Today in academia: UC Davis is paying for pepper spray bills, the latest undercover for-profit investigation, the Long Island cheating ring balloons, and the snack professor is forced to go to class even if snacks aren't present.
A few days later, UC Davis is dropping misdemeanor charges against pepper sprayed students. And, importantly, the university will also be paying for any medical expenses of the seated protesters who were the subject of the now infamous video of officer John Pike clinically pepper spraying them, CNN reports. Of the incident, one of the students remarked that being sprayed "felt like hot glass was entering my eyes." So now, it appears, the university is recognizing the severity of what everyone viewed on YouTube over the weekend: in the past few days the officers involved were put on leave, the chancellor has publicly apologized, and the president of the school has launched an independent inquiry. [CNN]
The Long Island SAT cheating scandal still ballooning. A cautionary tale is starting to look more like an epidemic. What appeared to begin with an arrest of an Emory college student who was charging thousands of dollars to take standardized tests for high school students has now widened. In today's paper, The New York Times ups the number of students in the ongoing investigation who face criminal charges is up to 20. The attorney for the college student, Sam Eshaghoff, who was arrested in September is arguing that he shouldn't face criminal charges and it should be left up to the schools and College Board to decide. But considering that the incident didn't appear isolated, it's unclear how that argument will go over. The Times also sheds light on how well Eshaghoff allegedly did on the tests: he was said to have been paid "up to $3,500 per test for scores ranking as high as the 97th percentile." [The New York Times]
Professor who wouldn't come to class without snacks now forced to have a snack-less classroom. A little over a week ago we noted an odd story that the Sacramento Bee reported of a psychology professor at Sacramento State who walked out of his own class because a student violated his long-standing rule that (healthy) snacks be served. His handout made that clear: "Not having a snack = no Dr. Parrott or TAs." Unfortunately, the school he works for disagreed. "He's been told by the dean not to repeat the behavior," said the university spokesperson to the Bee today. Hunger, be darned. [Sacramento Bee via HuffPost]
The Government Accountability Office goes undercover at for-profit colleges. A newly public GAO report where government agents posed as students "found that staff at six of the 12 colleges that enrolled the investigators tolerated plagiarism or awarded credit for incomplete or shoddy work." Though some of the complaints in the Chronicle of Higher Education's write-up of the report appear to be universal (the undercover agents skipped class, plagiarized, but still got credit for courses), the conclusions seem to echo another undercover investigation which Harper's magazine published in October. At the time, Christopher R. Beha wrote extensively of the University of Phoenix's remedial classes and the school's sometimes outrageously cutthroat recruiting practices. [Chronicle of Higher Education]
Florida A&M will be doing some soul-searching (and investigating) about possible hazing. In a tragic story where details still appear thin, Florida A&M university suspended its band performances after the post-game death of a drummer Robert Champion, who "was found unresponsive on a bus parked in front of an Orlando hotel," Fox News wrote. Many news write-ups mention that authorities have linked hazing as a possible cause of Champion's death. CNN, however, notes that FAMU President James Ammons acknowledged that hazing has been a problem this year: "Asked whether it is accurate that at least 30 band members were let go this semester because of possible involvement in hazing, he said, 'That is true.'" [CNN]