Blog: Higher Ed Beat
Free Speech on Campus Sparks Legal Battles, Safety Concerns
Controversial speakers present "teachable moments" and risks.
Campus racial conflicts, sports corruption scandals, and a new partisan divide over the perceived benefits of college are among the biggest potential storylines for journalists covering higher education these days, according to Inside Higher Ed co-founder and editor Scott Jaschik.
Your editor has just assigned you a story — students at a local university are planning a demonstration calling for the removal of a Confederate statue. Do you know what to bring, who to talk to, and how to cover it in a way that is balanced and contextualized?
Long the site of sit-ins, protests, and acts of civil disobedience, college campuses have, once again, become flash points for broader debates around race, free speech, and other highly-emotive issues.
Lisa Pemberton, an award-winning journalist and news team leader for The Olympian, knows well the challenges of covering protests, having spent much of her time recently covering racial tension and student protests at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
An elderly black woman with a crumpled piece of paper helped reframe the way Jose Antonio Vargas views the debate over immigration in America.
Vargas is a longtime journalist, an undocumented immigrant, and an advocate for immigrants. He was at a Tea Party event in North Carolina a couple of years ago when the woman, who recognized him from television, approached. She held a document she said her great, great, grandmother was handed after landing in South Carolina.
It was a bill of sale.
Nearly 60 journalists joined the Education Writers Association this week at Georgia State University in Atlanta for a seminar on covering higher education. Over two days, they toured CNN headquarters, drank coffee before kvetching, and got tips for improving their coverage of top postsecondary issues. The discussions included covering undocumented students, racial conflict on campus, Title IX and sexual assault, and how Georgia State is using data to better serve at-risk students. Here’s a sampling of what people tweeted about the EWA event.
For nearly three decades, a White House commission created to help boost Hispanic student achievement has advised four presidents and their secretaries of education. The advisory panel, however, is set to expire on Sept. 30 unless President Donald Trump issues an executive order to keep it going, according to Patricia Gándara, a commission member who is rallying to preserve it.
More Hispanic students are taking the ACT college-entrance exam, and in some states their scores inched up, new data show. But the achievement gap persists for the class of 2017, with many Hispanic students failing to meet benchmarks for university-level work.
For the first time since the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, some top universities are seeing their international student application numbers slide.
With the White House expected to decide shortly on the fate of the DACA program, questions loom about future access to U.S. education by undocumented immigrants. And some education leaders are speaking out this week in favor of protecting the program.
“How many people are here in some part because you’ve made a request for a record and gotten the FERPA answer?” asked Frank LoMonte, an expert in the federal privacy law, to a roomful of education reporters at a recent conference.
Nearly all in attendance raised their hands.
“That’s why my phone rings 2,000 times a year,” said LoMonte during the Education Writers Association’s 2017 National Seminar in Washington, D.C.
At first glance, Gallaudet University looks a lot like other colleges: Massive, slate-topped Gothic and Victorian brick buildings preside over green lawns and precisely-manicured perennials. Students meander between classes, professors chat about the daily news, crammers fill study rooms in the library.
But once you begin to explore the Washington, D.C., campus, its differences become apparent.