NASPA Priorities for HEA Reauthorization
While there is much to celebrate in our national landscape of colleges and universities, years of state disinvestment and the diminishing purchasing power of federal grant programs have resulted in noticeable signs of wear. Our federal policy has failed to keep up with today’s more diverse student body, including many adults shouldering responsibility for not only their own education, but also that of their children, resulting in a system of financial aid and regulations that are ill-suited to meeting the needs of either today’s students or the American taxpayer. The reauthorization of Higher Education Act (HEA) presents an opportunity to correct that course and fulfill both the promise and the responsibility of the federal government to today’s students. In this post, NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds provides background on HEA and identifies priorities for NASPA in reauthorization.
Budget Priorities in Tight Times: Who Will Take Care of Infrastructure?
When the media learned about a large-scale enhancement to the student experience in the form of a lazy river, it became yet another example of misplaced priorities of the elite university in the view of the public. Headlines like this get blamed for reasons why states are spending less on higher education, for fear the dollars will be wasted. What isn’t making headlines is the state of need for the unexciting projects: the roofs, the HVAC systems, the inaccessible buildings to those in wheelchairs, and the rest of the behind-the -scenes infrastructure issues for institutions of higher education. Older buildings weren’t built to be ADA accessible, to have sprinkler systems, or central heating and air conditioning, so we renovate our buildings to provide modern upgrades when we have the resources. In warmer states, we spend a lot of effort keeping our buildings cool in the heat; in colder states, we do the opposite to fend off the cold. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Associate Vice President for Operations Jeanna Mastrodicasa breaks down the issue in this post for NASPA's Public Policy Division.
Untangling the Threads: 2018 State Legislation Addressing Campus Speech Concerns
Last week's decision by NFL owners to exact penalties on players and teams who choose to kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem is just the most recent in a long history of concerns around speech and protest - who gets to speak on which topics when and how - in our country. A number of high-profile incidents involving controversial speakers on college campuses in recent years has focused the attention of lawmakers on the idea of a crisis of free speech in higher education. The fact that public institutions of higher education are considered government actors held to the strictures of the First Amendment complicates matters, though there are many threads to the conversations around threats to speech on college campuses and not all of them apply to constitutional rights. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy, Teri Lyn Hinds, reviews some of those threads and provide examples from some of the nearly 50 pieces of legislation in 30 states that has been introduced or considered in 2018 relating to campus speech.
Threats to the One-person, One-vote Principle: Gerrymandering & the 2020 US Census
Though not articulated until the 1960s, the one-person, one-vote principle is considered foundational to our representative democracy, echoing in the minds of many the desire of the founding fathers to create a nation “of the people, by the people, for the people”. With the 2020 Census looming, and subsequent mandatory redistricting in all states with more than one congressional district, concerns around ensuring both a complete and accurate census and fair and balanced electoral districts are rising. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds explains the relationship between the decennial census and the redistricting process and highlight current threats to ensuring fair representation for everyone in the United States.
From the Great Butter Rebellion to Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of Student Advocacy Movements
Since the early days of Harvard, college students have been advocating for their needs. The creation of collective consciousness between student peer groups has gone through several iterations. As student affairs practitioners, it is important to know the history of student advocacy, so we can continue to build a civic ethos on our campus to help students take part in advocating for their own beliefs.
Grassroots Mobilization & Associational Influence: Observations from the Oklahoma Teacher Walk-Out
A tidal wave of protest and discontent has been sweeping across many states in recent months, swelling up in school districts and spilling out on state capitol grounds, flooding the halls of government. Frustrated with stagnant and insufficient salaries, and discouraged by flat or reduced school funding, teachers have been mobilizing and making their voices heard. State lawmakers have taken note. Teachers’ demands are being met with legislation to increase funding and/or salaries, and while wish lists might not be completely satisfied, great progress has been made in several states with respect to increasing the prospects of better-funded public K-12 education. Dr. Brent Marsh, the Small Colleges and Universities Division Representative to NASPA's Public Policy Division shares observations and lessons from the field from his perspective in a small, rural community during the Oklahoma Teacher Walk-Out.