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Beyond the News

A new documentary is sparking calls for reform on campuses across the country for humanizing a topic that is too often conveyed in the media as a set of statistics.

The Hunting Ground features interviews with numerous campus sexual assault survivors who tell of their frustration with getting justice from a system that often protects perpetrators.

Students at UC San Diego walked out in solidarity with adjuncts at the university.

Faculty and students who demonstrated during the first National Adjunct Walkout Day on Feb. 25 aimed to raise awareness about the working conditions faced by part-time instructors. Despite the day’s title, walkouts were not only discouraged by many unions, but illegal in some states.

University of Maryland and the University of Minnesota have eliminated race from some suspect descriptions in crime alerts.

Race has been eliminated from some suspect descriptions included in crime alerts sent out by two major public universities.

University of Maryland and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities made the change after minorities on campus raised concerns about profiling. Police agreed that descriptions limited to race did little to help track down suspects.

A preferred gender pronoun can be selected by University of Vermont students.

The University of Vermont allows its students to identify their own gender around campus, even if it’s no gender at all.

Though the policy has existed for nearly five years, it wasn’t until a February New York Times article that UVM received significant attention, says Dot Brauer, director of the LGBTQA Center@UVM.

“Nothing prepared us for this level of excitement,” says Brauer, who received several requests for interviews and advice from other higher ed institutions. “The feedback has been nothing but positive and encouraging.”

Fifteen California community colleges received initial approval in January to offer four-year degrees in a limited number of specialties as soon as next year.

If approved, the plan could—at a fraction of the cost of four-year schools—produce thousands of new workers in a state that needs more employees in areas such as healthcare and the automotive industries.

Infinity Hall at the University of Florida is billed as the nation’s first entrepreneurial-based academic residential community.

Infinity Hall at the University of Florida

This $15.9 million residence hall—billed as the nation’s first entrepreneurial-based academic residential community—is being privately developed by Signet Development (Jacksonville, Fla.) in partnership with the university’s Department of Housing and Residence Education.

Its 90,000 square feet will include four floors of suites, team meeting rooms, an entertainment room, flexible spaces to support the school’s entrepreneurship programs, a resident apartment and a maintenance shop.

Dartmouth College has launched a new campaign to combat harmful student behavior, including sexual assault and high-risk drinking.

Under the “Moving Dartmouth Forward” plan, the Ivy League school will no longer serve hard alcohol (30 proof or higher) on campus and will increase penalties for underage students found in possession of hard alcohol. Also in the works:

College and university presidents had nearly 600 op-ed pieces published in print and online in 2014, according to a report.

There were big-picture pieces on race relations, immigration, climate change, incarceration, veterans, gender issues and the proliferation of firearms.

And there were hot-button campus issues such as sexual assaults, alcohol, college access, free speech, college cost and debt, emotionally unstable students, and abuses in sports programs.

A December 2014 measles outbreak, which began in California’s Disneyland and has now spread to 14 states, brought national attention to the University of California system’s policy that requires vaccination only against hepatitis B

Recent campus outbreaks of easily spread but preventable diseases have forced administrators across the nation to review their institutions’ immunization policies.

Immunization policy on potentially deadly illnesses—including measles, meningitis, rubella and mumps—has a rather dense structure that varies by state (and often, by university or system). And these policies are becoming ever more important to clarify, define and enforce on campus.

The latest NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments shows college increasing spending from their endowments. (Click to enlarge)

U.S. colleges and universities last year paid for operations with bigger chunks of their endowments to compensate for declines in key sources of revenue, particularly tuition and public funding.

The good news is that the average rate of return rose for the second straight year, from 11.7 percent in FY2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014, according to the “NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments,” released in January.

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