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Presidents/Chancellors in the News

In a message to the Texas community, President Fenves announced the termination of Men’s Tennis Head Coach Michael Center after criminal charges were filed against him as part of a FBI investigation into bribery and admissions fraud. According to Fenves, the university will conduct a "thorough review" of the alleged 2015 fraud involving Center to ensure UT has rules and procedures in place to prevent future violations. Fenves: "The integrity of UT admissions is essential to our mission as a research university and to the students and families we serve. That is why any act of wrongdoing, no matter how singular, matters so deeply. At UT, tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff members, coaches and admissions officers conduct themselves with honor and distinction every day. Any ethical breach overshadows their accomplishments and violates our culture of service and distinction." (link); Center is being charged as part of the FBI investigation along with approximately 50 other people, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. The scheme was facilitated by California businessman William Singer, who collected $25M from parents to get their children into elite colleges such as UT, Yale, Stanford, and USC by cheating on standardized tests and paying coaches and officials to designate students as recruited athletes. Center's involvement includes a 2015 tennis recruit, who was awarded a partial scholarship in exchange for more than $90K. Upon enrolling at UT, the student voluntarily withdrew from the team and renounced his scholarship, but remained at the university. UT spokesman J.B. Bird: “We are cooperating fully with the investigation. Integrity in admissions is vital to the academic and ethical standards of our university." (link, link, link)

Former Baylor President Starr hosted a fundraiser to raise money for former football student-athlete Shawn Oakman's legal defense fund as Oakman faced sexual assault charges related to a 2016 incident. The fundraiser, held at Starr's residence, occurred before Oakman's first two attorneys withdrew from the case and the funds raised were used to pay an investigator, two expert witness, and a consulting expert for Oakman's trial. A jury in Waco's 19th State District Court acquitted Oakman last month. Starr: “I believe fervently in the right of all defendants to have a fair trial. In our country’s system of justice, far too many innocent individuals are wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit.” (link)

Kansas Chancellor Girod paid tribute to the passing of Wichita State President John Bardo, extending condolences to the WSU family and Kansas higher education community. Girod: "John was a visionary leader, a valued colleague and, most importantly, a good person who cared deeply about Wichita State University and higher education. There’s no question that WSU, Wichita and the entire state are better off because of John." (link)

In a memo to faculty and staff, Texas Tech President Schovanec reminded employees to participate in the Chronicle of Higher Education's "Great Colleges to Work For" survey, an annual assessment that was sent to 600 randomly selected faculty and staff. Schovanec: "In 2015, the university was recognized as one of the nation’s 'Great Colleges to Work For,' based on survey feedback. That was made possible by the overwhelming response of our faculty and staff and provided a tremendous point of pride to be recognized alongside several of the nation's great institutions of higher learning." (link); In a separate memo to the university community, Schovanec reminded students, faculty, and staff of the support services and resources available for community members who have experienced sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault. Schovanec: "There is no higher priority of Texas Tech University than the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Beyond the services and programs in place, every member of the university community should know that we care deeply about their well-being." (link)

And finally, Texas Tech President Schovanec appeared on “KFYO Mornings with Dave King and Matt Martin” this week, where he praised Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Beard for the program's success and congratulated other Red Raider programs for victories on the track, court, and field. Schovanec also discussed his $13M legislative request for the university's proposed veterinary school in Amarillo, including his recent testimony before the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee, and disputed claims that the school would compete with Texas A&M's veterinary college. Schovanec: "This is not about us vs. another school. This is about what's best for an important industry in West Texas, and the state, and also about making sure that students in Texas who want to pursue a career in veterinary medicine have a better chance of doing that without going out of state and incurring greater debt." (link)
Institutional Leadership

Jennifer Hamer, vice provost of diversity and equity at Kansas, will leave the position to become associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development at Penn State, effective July 1. The appointment includes a faculty position in PSU's Department of African American Studies. (link)

The Oklahoma Board of Regents has elected Regent Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes to serve as chairman and Regent C. Renzi Stone to serve as vice chairman. Rainbolt-Forbes is an alum of the OU College of Medicine and was originally appointed to the board in 2006, while Stone was appointed in 2015 and is chairman and CEO of Saxum, an integrated marketing communications agency. (link)
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Money, Money, Money

Texas Professor Emeritus Sinclair Black has made a $4M commitment to the School of Architecture to support the field of urban design. Black, who was a faculty member for 50 years, previously gave a $1M gift upon his retirement in 2017. The $4M gift will support partnerships between the school and City of Austin, provide funding for faculty with expertise in urban design, sponsor visiting lecturers and outreach events, and recruit graduate students to the department. (link)

Oklahoma President Gallogly reported updated financial figures during the OU Board of Regents meeting this week, highlighting the university's growing financial health through the recently-implemented savings action plan. According to Gallogly, cash flow at both the Norman and OU Health Sciences Center campuses have improved and philanthropic giving has progressed to put the university on track to match previous fundraising years. Gallogly: “As a result of about $33 million in annual savings ideas identified to date, we are turning the corner. Negative numbers on the Norman campus are now positive. Our cash position has finally shown an improvement from $152 million to $177 million, an increase of $25 million. ... We also continue to make progress with fundraising; $55.6 million in new and conditional pledges, in addition to cash gifts which total more than $68.5 million." (link)
Local/State Government

The Kansas Higher Education Subcommittee will consider a recommendation to add $5M to a proposed $13M higher education funding plan as well as a $33M omnibus bill that will be subject to how much revenue the state receives this spring. The original funding plan includes $9M for general higher education funding and $4M for Kansas State's global food systems program. (link)
Academic Updates

U.S. News & World Report released its 2020 Best Graduate School rankings for business, law, medical research, engineering, nursing, and education. (link); Big 12 schools included in the updated rankings include: Baylor, ranked No. 57 among business schools, No. 48 among law schools, and No. 42 for its online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation (link); Iowa State, ranked No. 47 among business schools, No. 41 among engineering schools, and No. 78 among education schools (link); Kansas, ranked No. 67 among law schools, No. 67 among best medical schools for research, and No. 95 for best engineering schools (link); Kansas State, ranked No. 111 among best engineering schools and No. 118 for best education schools; Oklahoma, ranked No. 58 among business schools, No. 71 for best law schools, and No. 77 for best nursing schools; Oklahoma State, ranked No. 73 among business schools, No. 106 for best engineering schools, and No. 105 for best education schools; Texas, ranked No. 19 among business schools, No. 16 for law schools, No. 11 for engineering schools, and No. 13 for education schools (link); Texas Tech, ranked No. 90 among medical schools for research, No. 93 for engineering, and No. 87 among nursing schools (link); TCU, ranked No. 61 among business schools and No. 105 for education; and West Virginia, ranked No. 93 among education schools, No. 84 among medical schools for research, and No. 100 for law schools. (link)
Enrollment/Admissions/Retention

According to research by Kansas doctoral student Bryon Keefe Williams, current college recruitment strategies fail to take into account specific family, school, and community contexts for African-American students. Specific barriers include a lack of knowledge and experience with the college admissions process among parents and families of first-generation students, policies such as Common Core Standards that aren't implemented with state support, and a lack of standardization in the financial aid application process across institutions. (link)
What's Going on Around Campus?

Three Kansas fraternity brothers on spring break at a beach in Destin, Florida rescued a boy swept away from the shore by a current. The boy was successfully returned to his parents unharmed. (link)

SeekingArrangement.com has ranked West Virginia No. 11 on its list of the "Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools." The rankings track the number of women who receive financial benefits in exchange for a relationship with a "sugar daddy." WVU is currently home to 550 students active on seeking.com. (link)
Legal

Former Kansas Football Head Coach David Beaty has sued the university to the tune of $3M as he claims KU hasn't paid-up on his buyout terms. The Jayhawks say they uncovered potential rules violations during exit interviews with the former coaching staff. Associate Athletics Director for Public Affairs Jim Marchiony: "Beaty refused to cooperate with the KU review and, ultimately, the NCAA took the lead in the still-ongoing investigation. Due to the nature of the allegations, which, if true, would be in violation of the terms of Beaty's contract, the university has withheld payment of money owed to Beaty pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation. In a show of good faith, the university has placed the full amount owed in escrow." (link)

Texas police arrested Capital Metro bus driver Mindi Stafford on charges of manslaughter after hitting and killing a cyclist on campus on January 28. According to a search warrant, Stafford failed part of a field sobriety test and did not attempt to take preventative measures to avoid hitting the cyclist. (link)

Former Baylor student Wilson Melendez surrendered to authorities on Monday on charges of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman on November 10. Melendez was a BU student at the time of the alleged assault, but is not currently enrolled for the spring semester. (link)
International

NAFSA: Association of International Educators selected West Virginia as one of five recipients of the 2019 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization in recognition of the university’s efforts to increase the internationalization of its campus. President Gee: “As an institution of higher learning, West Virginia University has an obligation to provide students the experience of an internationalized campus. We are educating the next generation of world leaders, so we must ensure they have the global perspective to solve issues moving forward. Through internationalization we bring together diverse perspectives, challenging our own way of thinking and strengthening our ideals. But the opposite is true, as well. We expose the international community to a different perspective – something that is crucial to bringing the world closer together.” (link)
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