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Don Fraser is one of North America’s leading authorities on student success and retention. A professor at Durham College for the past 30 years, Don publishes the national best-seller Making Your Mark, which has sold over one million copies. Don has delivered student motivation seminars to over 17,000 college staff at various conferences and at over 300 colleges across North America. In this podcast Don talks about student motivation.

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University of Maryland did not follow procedures before football player's death

Athletics staff members at the University of Maryland at College Park did not follow the institution’s procedures and did not diagnose a heatstroke that resulted in the death of a 19-year-old football player in June, according to a new report.

The university had hired sports medicine consulting firm Walters Inc. and Rod Walters to investigate the circumstances around Jordan McNair’s death. The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents took control of the investigation in August.

According to the report, released Friday evening, athletics staffers did not properly identify McNair’s heat-related illness at a May practice. While they did attempt to cool McNair after he collapsed, they did not give him a cold-immersion bath, the best form of treatment, Walters said in a press briefing Friday.

Walters said that rapid identification and treatment of heat illness is the key to survival -- ideally, a person should be given the cold-water bath within 30 minutes of the onset of symptoms. It was 1 hour and 39 minutes between when McNair’s symptoms started to the departure of the ambulance, Walters said.

The university announced it will improve how it treats heat-related illnesses, adding more medical staffers -- both doctors and trainers -- to practices and games, as well as cooling stations with portable spray misters, drinks and towels. More recovery time and breaks will be added, and athletics staffers will use a new two-way radio system to communicate in real time during practices.

The Board of Regents met in closed session for hours Friday to be briefed on the findings.

Lawyers for McNair’s family received the results of the investigation late Thursday night.

McNair collapsed during a practice in May. After sprints, he couldn’t control his breathing and suffered a seizure, according to a 911 call from the incident. The 19-year-old, 6-foot, 4-inch, 325-pound redshirt freshman died on June 13, 15 days later, in the hospital.

University administrators acknowledged that athletics staffers did not properly care for McNair -- they did not take his temperature or administer a cold-water immersion bath to ease his symptoms.

Maryland president Wallace Loh has said that the institution takes “legal and moral” responsibility for the mistakes staffers made.

DJ Durkin, head football coach, Wes Robinson, an athletics trainer, and Steve Nordwall, director of athletics training, were all placed on leave after reports in August of numerous inappropriate practices on the football team, including verbal abuse and forcing players to eat until they vomited.

Football strength and conditioning coach Rick Court was also suspended, but instead he resigned, “to allow the team to heal and move forward,” he said in a statement in August.

ESPN detailed a “toxic” environment in the football program, in which Court and Durkin in particular were abusive toward players. Players had small weights hurled at them, one was belittled when he passed out, and another was forced to eat candy bars as a form of humiliation.

The regents’ probe into the overall program is ongoing. Former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich, former congressman and retired professional basketball player Tom McMillen, and retired District Court judges Ben Legg and Alex Williams are among the eight commissioned for the investigation.

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Maryland football players kneel at memorial to Jordan McNair
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Ousted Editor Blames University Presses

The recently ousted editor of The New York Review of Books is blaming university presses for his lost job. Ian Buruma left the position this week amid a furor over an article he published by a Canadian broadcaster who has been accused of sexually assaulting women. The article was immediately questioned by many who said it downplayed the accusations against the broadcaster in ways that undercut the movement to prevent sexual assault. In an interview with the Dutch publication Vrij Nederland, Buruma defended his decision to publish the article and blamed university presses for his demise. He said that the publisher "made clear to me that university publishers, whose advertisements make publication of The New York Review of Books partly possible, were threatening a boycott. They are afraid of the reactions on the campuses, where this is an inflammatory topic. Because of this, I feel forced to resign -- in fact it is a capitulation to social media and university presses."

But Peter Berkery, executive director of the Association of University Presses, told The Washington Post he knew of no boycott campaign. “I know that the NYRB was concerned that some of their advertisers might ultimately choose to make a statement through their advertising dollars, but I’m unaware of any organized effort to coordinate a boycott,” he said.

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Harvard Raises $9.62 Billion in 5-Year Campaign

Harvard University has completed a record-setting fund-raising campaign, raising $9.62 billion over five years. The campaign was launched in 2013 with a goal of $6.5 billion. The campaign raised $1.3 billion for financial aid.

Check on the status of other fund-raising campaigns in Inside Higher Ed's fund-raising database.

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9.6 Billion

Harvard, undergraduate population of approximately 6,800, just completed a five-year capital campaign that generated $9.6 billion. 

Brookdale, undergraduate population of approximately 11,800, has an annual operating budget of about $84 million.

Readers, it’s time for some math. For the sake of argument, let’s pretend not to notice that capital and operating budgets are not the same thing.  I’ll use relatively round numbers.

One percent of 9.6 billion is 96 million.  Ten-year Treasury bills are running at about 3 percent right now.  (Score one for Marketplace!) So if that money were invested in ten-year treasuries -- a thought that would make any self-respecting fund manager shudder at such risk aversion - it would return about $288 million per year.  I’d say that’s before taxes, but, of course, Harvard is tax exempt. The $288 million is real. (They’d almost definitely go higher-risk, higher-reward, but I’m trying to keep it simple.)

Brookdale could increase its operating budget by more than half, and still consume only about half of the annual interest thrown off by the principal.  And it could go entirely tuition-free and fee-free. It could hire full-time faculty and staff, pay for professional development, support shuttles to the various campuses, and do it all without charging students.  Hell, it could even stop taking subsidies from the state and county. Enrollment would likely increase, but that would be fine; we’d have the employees to handle it.

Again, this is just from the interest.  There would be enough interest left over to cover one or two of our sister colleges, too.  Indefinitely. Assuming enrollment increases here and at a sister college, we’re looking at making college free for about 25,000 students per year, plus improving the work lives of hundreds of employees.  The community payoff would be dramatic, lasting, and compounding.

American political culture holds that 9.6 billion for Harvard is “philanthropy,” but free community college is “socialism.”  There’s something fundamentally wrong with that.

Instead, we hope against hope to get the first real increase in operating funding since the 1990’s, while Harvard has to figure out what to do with the latest billions.

As a former political scientist, I’ve been fascinated to see the concept of socialism catching on among younger voters.  I’m old enough to remember when the word was an epithet. Very Smart People have pronounced themselves perplexed at its emergence.

Ask a community college student who sleeps in her car between part-time jobs what she thinks about Harvard’s tax-free $9.6 billion windfall, and whether she could come up with any better uses for it. 

If we don’t want folks to go off the deep end politically, we need to stop pushing. 

Congratulations to Harvard for playing the game exceptionally well.  Now it’s time to change the game.


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New York AG Sues Debt-Relief Companies

Telemarketers from several student loan relief companies falsely represented themselves as employees of the federal government and told borrowers they could not enroll in debt-relief programs like income-based repayment on their own, the New York attorney general alleged in a lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court Thursday.

The suit also alleges that the loan-relief companies falsely told borrowers they could eliminate their student loan debt by making payments to the companies. The companies would typically charge borrowers $1,000 for those services, which are available without charge through the Department of Education.

“These companies sought to line their own pockets by taking advantage of students who were simply trying to pay for their education,” said Attorney General Barbara Underwood. “My office will continue to do everything in our power to protect students -- and all New Yorkers -- from predatory scammers.”

The lawsuit alleged the companies contact borrowers through personalized direct mail and Facebook advertisements before the telemarketers sell students on the fraudulent services. Some student borrowers missed payments on their loans because they believed they had addressed their loans through the companies.

The companies named in the suit are Debt Resolve, Inc.; Hutton Ventures, LLC; Progress Advocates, LLC; Progress Advocates Group, LLC; Student Advocates, LLC; Student Advocates Group, LLC; Student Advocates Team, LLC; Student Loan Care, LLC; and Student Loan Support LLC.

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