Thursday, October 30, 2014

Your Professor Isn’t a Lazy Luddite

October 30th, 2014

Lucas Matney, a junior at Northwestern University and columnist for the Daily Northwestern, is concerned that his school is not adequately preparing him for the challenges of today. In his experience, he says, “very few” of his professors “have used technology in the classroom in a way that offers a radically changed educational experience.” Instructors like me and my friends, he argues, “need to ponder what a 21st century education really means if they desire the University to maintain relevance as an institution.” Trust me, Lucas, most every professor younger than 75 (and a few older!) has pondered this question a-plenty. In the words of the great rhetorician Ali G: “Techmology … is it good, or is it wack?”
As someone who routinely teaches paperless courses and has made regular use of class wikis, discussion boards, and of course my great nemesis PowerPoint, I still tend toward wack.
I see where concerned students like Matney are coming from, and some of the ideas he presented when I pressed him for specifics in a follow-up email were quite compelling: He suggested videoconferencing with the scholars who write the academic articles he’s assigned, for example. But as someone who has done a lot of work with teaching technology (one of my grad-school pedagogy projects was to develop a bookless second-year German curriculum based on online “modules”), I’ve still come to the conclusion that unless you’re teaching a course actually on technology—digital humanities, computer science, engineering, fascinating-sounding stunt courses at Penn, etc.—what our students could really use is some time unplugged. That professor you think is a lazy Luddite might actually be doing you a favor.

Portland places second in national college contest with $1 million first-place award, wins $10,000 instead

The Oregonian
October 29th, 2014

The national group CEOs for Cities is so convinced that a college-educated population drives regional economic success that it offered a $1 million prize to the U.S. metro area that could produce the biggest increase in college graduates per capita from 2010 to 2013.
Portland entered and came in second among 57 cities vying for the Talent Dividend Prize, contest organizers announced Wednesday. The seven-county Portland area showed a whopping 17.7 percent increase in new college graduates.
But Akron won, showing a 20 percent increase in students earning associates, bachelors and graduate degrees. It gets $1 million. Higher education leaders there are ecstatic.
Portland, for placing second, gets $10,000.

Ebola could be wiped out in five months, OSU researcher's study says

The Oregonian 
October 30th, 2014

The Ebola epidemic could be contained in five months if West African countries adopt a high level of prevention focused on the spread of the virus in hospitals, at funerals and in the community, a new analysis published Thursday says.
"It's pretty hopeful," said Jan Medlock, an epidemiologist and assistant professor in Oregon State University's Department of Biomedical Sciences. "We can control it. The implementation is the tougher question."
The analysis was published Thursday in Science Magazine by Medlock and researchers from the Yale School of Public Health and the Ministry of Health in Liberia. Their analysis looked at ways to prevent the spread of the virus, which is highly infectious and often deadly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oregon's abandonment of higher education: it's criminal (guest opinion)

October 28th, 2014

The Oregon Legislature should be declared a crime scene.
Oregon's state universities are increasingly that in name only. Because of the Legislature's calculated callousness or pure indifference in funding Oregon universities, young people across the state are facing soaring college loan debts and diminished opportunities for higher education.
The state is also sabotaging its goal of ensuring that 40 percent of all adult Oregonians have a bachelor's degree or higher by 2025 and undermining the rationale for the state having a say in the operations of what are still called public universities.
Gov. John Kitzhaber says he deserves to be re-elected because he froze tuition at Oregon colleges.
Sure, for one year.
In June, the state Board of Higher Education approved a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Teaching fellows vote 'yes' to strike if UO doesn't meet demands

October 27th, 2014

Monday marks the beginning of a 30-day "cooling off" period between the federation and the University of Oregon administration.
GTFs, or graduate teaching fellows, are grad students who instruct in undergraduate courses. Federation President Joe Henry said the union is requesting a pay raise and paid leave.
After a vote, GTFF members agreed to go on strike if school administrators don't come up with a plan to meet their demands.
"We do not want to strike,” said Joe Henry, the president of the GTFF, “but we feel that we must if the needs of GTFs aren't met."
Last year, the U of O’s teaching fellows were paid an annual salary between $25,000 and $30,000.
"The numbers stated are based on a 1.0 FTE. Graduate school rules prohibit GTFs from working more than .49," said Thibaud Henin, GTFF Steward. "In practice, many departments pay their GTFs at a 0.2 or 0.4. What this means is that some GTFs make as little as $5,000 per year."

Monday, October 27, 2014

U. of O. graduate teaching fellows threaten strike over pay, unpaid leave

October 27th, 2014

The union for graduate students who help teach undergraduate courses at the University of Oregon is threatening to strike in a dispute with the administration over pay and leave.
Members of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation voted to strike unless there's an agreement. KVAL Television reports Monday is the start of a 30-day cooling off period.
Teaching fellows are paid between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. The union wants a 5.5 percent raise plus medical and parental leave.
The university says no part-time employees on campus receive paid leave. It says it has it has expanded its offer through the bargaining process to address most of the federation's concerns.
Read more here

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two Views on Measure 86: Yes: Make education an achievable goal

Portland Tribune
October 23rd, 2014

It’s no secret that many working families in Oregon are falling behind. We know that for many Oregonians, the key to getting ahead financially is a college degree or skills acquired through vocational and technical training; yet for many, this goal is simply out of reach.
That’s why SEIU Local 503 urges a “yes” vote on Ballot Measure 86.
Measure 86 has three goals: One, make higher education and job training more affordable; two, reduce student debt; and three, encourage the expansion of vocational and technical job training in Oregon.
When it comes to funding higher education, Oregon ranks 47th in the nation. Colleges have responded to dwindling state support by shifting the burden to students and their families. The high cost of tuition means many Oregonians simply cannot afford college.
To make matters worse, access to student aid is scarce. The Oregon Opportunity Grant program is an effective tool for those students who secure a grant, but onl y one out of every five eligible applicants for Oregon Opportunity Grants receives anything at all.

Welcome to 13th Grade!

October 22st, 2014

I did not enjoy high school. Chances are you did not either. So imagine, somewhere midway through your sophomore year, if your parents and teachers casually informed you that you’d now “get” to attend the 13th grade before leaving. If someone had pulled that crap on me in 1992, I would have set my room on fire.
Turns out, however, the 13th grade is not a half-bad idea when that “super senior” year also counts as a free first year of college—as it does in a few rural and exurban school districts in my home state of Oregon. For the students who participate in this optional fifth year, their transition to postsecondary education comes without tuition, but with substantial support and oversight—not only are they required to get periodic progress reports from every professor, every term, but sometimes the very classes they take are housed on that self-same familiar campus.

Measure 86 will boost access to higher education: Guest opinion

October 23rd, 2014

Everyone who wants a chance at higher education should have the opportunity. This November, there's one idea on the ballot with the best chance of ensuring access to higher education and reducing student debt — Measure 86.
As president and CEO of the Oregon State University Foundation, I know how difficult securing necessary resources for higher education can be. I support Measure 86 because when it comes to student financial aid, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach. Measure 86 gives the Legislature additional tools to fund student financial aid for university and community college students, and encourages the expansion of vocational and technical job skills training. 

Controversy surrounds UO speaker

The Register Guard
October 23rd, 2014

A controversial biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, will be in Lane County on Friday and Saturday leading a string of educational and community events centered on the dangers of herbicides.
Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrative biology, is despised and dismissed by some chemical and agribusiness interests. But he’s a favorite of environmental and anti-herbicide activists, in particular for his reasearch on atrazine, a widely used herbicide that Hayes says damages the sexual functions of frogs and causes hermaphroditisim in them. Partly because of the similarities between amphibian and human hormonal systems, Hayes advocates banning the chemical.
Atrazine is used in the United States to kill weeds in crops, mostly in corn, but also in orchards and cotton and rice fields, and on turf, from golf courses to home lawns. About three-quarters of the atrazine used in the United States is on corn crops, mainly in the Midwest. Its use is banned in the 18 nations of the European Union, including Switzerland, where the maker of atrazine, Syngenta AG, is headquartered.
Published reports list atrazine as the second-most widely used herbicide in the United States, after glyphosate, with 76 million pounds used annually.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UO aims high

The Register Guard
October 21st, 2014

When Phil and Penny Knight gave $500 million to the Oregon Health & Science University a year ago, with the provision that OHSU raise an equal amount within two years, supporters of the University of Oregon had to ask themselves a question: Would the UO be able to meet such a challenge? The answer, UO officials believe, is yes, and then some: The UO intends to reach a $2 billion fundraising goal within four years, with $700 million already gathered from donors during the “silent” phase of the campaign.
That leaves $1.3 billion to go by 2018, or $325 million a year, a significant quickening of the current pace of fundraising. It is the largest philanthropic drive ever conducted by an Oregon institution of any kind.
While Knight, co-founder of Nike Inc., and his wife gave part of the $700 million raised so far and may make important contributions during the remainder of the campaign, they were conspicuously absent from Friday’s event announcing the $2 billion goal, underscoring a vital point: The UO is confident that it can count on more than one megadonor to secure a future that is increasingly dependent on private philanthropy.
The UO plans to use the money to increase the number of need-based and merit-based scholarships, add 150 tenure-track faculty positions, expand enrollment in the Robert D. Clark Honors College by 50 percent, underwrite its effort to establish “centers of excellence” in teaching and research, and pay for a number of academic and athletic buildings and facilities. The overarching goal is to kick the UO into a higher gear, as befits its status as a member of the Association of American Universities.

Measure would help students pay tuition

The Register Guard
October 17th, 2014

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler is asking voters to approve a novel way to help the state’s college students carry their ever-increasing load of student debt.
His idea — now on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot as Measure 86 — is to create a state-funded and operated endowment that would spin off interest for scholarships for students.
The measure would be a baby step toward restoring the past practice in which the public, via state government, paid the lion’s share of tuition costs and students borrowed less.
Today, University of Oregon students, through tuition and fees, pay as much as 80 percent of the cost of their education.
Roughly half of UO students leave college with debt — and the average amount is $24,528, according to the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success.
“Students have seen a ridiculous escalation in the price that they’re paying,” Wheeler said. “There’s been a virtual dollar-for-dollar cost shift from the state’s general fund onto the backs of students and their families.
“That means (students) either take on more debt or they work more jobs and take a longer time to graduate or they drop out — or they do a combination.”
The equation is similar at community colleges — and the result is soaring student loan defaults. 

New details of University of Oregon's drive to raise $2 billion in donations

October 20th, 2014

The University of Oregon has set a big goal for itself -- raise $2 billion by 2018 and make sure the money lines up primarily behind scholarships for Oregon students and salaries and facilities for world-class faculty members in just 10 specialties, including  obesity prevention and nanochemistry.
To meet its goal, UO will have to raise twice as much money as any university in Oregon history and and 2.3 times as much as it raised on its last attempt.
It would not come close to national records, however. The University of Michigan is more than $1.7 billion into a $4 billion fundraising drive.
Michael Andreasen, who left a fundraising job at Michigan to become the fundraising vice president at the University of Oregon in 2010, is the brains and orchestrator of the UO's hunt for $2 billion in gifts.
Much of the attention will focus on donors wealthy enough to give at least $1 million, he said. UO officials will work hard to figure out which fundraising priority -- scholarships for low-income Oregon students, making UO an international leader in volcanoes and geothermal energy or restoring the eminence of UO's genetics research, for example -- will excite each potential big donor.

Oregon State's Ed Ray gets 9 percent raise, his first in two years

October 21st, 2014

The Oregon State University Board of Trustees approved a 9 percent pay raise for President Ed Ray.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports that Ray's annual salary goes from just over $485,000 to $528,739.
Board Chairwoman Pat Reser cited Ray's performance in recommending the increase.
Ray has led Oregon State since 2003. It was his first raise in two years.
Roughly 56 percent of the president's salary is paid by the university, with the rest coming from private fundraising.
The independent board of trustees took over supervision of OSU from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education on July 1.
Read more here

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oregon Supreme Court hears PERS arguments

Statesman Journal
October 15th, 2014

One question sat firmly at the heart of Tuesday's Supreme Court arguments over cuts to the Public Employees Retirement System: What does it mean to make a promise?
Must it last forever? Can its terms be altered to accommodate time and circumstance? Is it necessarily a "promise" to simply say something is planned to happen?
The issue at hand was the cost-of-living adjustment provided to PERS retirees. Most retirees had received a 2 percent COLA every year until the Oregon Legislature passed two laws last year that reduced it.
The new COLA is calculated with a series of graduated levels much like inverted tax brackets. Lower income brackets receive a larger increase, and the highest brackets receive a smaller one.
Public employees sued immediately after the bills that created this new law, Senate Bills 822 and 861, were passed in 2013.

Aiming high, University of Oregon announces $2 billion fundraising campaign

October 17th, 2014

The University of Oregon announced late Friday that it plans to raise $2 billion, double the record for fundraising by an Oregon university.
Interim University President Scott Coltrane made the announcement to hundreds of UO partisans gathered under a large tent at Hayward Field on the university's campus. Academic excellence, not athletics, will be the focus of the money-seeking, he and others said.
The ambitious goal is already one-third met, with $700 million raised in the four years of planning before Friday's public unveiling of the goal, Coltrane said.
More than 700 people attended the invitation-only event, an indication that the university intends to cast a wider net for philanthropy than just Phil and Penny Knight. The Knights, by far the most generous gift givers in the history of the university, did not attend the Hayward event, but were mentioned and thanked along with other donors.
The previous UO fundraising campaign, which raised $853 million from more than 90,000 donors, ended in early 2008.

Friday, October 17, 2014

22 States Where Adjunct Faculty Are Organizing for Justice

In These Times
October 17th, 2014

A wave of organizing is sweeping contingent faculty. Below, a list of current campaigns in 22 states and D.C. shows how far and wide this wave has spread.
The new thing is the Metro Strategy, where multiple institutions are targeted at once so a whole regional workforce becomes unionized. This takes advantage of how contingent (also known as adjunct) faculty members typically commute among various campuses, facing equally bad working conditions everywhere they go.
The goal is a master contract for the workforce. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is taking the lead in this, but other unions are stepping up, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Should Oregon borrow millions to endow college scholarships? Voters will weigh in

October 16th, 2014

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler makes an unusually frank and modest case for why voters should approve Measure 86, which would allow the state to borrow money to endow a fund for college financial aid:
Taking on state debt isn't the best way to endow a scholarship fund, since all the debt has to be repaid with interest; directly allocating money from the state budget would pack nearly twice the wallop, Wheeler says.
Even if the fund were to grow as large as $400 million, which would take many years, that wouldn't solve the problems that make college unaffordable for many Oregonians; it would make only a dent, Wheeler acknowledges.
Wheeler calls Oregon's current $50 million a year in college financial aid "anemic" – yet his $400 million scenario would add only $5 million a year out of the gate and grow to average perhaps $25 million a year over the next 35 years.

Measure 86, to create state endowment for college financial aid, trailing in poll

October 16th, 2014

Voters are leaning against Measure 86, which would allow the state to borrow to endow a college scholarship fund, with 41 percent likely to vote "no" and 35 likely to vote "yes," a new poll conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting shows. But a huge proportion, 25 percent, are still undecided, the OPB poll found.
The poll, by DHM Research, reached 516 likely Oregon voters last week. It has a margin of error of about 4 percent. It is the only publicly released poll on how voters regard Measure 86.
John Horvick of DHM said the measure, with 41 percent opposition and a lot of undecided voters, is unlikely to pass. That is because, in the absence of big money to fund an advertising blitz, undecided voters are more likely to turn into "no" voters when it comes time to fill out the ballot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How a Sex-Assault Researcher Persevered Against University Resistance

The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 14th, 2014

The numbers, though not surprising at this point, were still distressing. A survey of nearly 1,000 students at the University of Oregon, released this month, found that 10 percent of women had been raped and more than a third had experienced at least one nonconsensual sexual encounter. Troubling, too, was the finding that nine out of 10 victims never reported their assaults. Such statistics reveal a situation on college campuses that President Obama recently called "an affront to our basic humanity."
The researcher behind that survey is Jennifer J. Freyd, a professor of psychology at Oregon. Ms. Freyd’s work on "betrayal trauma," a term she coined in the early 1990s, has attracted increased interest from policy makers in recent years. She has twice been invited to the White House to take part in discussions about campus sexual assault, and not long ago she met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who has been outspoken about harassment she’s suffered on Capitol Hill.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pressure eases on PERS costs but impact uncertain

Statesman Journal
October 1st, 2014

Local governments are starting to relax when they look at their bills from the Public Employees Retirement System. After five years of steadily climbing costs, PERS is becoming cheaper or at least not much more expensive.
Those costs have made the people who run local governments and school districts squirm and pull out their calculators for half a decade. Every year, PERS became more expensive.
Finally, this year, it didn't, as the PERS board released new employer contribution rates on Friday.
The State of Oregon and Marion County will both pay a little bit more in 2015 but not so much they will have to make cuts or change their plans for next year's budget.
Salem-Keizer School District will save about $6 million, about 3 percent of its payroll costs.

More important to tackle the right question

The Olympian
October 13th, 2014

...We can be better. In some places, we are doing better. Last year, students from Portland State University posited a plan to deal with rising student debt.
Building on the Pay It Forward plan developed by John Burbank of Seattle’s Economic Opportunity Institute, PSU students proposed that tuition and fees to public universities be eliminated as up-front costs. Instead, graduates would pay back the cost of both with a percentage of their salary over a period of time.
Students presented their plan to legislators, and in July 2013, HB 3472 passed, charging the Oregon Higher Education Commission to consider the creation of a Pay Forward, Pay Back pilot program. Approval is being sought now to test a revised version of the proposal in 2015.
A guaranteed minimum income provides a floor — access to education gives people the opportunity to reach higher. Not only that, access to a quality education is the primary means we have to prevent the solidification of an elite class, what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “an unnatural aristocracy.”

What is wrong with Oregon's education system?

October 13th, 2014

Oregon has much to recommend it as a living destination: communities of socially and environmentally conscious residents; easy access to a multitude of outdoors activities from mountaintop to ocean; rich tech and creative services industries; an affordable cost of living; and hip, progressive metro areas lauded around the nation.
But the quality of its primary education is not something to boast about.
In the past year alone, The Oregonian's Betsy Hammond has written plenty about Oregon's lacking academic climate. Scores and studies have repeatedly pointed to the state's education deficiencies, from test results to achievement rankings, from bureaucratic self-examination to inefficient rural district spending and abysmal absenteeism.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Higher Ed on the Ballot

Inside Higher Ed
October 10th, 2014

Education may be a key issue in several states’ elections this fall, but referendums related to higher education are thin this political season.
There are significant proposals in North Dakota, Oregon and Georgia, but the other five ballot measures that are tied directly to colleges and universities would have relatively minor effects.
Two of this year’s biggest potential changes for higher education were placed on state ballots by largely one-party efforts, a reflection of today’s strongly partisan politics. In North Dakota, not a single Democrat in the House or the Senate voted for a proposal to change the composition of the board that oversees the state’s university system. And in Oregon, nearly every “nay” on a proposal to create a state endowment for financial aid came from the Republican side of the aisle.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Measure 86 would create college fund for Oregon students

Statesman Journal
October 8th, 2014

Oregon high school students could have access to a source of money to pay for college if voters pass Measure 86, known as the Oregon Opportunity Initiative.
It's one of seven measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.
However, critics say the plan could leave taxpayers with a large bill and it does not address the underlying problem of college affordability.
The measure is simple. It would require the Oregon Legislature to create a fund dedicated to providing financial aid to Oregon students who are going to college or enrolled in technical training programs. The fund would be invested, and the earnings would be used to provide the financial aid.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pay It Forward pilot program recommended to 2015 Oregon Legislature

PSU Vangard
October 6th, 2014

The Pay It Forward program was concieved as an alternative method to paying for college tuition. On Sept. 11, The Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously voted to recommend a Pay It Forward pilot program to the 2015 Oregon Legislature.
The program proposes an alternative to the rising cost of in-state tuition for students of Oregon’s universities and community colleges.
Rather than paying tuition in full each year, students would forego all or some of their tuition costs in return for the payment of approximately two to four percent of their income for the next 20 years after graduation, depending on whether they attend a community college or university.
From course to courts
The Pay It Forward program was introduced to Portland State through the capstone course Student Debt: Economics, Policy and Advocacy, led by professors Barbara Dudley and Mary C. King. The capstone focused on finding solutions to debt accumulated through higher education.
“We spent the first half of the capstone talking about different legislations and ideas we had about alleviating student debt. Our community partner the Working Families Party brought us the Pay It Forward proposal from the Economic Opportunity Institute up in Seattle,” said Kevin Rackham, a student who enrolled in the course as a sophomore.

Monday, October 6, 2014

David Sarasohn: Helping Oregonians afford college, avoid debt

October 4th, 2014

The truly discouraging thing may not be that a large proportion of Oregon college graduates have knee-buckling levels of debt, narrowing their life options, limiting their ability to fuel the economy, buy a house or even get married and have children.
The truly discouraging thing is that they may be the lucky ones.
The situation can be even worse for young people scared by sticker shock away from even imagining higher education, or for the growing number in the worst-of-both-worlds situation of taking on debt, but with their resources giving out before they actually get a degree.
Or for the people trying to build an economic future for Oregon with a clogged pipeline of young Oregonians educated for the 21st century.

Higher ed endowment: Yes

Register Guard
October 4th, 2014

When state Treasurer Ted Wheeler first began talking about selling bonds to fund an endowment to help students pay the cost of college and career training, he was looking 30 years into the future, when Oregon could have a $6 billion asset that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for scholarships. Measure 86 on the Nov. 4 ballot would create the legal framework for that vision, but nothing else — any financial commitment would be up to the Legislature. A vote for Measure 86, however, would signal to lawmakers that Oregonians support higher education, value long-term thinking and would rather invest than spend.

Friday, October 3, 2014

1 in 10 Female Students at U. of Oregon Has Been Raped, Study Finds

The Chronicle of Higher Educaion
October 3rd, 2014

One in 10 female students at the University of Oregon say they have been raped in college, The Oregonian reports. That is just one statistic from a new study conducted by a psychology professor at the university. Among the other findings, drawn from the preliminary results:
  • Of the 982 respondents to a survey, 35 percent of the female students said they had had at least one sexual encounter without giving consent. Among men, that number was 14 percent.
  • Among those who reported having nonconsensual sex, 73 percent said they knew the perpetrator.
  • Just one in seven victims of rape said they had reported the crime to the university’s administration.
The survey cost the university $20,000, which was used to pay the participants. The professor who conducted the study, Jennifer Freyd, initially had her request for funding denied, as the university said Ms. Freyd’s criticism of the administration might affect the results. Ms. Freyd disputed that claim.

Sen. Merkley discusses college affordability in Salem

Statesman Journal 
October 3rd, 2014

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley discussed his plans for affordable college education, but avoided discussion about this year's election, during a visit to Salem Thursday morning.
Merkley stopped by Chemeteka Community College as part of his "Fighting for College Affordability Tour," a two-day campaign at local colleges that began Wednesday in Central Oregon.
His visit to Salem coincides with a campaign event from his Republican challenger Dr. Monica Wehby, who is hosting Sen. John McCain in downtown Salem Thursday afternoon.

Merkley hears students about college costs

Portland Tribune
October 2nd, 2014

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley toured several Oregon campuses to hear students talk about the high cost of college — and to promote his proposals to help them.
“The stories vary a great deal,” Merkley said Thursday after meeting about 30 students at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.
“But what they have in common is that the process of going to college has become a financial gauntlet, with students stressing over each moment. This (higher education) is critical to the path of opportunity for every child to be able to thrive in America.”
He ended his five-city tour with a rally at Portland State University. Other stops were at the University of Oregon and the Oregon State University campuses in Corvallis and Bend.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Student loan defaults put Oregon community colleges in harm's way

September 30th, 2014

They're breathing a sigh of relief at Klamath Community College.
The Klamath Falls institution escaped by the narrowest margin possible fatal sanctions by the U.S. Department of Education after the Oregon college managed to reduce its student loan default rate to 29.4 percent.
If Klamath had suffered a third consecutive year with student defaults in excess of 30 percent, it faced possible expulsion from the federal student loan program. "If that had happened, we're done, we close our doors," said Klamath President Roberto Gutierrez.

Steve Duin: Researchers say 1 in 10 female students at University of Oregon indicate they have been raped at college

September 30th, 2014

One in 10 current female students at the University of Oregon indicate they have been raped while attending college, according to a new survey of 982 students released Tuesday by Jennifer Freyd, a professor in the UO's Department of Psychology.
Equally alarming, only 14 percent of the rape victims -- one in seven -- say they reported the assault to university officials.
The on-line survey on sexual violence -- conducted in late summer by Freyd and doctoral students Marina N. Rosenthal and Carly Parnitzke Smith -- was one that university administrators went out of their way to discourage.
The university initially rejected Freyd's request for funding, with Robin Holmes, vice president for student affairs, citing her concerns that the survey might produce "confirmation bias in the results," owing to Freyd's ongoing dismay with UO's sexual violence policies.
In a letter to Randy Geller, then UO's general counsel, Freyd called those comments "false, malicious, harmful and seemingly retaliatory."
The administration -- which has convened its own sexual-violence task force -- eventually backed off.  Funding for the $20,000 survey -- all of which was used to compensate participants -- was provided by the university's Center for the Study of Women in Society and private donations.