materials regardless of which sections they enroll in (although “practically no one” has used it, Wheeler said).

A 2015 case study that looked at student participation levels and motivation suggested students prefer eTexts to print textbooks -- as long as their instructors actively used the course materials in the class. In those classes, a slight majority of students said they read and learned more.

IU’s model also raises questions of ownership. Students who pays the fee to access the eText assigned in a course lose access once they are no longer enrolled at the university. That is a much longer window than what many rental programs offer, but still temporary.

But the “notion of physical ownership” is tied to print books, Wheeler said. Students “expect more” from digital course materials -- features like collaboration and searchable highlights and notes, he said.

For print lovers, IU’s agreements with publishers allow students to print as many pages as they want. And for an additional fee, students can order a print copy on top of digital access -- which is still less expensive than opting out and buying a new print copy at list price, Wheeler said.

“I think we’ve struck the right kind of balance with eTexts,” Wheeler said.

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