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Closing a University Gold Course; Monetizing Institutional Assets

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for Cleveland.com, Karen Farkas reports

“Kent State University is closing its golf course because of declining revenues and increasing operating costs. . . .

The university bought the 18-hole par 70 course on Ohio 59 in Franklin Township, in 1966. The course includes a putting green, chipping area, snack bar, banquet room and pavilion.

“For much of its longevity, the course played an important role in the local golf community – from university and community leagues to a training ground for high school teams,” the university announcement said.

“As the Northeast Ohio golf industry continues to experience financial challenges, the university determined that the Kent State Golf Course could not reverse a five-year trend of declining revenues and mounting operating losses,” the [university’s] announcement said.The university’s budget for the course this year is about $500,000. . . .

“The university assessed the viability of the 40-acre course in response…

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More on the Double Standards for College Coaches and Athletes

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for the Hartford Courant, Sally Jenkins provides a very acerbically satiric, first-person response ostensibly from University of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsell to the furor now surrounding his decision to rescind a scholarship offer to a player recruited by his predecessor:

“Over the course of my long and distinctively insincere career, which includes a 96-103 record as a head coach and an appearance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, I haven’t changed my values. You can tell that by the fact that I’ve arrived back at UConn in exactly the same way I left it: with a strong statement about trust.

“Back in 2009 after a bowl game loss, I insisted one of our players stand up in the locker room and tell his teammates to their faces that he was breaking his commitment to UConn and leaving early for the NFL. Right after that, I broke my…

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For-Profit Revenues and Federal Student Aid

ACADEME BLOG

As the following chart shows, relatively few of the for-profit colleges and universities exceed the federal limit for generating more than 90% of their revenues from Title IV funds managed by the Department of Education:

for-profit-funding-chart-1

But, when funds from the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration are included in the calculation, more than 200 for-profit colleges and universities have exceeded the 90% limit. Of course, the for-profit sector is top-heavy in terms of enrollment, and as these charts from a new report from the Brookings Institute show, the 11 for-profit institutions with more than $600 million in annual revenue are especially dependent on federal student aid for their revenues:

for-profit-funding-chart-2for-profit-funding-chart-3

The complete report from the brookings institute is available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/01/11/how-much-do-for-profit-colleges-rely-on-federal-funds/.

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The New 1% of Committed Activists

ACADEME BLOG

Andy Lee Roth, a sociology professor at Citrus College is associate director of Project Censored and co-editor of Censored 2017: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2015-2016. In “Ralph Nader Calls for a New 1%,” an article written for Yes magazine, Roth highlights the call to action made by Ralph Nader in his most recent book, Breaking through Power:

“The premise of his argument is that small groups of individuals have initiated most of the significant, progressive political reforms in U.S. history – from the abolition of slavery to securing women’s right to vote, from tobacco regulation to citizen initiatives on climate change: ‘Take a sweeping look at history and you will discover that almost all movements that mattered started with just one or two people.’

“The book’s final chapter, titled ‘Why Democracy Works,’ is Nader’s call to action. It begins by quoting Martin Luther King Jr…

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Oregon: Proposals on State Funding and Consolidation

ACADEME BLOG

In “Threatening Tuition Hike, Oregon Universities Demand Funding Increase,” an article for Oregon Public Broadcasting, Rob Manning reports:

“The presidents of Oregon’s seven public universities are telling legislative leaders they need a big funding increase to keep tuition down. That’s the main message in a letter the university presidents intend to send to legislative leaders this week.

“The one-page letter is blunt: If legislators want to limit tuition increases, they better add at least $100 million to Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal for higher education. . . .

“’The impacts of these large tuition increases and reduction in services have taken their toll on Oregonians. Retention rates, and at many universities graduation rates are down or stagnant and many students can no longer piece together a financial aid package of grants, loans, and work sufficient to fund a college education,’ the presidents’ letter says. . . .

“The budget proposed…

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Ransomware: The New “Protection” Racket

ACADEME BLOG

In an article for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gary Robbins reports:

“Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen said it paid $28,000 in bitcoins to the hackers, who had used malicious software to commandeer a variety of systems, including key computers and emails.

“’It was the assessment of our outside cybersecurity experts that making a payment would offer an extremely high probability of restoring access to the affected systems, while failure to pay would virtually guarantee that data would be lost,’ the college said in a statement last week.

“The college was hit by so-called ransomware, which encrypts computer files. The hackers then send the victims a message offering to undo the damage if a ransom is paid. . . .

“’The key phrase in the L.A. Valley ransomware story is that they had no other choice but to pay since they lacked a back-up (system). Ransomware is not an act of God,’ said Jonathan…

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Global Survey of Academic Freedom Issues [Post 19 of a Series]

ACADEME BLOG

This series covers the issues that surfaced in 2015. I had it done at the beginning of 2016, but I have been somewhat slow getting it posted.

Southwest Asia

In an opinion piece published in May for the Jerusalem Post, David Newman comments at some length at how removed for the daily business of a university meetings of boards of trustees have become. Although he addresses the issue more broadly, he continually references his own experience at Ben Gurion University (BGU) as a source of illustrations. Later in the article, he speaks about the impact of having trustees with very pronounced political biases, especially when they also make substantial gifts to the university as a way of furthering their ideological agenda. The individual whom Newman uses as an illustration remains anonymous, but the example is nonetheless pointedly revealing:

“In contrast to the impressive ceremony in Arad or the courses…

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