Notes & Coffee: Jan 22-28

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 the age of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the stories that matter to our field. We invite you to brew a favorite morning beverage, kick back, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee.  

When is a president accountable for what she didn't know? – “In these highly charged, complex and contentious situations, the question often becomes: What did the president know, and when did she know it? But another question is worth asking, too: When is not knowing the president's fault? How directly should a president be held accountable for the acts committed by those who report to her -- even if she did not know about those acts?” 

Kicked out for racism – “The cases were similar and the punishment was the same. Not even three years ago, many Americans applauded as the University of Oklahoma kicked out two fraternity members for their role in helping lead a racist chant that was recorded and went viral. But despite popular support for that decision and the shuttering of the campus chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, legal experts said the institution had actually flouted the students’ First Amendment rights, which protects even the vilest of speech. Now, a student at the University of Alabama has been expelled after she posted videos to Instagram rife with racial slurs, also earning her national condemnation. The same arguments arise again -- did the university, a public institution operating as a government representative, break the law?” 

North Carolina ‘Dreamers’ volunteer, mentor young people – “President Donald Trump announced in September 2017 that he was phasing out DACA, with renewals allowed until Oct. 5 of last year and the program’s protections being phased out over six months. He urged Congress to create a replacement for DACA, saying federal lawmakers have authority to pass national immigration laws and that he would revisit the matter if they didn’t fix it. Renewals were reinstated after a court order issued Jan. 9, while a lawsuit challenging the decision to end the program moves forward. It’s not just dreamers who stand to lose if there are no new legislative protections put in place. There could be hefty economic consequences for states like North Carolina.”

Once again, NCAA tests the boundaries – “The association is setting itself up for a similar dilemma with Michigan State University and the horrors committed by Lawrence G. Nassar, a former doctor with the American gymnastics team who also spent decades treating athletes at the university. More than 160 women accused him of sexual abuse, and Nassar, already serving a 60-year sentence on federal child-pornography charges, was sentenced Wednesday to up to 175 years in prison for his crimes, to which he pleaded guilty. The NCAA will investigate Michigan State, it confirmed Tuesday, but its questions around Nassar far exceed its usual inquiries into what is usually much milder misconduct -- misbehavior by coaches or impropriety among boosters.”

HBCU profiles: The story behind Edward Waters College's graduation rates – “After being the only option for black students for decades, some historically black colleges and universities are struggling. Falling enrollment numbers and dwindling resources are challenging schools that want educate a diverse student body. In WFSU's series on Florida's HBCUs, here's a look at the status of Edward Waters College, the state’s oldest historically black college.”

More Notes

The pressure on provosts

Dividing lines take shape in Senate

Other countries teach us how income-based student loan repayments should work

Report: For many adult learners, going to college is desirable but unaffordable

Study spotlights cultural barriers to student financial success