Notes & Coffee: January 23-29

The first week under the new presidential administration has certainly been eventful—to say the least. As President Kruger stated in this month’s NASPA Right Now, our association will remain diligent in continuing “to engage in dialogue and action to create socially just and diverse communities.” We are all experiencing a moment of information overload, and Notes & Coffee will continue to strive to help you cut through the noise by highlighting the trending stories most critical to the student affairs community. If you ever have any feedback, a story to share, or question to ask, feel free to reach out to [email protected]. We hope you enjoy this week’s expanded digest, and find some time this Sunday to take care of yourself. 

HEADLINE: NASPA In The News - ‘Do not step away’ - “WASHINGTON— With uncertainty about how the Trump administration and the new Congress will tackle sexual violence on campuses, college leaders urge institutions to keep up sexual assault prevention efforts. “What we want is a relationship where a campus has a question about how it’s doing something and can get some guidance on that, which ought to be the give-and-take we have,” Kruger said. “That doesn’t happen because of the fears that you’ll be investigated. That fear factor has created a big chasm between our community and OCR.”’

Regaining public trust - “Public trust in colleges and universities is eroding at a time when liberal education is crucial -- and institutions must respond aggressively. That was the current running through several panels here Thursday at the annual meeting at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “A liberal arts education is situated as reserved for those within the ivory tower, reflecting a willful disconnect from the practical matters of everyday life,” said Lynn Pasquerella, president of the AAC&U.”

Affordability, access, fate of undocumented students top higher ed leaders' Trump concerns - “Last November, a group of higher education professionals sat around a small conference room table with a few reporters to discuss the state of the higher education industry. Gathering just nine days after Election Day during the TIAA Institute Higher Education Leadership Conference in New York City, most were visibly concerned about the future under a Donald Trump presidency.”

‘Trans* in College’ - “Trans* in College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion (Stylus) is timely, given that Texas lawmakers are currently pushing a bill that would require public colleges and universities to bar transgender students from using bathrooms that do not reflect their biological gender assigned at birth. Issues of identity are important to transgender people and are expressed in many ways. Some, for example, prefer the term “trans*” (as in the title of the new book) to transgender, as a way to indicate the many identities and views of transgender people, who have a range of experiences and identities."

9 questions with the man who oversaw higher education under Obama - “The president was clear, when he announced the America’s College Promise program, that the U.S. economy—in fact, the global economy—is one in which a high-school education isn't enough, and we need to think as a country about universal publicly funded education extending through the first two years of community college, or the first two years at a historically black college or minority-serving institution. And the crux of that is, in fact, the changing nature of work, the changing nature of the economy. And so our community colleges have a really unique and important role to play." 

The top 10 higher education issues we all agree on - “Last Monday an organization we hold in high regard, the New America Foundation, posted a piece comparing Republicans who defend for-profit colleges to climate change deniers. There are two fundamental problems with this strain of argument. The first is that while there’s only one climate (which is changing), there are thousands of for-profit colleges, some of which remain “predatory,” (the pejorative du jour), and some producing a higher return-on-investment for students than many traditional colleges. The second is that this piece re-fights yesterday’s war.”

Protecting student privacy, or reputation? - “Siding with the University of Kentucky in a lawsuit against its independent student newspaper, a state judge ruled Tuesday that the university does not have to release records related to allegations that a former professor sexually assaulted and harassed students. Victims and their advocates have been split over the case. At first, the students identified in the documents as the professor's alleged targets appeared to side with the newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, arguing through a representative that the public deserved to know how the university handled the dismal of the professor, who was allowed to resign quietly.”

More Notes

University of Michigan president states support for international students

Who is really benefiting from early access to student aid?

3 questions today’s campus leaders should ask

Will alternative credentials replace college degrees? 

More colleges are using free educational resources

Beginning of a movement

NASPA Highlight

Top 10 reasons you should attend the Grad Prep and Communities Fair at #NASPA17 - “There is one event that you should make sure you add to your schedule while attending NASPA17 this year - the Grad Prep and Communities Fair. Now this isn’t a normal fair with pie eating contests and ferris wheels (although believe me, I’ve been trying to get a ferris wheel for years now). It is an event that provides a chance for exploration and networking within NASPA.”