Notes & Coffee: June 5-11

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.

Civil rights slow walk? - “When students file a complaint that their institution mishandled or ignored claims of sexual assault or harassment, they can often expect to wait years for a resolution from the Department of Education. Those delays frustrate not only those bringing the complaints but colleges that remain under prolonged investigation as well. As of last year, the backlog of federal Title IX investigations into mishandling of sexual assault or harassment allegations by colleges and universities exceeded 300 cases. By the time of Trump's election, 216 open investigations remained of sexual assault cases alone.”

Where to turn when you are the first in your family to go to college? - “Aspire, Access and Rutgers Future Scholars are among a relatively small number of programs nationwide that target low-income, first-generation students. While the programs may be beneficial to the students they can accommodate, they do not meet the demand nationwide. The college preparation, application and acclimation process can be intimidating for any student, Mr. Nichols said, “but when you’re the first one in your family to ever step foot on a college campus, it’s even tougher.’”

The downside to career and technical education - “What’s one education topic that Betsy DeVos, Randi Weingarten, Donald Trump, and Al Franken all support? It’s actually career and technical education—something they’ve all said America’s schools need in order to better prepare graduates for the economy. President Trump even praised Germany’s approach to vocational education recently. Trump’s budget actually cuts CTE funding, but, at least in theory, there’s wide support across the ideological spectrum for helping more students learn career-specific skills in high school. Yet new international research points to a significant downside of such programs: Students may benefit early in their careers, but are harmed later in life as the economy changes and they lack the general skills necessary to adapt.”

At different paces - “Academe nationwide has started identifying small ways to create campuses more welcoming for transgender students as they emerge as a more visible presence and voice their expectations. But colleges and universities do not all keep to the same pace, depending on support from administrators and the size and will of staff to move on some of these issues. At the annual meeting of campus health professionals here, discussion Friday centered on how to bring simple changes to campuses -- regardless of area political leanings -- that would ensure more inclusivity for transgender students.”

Crisis in Qatar - “The decision by five Arab nations to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar and in some cases recall their citizens will have implications for branch campuses of foreign universities based there. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen all said Monday they were cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, and all of those countries except Egypt have ordered their citizens to leave Qatar, as The New York Times reported -- raising questions of whether students from those countries enrolled in Qatar's foreign branch campuses will have their degree studies interrupted, and of whether Qatar's prized image as a relatively stable and secure destination for study and research in the Middle East could be under threat.” 

More Notes

Senators say they are fighting to protect Pell

GOP skeptical of Trump budget

With innovation, colleges fill the skills gap  

Senators take DeVos to task over proposed budget

Bandaid solutions cannot be the long-term fix: Addressing public higher ed’s budgetary challenges