Go back

This Week in Higher Ed

• Victims of sexual assault at the nation's military academies soon will be able to report to specified counselors and receive medical treatment without immediately setting off an official inquiry. Pentagon officials said the new policy was devised to increase the reporting of sexual assault by assuring victims that they could privately seek counseling and medical care before being faced with the difficulties of an investigation. • Victims of sexual assault at the nation's military academies soon will be able to report to specified counselors and receive medical treatment without immediately setting off an official inquiry. Pentagon officials said the new policy was devised to increase the reporting of sexual assault by assuring victims that they could privately seek counseling and medical care before being faced with the difficulties of an investigation. Details of the new policy were discussed as the Defense Department released results of a new survey in which students at the nation's military academies said that only about one-third of sexual assaults were reported. (The New York Times, 3/21/05)

•Mercyhurst College—a small college in Erie, Pa., the hometown of Tom Ridge, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—has won a $96,000 federal contract to train departmental intelligence analysts. The contract was awarded on a sole-source basis, which meant that it did not have to compete for the work and was judged to be the only institution capable of meeting the department's needs in this area. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/18/05)

•Dr. Eric T. Poehlman, a former tenured professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, has been accused of fabricating research data on closely watched topics such as menopause, aging and hormone supplements to win millions of dollars in grant money from the federal government. Poehlman has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of making false statements in an application for a $542,000 grant he received. He faces up to five years in prison. He also is barred by the federal government from receiving Public Health Research funds and must retract or correct 10 articles. (San Diego Union Tribune, 3/18/05)

•Opponents of University of Illinois mascot Chief Illiniwek are suing the school's trustees, claiming the buckskin-clad figure perpetuates a racial stereotype. In its lawsuit, the Illinois Native American Bar Association and two individuals allege the mascot violates Indians' rights under state law and violates the board's own policies against discrimination. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Associated Press, 3/16/05)

• Boston College has sent warning letters to 120,000 of its alumni after a computer containing their addresses and Social Security numbers was hacked by an unknown intruder. (The Boston Globe, 3/16/05)

•If you have federal Stafford student loans, time is running out to consolidate them at a low interest rate. At 3.375 percent, interest rates for student past their grace period are at an all-time low. Mark Brenner, president of College Loan Corporation, recommends people with unconsolidated loans go ahead and consolidate them before the rates change on July 1. (The State, 3/16/05)

•Mississippi higher education officials warn tuition could skyrocket 20 percent, up to 1,500 employees could become jobless and some academic programs could lose accreditation under proposed budget cuts to state universities. The House and Senate are scheduled to sort out appropriation soon. (The Clarion-Ledger, 3/16/05)