Notes & Coffee: February 13-19

Notes & Coffee is here to keep you informed of all the trending student affairs and higher ed news stories most critical to our field as they develop. In this time of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the rapid changes taking place under the new administration, as well as stories of higher education continuing to strive forward for the betterment of our students. We invite you to brew up your favorite morning beverage, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee.

Bracing for Black bloc - “Recent violent protests by off-campus anarchist groups, most notably at Berkeley, are sparking renewed conversations among college law enforcement officials about campus preparedness. Black bloc is a strategy intended to unify protesters through their black clothing, masks and paramilitary tactics. The protesters become indistinguishable from one another, creating confusion for law enforcement officials and chaos among innocent bystanders. Black bloc is more of a shifting movement and shared strategy than a formal organization. It can be traced back to the 1970s in Germany, The Washington Post reported. The tactics have been used at protests across the globe, but in the last few months -- particularly since Nov. 8, when Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election -- black bloc protesters have made more appearances than usual.” 

As community colleges ‘have their moment’, leaders face tough challenges - “Nationwide, enrollments in community colleges have been declining for several years, in part because the job market as a whole has been improving, so fewer people have felt the need to do what Moore is doing by heading back to school. And even as some states and cities propose efforts to make two-year colleges free to students, the broader trend is that many state governments have scaled back public support for community colleges in recent years. In Arizona, for instance, the state funding for two major community college districts is down to zero. And the truth is that community colleges don’t always pay off for students. Completion rates are notoriously low—only about 38 percent of students who started at a community college in 2009 completed a two- or four-year degree within six years. And students who take out even small loans to attend can end up with crippling debt if they end up with no degree to show for their efforts.”

‘Every campus a refugee’, but can refugees come? - “Enforcement of the entry ban has been temporarily halted by federal courts, and, as the Trump administration considers its legal options -- including the option of issuing a brand-new order -- it remains unclear whether the group at Northampton will be able to sponsor a family sooner rather than later after all. In the meantime the donations they have collected are sitting in storage or at various people's homes. It’s frequently churches and civic groups that sponsor refugee families, but some colleges have as well. Rinehimer had the idea for Northampton after hearing an NPR interview with Diya Abdo, a professor of English at Guilford College and the founder of the Every Campus a Refuge project, which calls on every campus to host a newly arrived refugee family and assist them in resettlement.”

DeVos says community colleges key to workforce development - “Community colleges will play an important role in advancing President Donald Trump’s workforce agenda, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said at a meeting of community college leaders Thursday. It was DeVos’ first appearance at a conference event in her new role. Speaking from prepared remarks at the National Legislative Summit of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), DeVos characterized the nation’s community colleges as “nimble, inclusive and entrepreneurial.” She noted that the identity and scope of community colleges align well with President Trump’s 100-day plan, which emphasizes job creation. Expanding technical and vocational education, as well as making education more affordable, are critical elements of workforce development, DeVos said.” 

80 cents on the dollar - “Higher education administration is still a man’s world if you’re measuring pay and position title. A gender pay gap at the top levels of higher education leadership has persisted over the last 15 years, according to new research released Tuesday by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, known as CUPA-HR. A gulf between the number of men and women in the most prestigious, highest-paying jobs has not closed significantly, either. Women working in administrative positions mostly filled by men did earn relatively more than many of their peers who work in positions largely filled by women -- and in a handful of cases, those outnumbered women earned more than their male counterparts. While that may offer little or no comfort to women administrators who believe in equal pay for equal work across the board, it could show that colleges and universities are attempting to recruit and keep women for positions in which they are underrepresented.”

Talking it out - “Brown U's series on campus speech faces its first test, with a scholar using racial and religious slurs to make a point during a talk. Some students were offended, and one challenged him -- but not his right to speak. Campus speech debates have become heated, and even violent, in recent years. What happened at Brown University recently isn’t one of those incidents. Instead of protests, a visiting speaker -- and his controversial comments, including the N-word -- prompted discussion. Geoffrey R. Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, was at Brown this month as part of the campus’s “Reaffirming University Values: Campus Dialogue and Discourse” program. Richard M. Locke, Brown’s provost, introduced the series of lectures and workshops last semester as a way to “consider how to cultivate an environment in which we, as a community, can discuss conflicting values and controversial issues in constructive and engaging ways.”’ 

More Notes 

Online education costs more, not less 

Free speech furor…at Chicago 

Required to detain

Betsy DeVos remains a blank slate on postsecondary education 

Disinvitation season begins

The right to not be recorded

6 essential technologies on the higher education horizon