Notes & Coffee: July 17-23

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.

Obama under secretary is ACE’s next president – The next leader of the American Council on Education will be Ted Mitchell, who in January wrapped up an eventful and influential stint as the top higher education official in the Obama administration’s Education Department. The industry’s chief lobbying organization said this week that Mitchell will replace Molly Broad, ACE's first woman leader, who will retire in October after a nine-year tenure. 

Trigger warnings ahead – Discussions about trigger warnings now almost need trigger warnings, they’ve become so divisive. A new volume by an initially skeptical academic doesn’t settle the great trigger warning debate, but it does attempt to bring history, theory and context to it (titularly and otherwise). 

House committee passes funding bill - The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed along party lines a broad-ranging fiscal year 2018 funding bill that mirrors what its education and labor panel passed last week. The big cuts for programs affecting community colleges would include slashing $3.3 billion from the Pell Grant surplus, $86 million from job training programs and $95 million from the apprenticeship program. 

Reaching refugees - Southern New Hampshire University has received $10 million from anonymous donors to expand its refugee education initiative, which it has piloted in the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda. The university, which is known for its online programs and its competency-based degrees, says the $10 million in funding will allow it to begin programming for refugees at four additional sites, including in Kenya, Lebanon and two additional locations to be determined. The university hopes ultimately to secure funding from the same group of donors to allow it to educate up to 50,000 refugees a year at 20 sites by 2022.

Veterans groups’ objective: defend educational protections – After hearing that the Trump Administration is taking action to decrease students’ rights and protections, 33 veterans and military service organizations have been voicing their concerns of how badly these actions will harm veterans and their families. Included among the organizations are Veterans for Common Sense, Student Veterans of America, The American Legion and Blue Star Families. Individual military veterans are also weighing in on the matter. 

Worse than it seems – Like many debates about higher education, those about sexual harassment are often based on anecdotes and opinion. To some, male professors in particular are victims in waiting of the PC police anxious to punish a stray comment. To others, faculty harassers are finally being held accountable for sexually predatory behavior toward vulnerable students. “A Systematic Look at a Serial Problem: Sexual Harassment of Students by University Faculty” seeks to cut through the noise with data, analyzing nearly 300 faculty-student harassment cases for commonalities.

Policy Update for the Week of July 10, 2017

Campus Carry: 2017 State Legislation Round-Up

By Teri Lyn Hinds, July 13, 2017

While many constitutional freedoms typically wax and wane in the public spotlight, the Second Amendment has been a perpetual area of state legislative action for a number of years. Due to a strong pro-gun lobby and greater visibility and media attention paid to incidents of gun violence, legislation designed both to restrict the availability of guns and to remove restrictions appears nearly every year in statehouses across the country. While groups on both sides of the debate claim victories, the sheer volume of legislation considered each year and the wide variety of actions sought can be overwhelming. Using NASPA’s January 2016 report with the Education Commission of the States as background, NASPA Director of Policy Research and Advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds, provides an overview of the legislation specifically related to the ability or prohibition of carrying a firearm onto campus, commonly called campus carry.


New Report Examines Year-Round Pell Effects on 2-Year Students

By Ashley A. Smith, July 12, 2017

A study by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College at Columbia University found that both enrollment and completion rates are positively correlated with the implementation of year-round Pell. According to the study $1,000 of year-round Pell funding increases the likelihood of summer enrollment by 27 percentage points and associate degree completion by  In the 2017 fiscal year, University of California Berkeley accrued $894,000 on protest 2.2 percentage points.

Back To The Starting Line On Regulating For-Profit Colleges

By Anya Kamenetz, July 12, 2017

Two public hearings on the negotiated rulemaking of “gainful employment” and “borrower defense to repayment” have resulted in differing opinions on how the regulations should be revamped.  While the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, for example, notes that “Gainful employment is meant to prevent future predatory behavior,” the American Association of Cosmetology Schools has stipulated that since graduates are paid in tips, gainful employment doesn’t reflect the actual value of the program.

Advocacy groups react after Title IX summit with Betsy DeVos        

By Kyler Sumter, July 14, 2017

This past week Betsy DeVos met with the advocacy groups and survivors of sexual assault, men’s rights groups and students falsely accused of sexual assault, and university administrators and Title IX coordinators. The Title IX summit focused on how sexual violence investigations are currently being handled and how they should proceed in the new administration. While many stories of sexual assault were shared, advocacy groups are unsure about the future for Title IX.

GOP Education Budget Ignores Trump and DeVos' Proposed School Choice Plans

By Joel Stice, July 14, 2017

The GOP has released an education budget that greatly varies from the Trump administration budget proposal. Therein the Education Department would experience cuts of $2.4 billion as opposed to the proposed $9.2 billion in Trump’s budget. While Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has strongly advocated for Trump’s budget, she was met with harsh criticism during last month’s testimony before a Senate appropriations subcommittee.

The Republican healthcare bill is on the edge of failure and its future is up in the air

By Bob Bryan, July 17, 2017

The newly proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) may be facing imminent failure after two GOP policymakers Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins have publicly announced they will not support the bill. The vote for the bill has been unexpectedly delayed a week due to Sen. John McCain’s recent surgery, which may or may not support its passage. The delay may give the public more time to oppose the bill, but moderate Republicans may also be swayed in either direction. For example, Sen. Ron Johnson who originally came out against the BCRA is not in support of the revised version of the bill.  


State Summaries

Bathroom Bills:

In the past few weeks we have seen a rising debate in Texas through the anticipated re-introduction of anti-trans legislation in the July Special Session. Special Session is scheduled to start on July 18 and bills TX HR 46 and TX HR 50 have been filed. These bills mimic failed legislation HB 2899, a slightly more lenient form of the original TX SB 6 Bathroom Bill. In the past few months other states have retreated from the conversation. So far, 16 states have introduced bathroom bills during the 2017-2018 state legislative sessions. Legislation has failed in AL, AR, KY, MT, SD, VA, and WY.  WA HB 1011 was reintroduced through a resolution and retained in present status on 06/21/2017.

Sanctuary Campuses:

In the past few months, we have seen 11 states consider 18 pieces of anti-sanctuary legislation that would affect college campuses. 6 states have introduced (pro) sanctuary legislation that extends to college campuses. Of this legislation, 9 pieces have failed, and 15 are pending, and 4 have been enacted. PA HB 14 was removed from the table on 06/22/2017. CA SB 54, a statewide sanctuary bill is in Assembly and was amended and passed the Committee on Judiciary and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriation on 07/10/2017.

Guns on Campus:

Upwards of 17 states are considering legislation concerning guns on campus during the current session. In the 40 pieces of legislation the Policy and Advocacy Team is tracking, 16 bills are pending, 20 have failed, and 4 have been enacted, in AR, GA, and OK. GA HB 280 went into effect on 07/01/2017. CA AB 424 was ordered to a second reading by the Committee on Appropriations on 07/10/2017.  

Federal Summaries

H.R.3218 - To amend title 38, United States Code, to make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

-Primary Sponsor: Rep. David Roe (R-TN) (Introduced 07/13/2017)

-Committees: House-Veterans’ Affairs; Armed Services

-Latest Action: 07/13/2017 Referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

More Notes

Correcting Jeff Sessions

Republicans skeptical of colleges’ impact on U.S., but most see benefits for workforce preparation

As paperwork goes missing, private student loan debt may be wiped away

Opinion: Cuts to campus childcare derail low-income, 1st-generation college students

Experts: so far, DeVos’ steps headed backward