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Democratic contenders' higher ed positions go well beyond free college

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 14 Feb 2019 - 02:00

At least nine Democrats have declared themselves candidates for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination or have made noises suggesting they’re making plans to run. And while the primary campaign will likely include a reprise of the 2016 debate over free college, several prominent candidates have unique track records in higher ed that they’ll bring to the campaign, potentially setting up a broader debate about priorities for postsecondary education.

The experience of figures like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren taking on postsecondary education issues could suggest the approach they would take as president. Each would present distinct opportunities to offer a contrast with Trump administration policies on for-profit colleges, student debt and campus sexual misconduct. And with multiple candidates attaching their names to ambitious college-affordability legislation, those track records would offer another chance to separate the candidates from primary competitors.

Other Democrats who have announced campaigns for the nomination, like New Jersey senator Cory Booker or former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, are better known for positions on K-12 education issues. They'll likely be pushed to weigh in on higher ed issues, though. Here are the candidates whose policy agendas thus far have included higher education in a prominent role.

Kamala Harris: Critic of For-Profit Colleges

Under the Obama administration, cracking down on abuses in the for-profit college sector became perhaps the biggest focus of higher education policy makers. And many of the enforcement actions taken by the administration were enabled by the work of the California attorney general’s office under the leadership of now senator Kamala Harris.

Harris, who served as California AG from 2011 to 2017, sued for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges in 2013 alleging a predatory model that deployed falsified job-placement rates and other misrepresentations to students. While that lawsuit was underway, she asked a federal court to prevent Corinthian from enrolling new students -- a decision the chain said would be a death knell for its campuses.

The Education Department eventually fined Corinthian, which shut down in 2015, $30 million for those misrepresentations -- thanks in part to the investigative work of the California attorney general’s office. As attorney general and as a member of Congress, Harris has pushed for debt cancellation for former Corinthian students. As a senator, she’s also sought to block expanded access to military bases for for-profit colleges.

Bob Shireman, director of higher education excellence and a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, said the Corinthian lawsuit “helped to alert law enforcement and regulators and policy makers to what these rapid increases in enrollment look like underneath those numbers. Underneath the increase in stock prices, there was a lot of abuse of consumers and misleading of potential students.”

Elizabeth Warren: Advocate for Defrauded Students

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has made student debt a signature issue since entering Congress in 2013. As a member of the Senate education committee, she’s been one of the toughest critics of for-profit colleges, student loan servicers and banks that offer financial products to college students. And after Betsy DeVos was confirmed as education secretary in February 2017, Warren established herself as the billionaire GOP activist’s biggest foil on the Hill.

She pushed, along with activists and state AGs, for the Education Department to set up a clear process for defrauded students to seek forgiveness on their student loans. And Warren took both the Obama administration and DeVos to task for slow progress issuing loan forgiveness to former Corinthian Colleges students.

Warren has also used her profile to launch attacks on companies she says have failed students. She blasted student loan servicer Navient last year over an Education Department audit that found the company steered tens of thousands of borrowers into higher-cost repayment plans. And last month she pressured college presidents to drop agreements with Wells Fargo in response to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report that showed the company charged higher-than-average fees to users of campus-sponsored debit cards.

As thousands of borrowers who expected loan cancellation saw their applications rejected for Public Service Loan Forgiveness last year, Warren secured $350 million in funding to pay for an eligibility fix for those borrowers. She’s also helped build bipartisan momentum in the Senate behind the College Transparency Act, legislation that would overturn the federal ban on student unit records and would provide more complete data on the outcomes of colleges and individual programs.

“She’s had a very comprehensive worldview when it comes to higher education,” said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “That’s not surprising because she comes out of higher ed. It’s natural that she would know the most about it and be aware of its many complicated features.”

Warren's version of a "free-college" proposal outlined in 2015 differed from the model adopted by Senator Bernie Sanders, the biggest proponent of free college in some key respects. It touted more funding from the federal government to states that provide a pathway to a college degree without debt. But it wouldn't make college tuition-free for all students. It also emphasizes accountability from colleges, which would face the loss of funds if large numbers of students didn't repay their loans.

Kirsten Gillibrand: A Focus on Campus Sexual Assault

While other candidates have focused on the costs of college and the role of companies involved in driving student debt, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has spent much of her time in the Senate pushing colleges to do more to respond to sexual assault on their campuses.

After Gillibrand sparred repeatedly with fellow Democrat Claire McCaskill on a response to sexual assault in the military, the two senators worked together to press colleges and the Obama administration to change the standards for handling complaints of sexual assault. Gillibrand and McCaskill also crafted legislation that would increase the penalties for colleges found to have violated federal civil rights law by improperly handling alleged sexual misconduct.

The bill, dubbed the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, won bipartisan support in the Senate, counting among its supporters Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. Although the legislation died in committee without reaching the floor in either the House or Senate, it helped put a spotlight on failures in addressing sexual assault.

The senators said they hoped to attach the bill to a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Serious progress on an HEA bill has yet to take place, though, and the election of President Trump in 2016 meant a reset of federal policy on campus sexual assault. Under Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has restricted the scope of civil rights investigations and rescinded guidance from the Obama administration on how colleges should handle misconduct cases. DeVos instead said she would issue new federal regulations. A draft rule released in November received major criticism from survivor groups for curtailing protections for students and limiting the number of cases colleges would be obligated to pursue.

Gillibrand said DeVos's decision to rescind the Obama-era guidance in 2017 “betrays our students, plain and simple.” And in a series of tweets last month, she said the draft Title IX regulation released by the department would weaken protections for survivors.

When someone reports sexual assault or harassment, as a first step, we must listen and believe them so all allegations can be investigated fairly and properly. But @BetsyDeVosED’s draft rules on Title IX weaken protections for survivors and discourage reports of abuse in schools.

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) January 10, 2019

Gillibrand also directed attention to the work of advocates on the issue as well as survivors. Her guest at the 2015 State of the Union address was Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student who made headlines for a performance-art project in which she carried a 50-pound mattress to protest the university's decision not to remove her alleged attacker. A Columbia disciplinary panel cleared the student she accused of rape of wrongdoing, and the university later settled a lawsuit with the student in which he alleged harassment on the part of Sulkowicz.

Bernie Sanders: Free College

Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, has yet to officially announce a presidential campaign. But many still expect him to jump into the race. And his 2016 run for the Democratic nomination helped cement free college as a mainstream proposal to address access to postsecondary education and the growth of student debt.

Sanders went from backing two years of free tuition at any public college to campaigning on the elimination of all tuition and fees at public institutions.

Hillary Clinton, who eventually won the Democratic nomination, offered a free-college plan in 2016 that would make all two- and four-year institutions tuition-free to students with family incomes up to $125,000. The next year, Sanders introduced new free-college legislation in the Senate that adopted that framework. It got the support of 2020 contenders including Warren, Harris and Gillibrand.

And some Democrats have shown an appetite for going even further than Sanders to address college affordability. Senator Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, last year introduced “debt-free” college legislation that would cover the costs of attendance including transportation and housing. Warren, Harris, Gillibrand and Booker signed on to that bill.

The 2018 midterms also saw a number of progressive gubernatorial and congressional candidates campaign on free college, showing the idea’s political appeal as a solution for the growing costs of a degree.

“The debate has clearly shifted since President Obama proposed free community college back in 2014,” said Mark Huelsman, associate director of policy and research at Demos.

But while some of the biggest names to enter the primary campaign have signed on to free or debt-free college proposals, other Democratic candidates have offered support for more moderate solutions. Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, endorsed two years of free college at any public institution. And Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, has endorsed free community college as well as student loan refinancing.

The free-community-college model was also backed by House Democrats last year in a proposal to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. But Ben Miller, director of higher education at the Center for American Progress, said voters may expect candidates to go bigger.

"It's very clear that there's a strong interest in bold ideas for making college more affordable," he said. "There's a broad understanding that elements of the economy relating to the American dream aren't working and that we need solutions for that."

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'Oregonian' reports on cases of Saudi students accused of crimes fleeing U.S. justice

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 14 Feb 2019 - 02:00

One student was charged with manslaughter in relation to a hit-and-run that killed a 15-year-old girl. Others were accused of rape or sexual assault. Another was charged after his laptop was found to contain child pornography.

The Oregonian, a daily newspaper based in Portland, Ore., has been reporting a series of articles on Saudi Arabian students enrolled at American colleges who were accused of crimes but disappeared before appearing in court or serving their sentence, becoming fugitives from U.S. justice. The latest article in the series can be found here.

In at least four of the cases, according to the Oregonian's reporting, the Saudi government paid the accused students’ bail and legal fees. In the case of Abdulrahman Sameer Noorah, a Portland Community College student charged in relation to a hit-and-run that killed 15-year-old Fallon Smart in August 2016, U.S. law enforcement officials also believe the Saudis provided him with a fake passport to escape the country, likely via private plane, two weeks before his trial.

The Oregonian reported that despite unknowns in the investigation, "officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service are all but certain who helped orchestrate the remarkable escape: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." Noorah is reportedly now back in Saudi Arabia, a country with which the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty.

In response to the articles, Oregon’s two U.S. senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, introduced two bills that would investigate the Saudi government's involvement, punish countries accused of helping their citizens escape U.S. justice and require the Department of Justice to formally track such cases.

“When anyone within our nation commits a crime, they need to be held accountable -- especially when that crime results in the death of an innocent teenager,” Merkley said in a statement. “Saudi Arabia’s blatant disrespect for international norms cannot be allowed to stand. We need a wholesale rethinking of our relationship with Saudi Arabia -- and we should all be able to agree that any nation that helps their citizens escape from the law needs to be held fully accountable. After the shocking murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, this is yet another sign of Saudi Arabia’s flaunting of diplomatic norms.”

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to Inside Higher Ed’s request for comment. A statement provided to The Washington Post in December said it was Saudi policy to post bail for citizens jailed in the U.S. when they request help. According to the Post, the embassy declined to answer its questions about whether government officials aided in the escape of Noorah, the student charged in the fatal hit-and-run, other than to say that “no travel document was issued by the Embassy or Consulate for Mr. Noorah.”

There are more than 40,000 Saudi Arabian students studying in the U.S., many of whom are studying with the support of generous scholarships from their government. The cases reported on by The Oregonian represent only a very tiny fraction of the many thousands of Saudi students who have come to the U.S. to study. And of course some American students commit serious crimes as well.

The Oregonian has so far identified 15 cases of Saudi students fleeing from U.S. justice, in eight different states, plus two similar cases in Canada. The oldest of the cases dates to 1988, and the most recent -- in Nova Scotia, Canada -- to December 2018. For some of the more recent cases, the universities students reportedly were enrolled in include Eastern Washington, Gannon, Montana State, Oregon State and Western Oregon Universities and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

“These do appear to be isolated incidents,” said Christina Luther, the director of international student and scholar services at Portland State University, where one of the students featured in the Oregonian coverage briefly attended. According to The Oregonian, the student, Suliman Ali Algwaiz, entered no-contest pleas in August 2016 to third-degree assault and driving under the influence of intoxicants after allegedly striking and critically injuring a homeless man. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, to be served on weekends, but disappeared before completing his sentence.

"I completely understand the concern that a foreign government may be assisting its citizens from facing justice in the United States," Luther said. "But I’m really concerned about the intense focus on the student population, because there are so many thousands of students who are here just doing what they’re supposed to be doing."

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Speaker at Cornell alumni event offends audience, and college quickly responds

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 14 Feb 2019 - 02:00

At a time of heightened scrutiny of racial sensitivity by American colleges and their efforts to be more inclusive and welcoming of minority students, Cornell University is getting high marks for its handling of a recent incident that initially upset and angered black alumni and students.

During a dinner event at the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference in Boston last Friday, Paul Blanchard, an active alumnus from the Class of 1952 and loyal booster of Cornell athletics, was given an award for being an “outstanding class leader.” During his acceptance speech, Blanchard said that Satchel Paige was one of his heroes and referred to the famed baseball pitcher as a "Negro" and added, "Now they call them blacks."

Heads turned and mouths dropped, said John Rawlins III, president of the Cornell Black Alumni Association. “It was kind of shocking.”

Rawlins was not at the event, which was first reported by The Cornell Daily Sun, but he was getting a stream of phone and text-message updates throughout the evening from association members who were at the dinner. He said several black alumni in the room told him they exchanged knowing glances, as if to say, "Did you hear that? Did he really just say what we think he said?"

It was a cringe-worthy moment that turned a “usually lighthearted conference” into something else.

“There was disappointment, sadness, anger or all of the above depending on who you ask,” Rawlins said. “The notion that this would be voiced over the microphone was shocking.”

Wilma Ann Anderson, the black alumni association’s vice president for student relations, was among those at the award dinner who were very disappointed by the comments.

“It was one of those moments when I wondered is this one of those bubbles that will float up in the air and pop far away or will it pop right here and have to be dealt with in a swift manner,” she said. “Sometimes bubbles flow away and we don’t catch them That one did not float away and I was gratified not only for myself but for others in the room who were impacted by the statement.”

Anderson said she didn’t recall ever hearing the word “Negro” until she was an adult.

“So when I grew to understand what the context of it was and the context in which the word was born, it made more sense to me why people would take offense,” she said.  “Negro was not a term of endearment, even though it was racial categorization, it was not a term for people who were highly regarded. I think everyone who has the ability to be aware of that context should be sensitive to it and respectful of it.”

Instead of ignoring what Blanchard said, or trying to brush over or minimize it, as some other institutions have done when speakers made controversial or offensive comments, the event organizers from the Office of Alumni Affairs addressed it head-on.

One of the organizers went onstage after Blanchard finished speaking and asked students and members of various alumni groups in the audience to stay after the dinner to talk. They spent more than an hour discussing what happened with the university’s top alumni officials and came up with a plan of action.

The next day, during a luncheon at the conference, a written apology from Blanchard was read to conference attendees.

“I was devastated to hear how my words hurt members of the Cornell community,” it said. “I’m sorry, as that truly was never my intention. This is a learning opportunity -- for me, as I hope it will be for others -- to do better.”

The board of directors of the Cornell Association of Class Officers then issued a long, written statement to the campus explaining what happened.

“The CACO Board was saddened that our honoree made comments that distressed members of the Cornell community,” the statement read. “This is not in alignment with our philosophy of inclusiveness and diversity. The CACO Board stands by Cornell University’s commitment to celebrate difference, and to create a culture of belonging.

“The CACO Board applauds the incredible students who showed leadership, tolerance, intelligence and respect throughout the discussions that followed at [the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference]. Students were among our greatest teachers this weekend -- and we acknowledge the invaluable role that all students play in shaping our evolving alumni network.

“We should celebrate Cornell traditions while also understanding that our history was not always perfect -- nor are we. Together with students and alumni, CACO will help to build bridges toward an illuminated and diverse future.”

The four associations representing black, Asian, Latino and LGBT alumni issued their own joint statement expressing “disdain” for the “insensitivity” of Blanchard’s remarks.

“As a community of diverse alumni associations, we stand together to denounce his remarks,” the statement said. “In response to the incident, the Alumni Affairs staff immediately went into action to have a dialogue with the students, address alumni and utilize this moment as a learning opportunity. In addition, Paul Blanchard has issued an apology recognizing how his sentiments may have affected students, alumni, and all those in attendance. We applaud the Office of Alumni Affairs for responding quickly to mobilize toward dialogue and setting growth initiatives. We challenge Cornell University to continue to appropriately respond and implement initiatives that foster ongoing dialogue about incidents such as this toward accomplishing the goals of: bringing awareness, increasing understanding, growing sensibility, increasing tolerance, and respecting and celebrating diversity within the Cornell community.

“This incident illustrates the importance of our alumni associations in continuing to implement initiatives that foster intergroup dialogue and create a culture of inclusion and belonging after our time on campus as students has ended. We encourage all alumni to become part of these critical conversations by joining their respective alumni associations and helping to increase awareness and understanding of one another in celebration of diversity within the Cornell community.”

Cornell’s handling of the incident stands in stark contrast to how other institutions have dealt with verbal faux pas by guest speakers. Last May, the president of Sweet Briar College, a women’s liberal arts institution in Virginia, came under withering criticism for not challenging the controversial comments of a commencement speaker. The speaker, Nella Gray Barkley, an alumna and a major donor to the college, criticized feminists and implied she had little sympathy for victims of workplace sexual harassment.

Canada's Western University had to formally apologize to students last fall after remarks by a philanthropist, Aubrey Dan, at a building dedication. Dan said that he enrolled at the university in 1983 because Playboy magazine had declared women there "among the best in North America."

Rawlins said Cornell’s alumni affairs officials handled the Blanchard incident “very well.”

“What impressed me the most was the speed at which they went to have conversations with the students and other diverse alumni communities, and that they gathered all those individuals to talk through what happened. I think it was proactive rapid response,” he said.

Additionally, the next day, during what was supposed to be a strategic planning meeting by the alumni affairs office, the organizers used the first 30 minutes to again address what happened at the award dinner -- this despite the fact that there were already diversity and inclusion workshops scheduled for that day, Rawlins said.

For his part, Blanchard, who is 88 years old, said he thought the speech was going well with the audience until he hit that bump.

“I didn’t understand that some people took exception to the word ‘Negro,’” he said. And he certainly didn't think twice about using it in reference to Satchel Paige. “I didn’t know what else to call him; I mean, he was in the Negro Baseball League. It’s history.”

As for his other comment -- “Now they call them blacks” -- Blanchard said, “I followed up with a casual comment about … I probably should not have tried to explain myself.”

Blanchard said it was not his intent to offend.

“I’m the last person in the world that anybody would consider racist,” he said. “People interpret things in different ways, and sometimes you don’t say things in the right way. Most of the time you don’t have to worry about it because people know who you are. The world is very different now.”

Said Rawlins: “It’s a matter of intent versus impact. I don’t think he was necessarily speaking maliciously, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have an impact on the individuals in that room.”

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Franklin & Marshall College looks to close 6 percent budget gap

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 14 Feb 2019 - 02:00

Franklin & Marshall College is moving to close a budget deficit that has developed in recent years, bringing its finances into focus after receiving accolades for financial aid policies designed to admit talented students regardless of economic background or ability to pay.

The small private liberal arts college in Lancaster, Pa., plans to close a 6 percent budget deficit over two years. It will address about three-quarters of the total deficit, which translates to about $8 million on a $133 million operating budget, in the first year and move on to the remaining quarter of the deficit in the second. Steps to be taken include cutting staff jobs and changing purchasing practices.

Leaders at the college cast the process as healthy for any institution seeking to make sure its financial picture lines up with its values, and they are adamant students’ experiences will not be affected. Franklin & Marshall has a new president, Barbara K. Altmann, who has been engaged in a review of budgeting and budget processes since she started.

But it is impossible to consider Franklin & Marshall’s current budget situation without acknowledging the symbol the college has become in a world of high college sticker prices, rising tuition discounting and struggles over which students should receive financial aid and why. Its former president, Daniel R. Porterfield, has been a leading advocate for bringing more top students onto the college campuses that graduate students at the highest rates -- even if many of those students come from low-income families.

Franklin & Marshall has been highlighted for reallocating funds from non-need-based aid to need-based aid. Today, it advertises itself as basing financial aid solely on need, and it is a member of the American Talent Initiative, a group of colleges and universities seeking to expand college access for low- and moderate-income students. It is not, however, need blind in admissions.

In recent years, the college has been spending more and more on financial aid. In the fiscal year ending in June 2011, just before Porterfield’s inauguration, Franklin & Marshall recorded $99.5 million in tuition and fee revenue and spent $28.6 million in student financial aid, its audited financial statements show. In 2018, it took in $132.6 million in tuition and fees against $56.1 million in financial aid.

That means that although its tuition and fee revenue rose by almost $33.2 million on paper over the seven-year period, the college actually collected only $5.6 million more in net tuition and fee revenue in 2018 than it did in 2011.

Altmann has said that the current budget deficit was partly caused by increased financial aid. But it is not the primary driver of the deficit, she said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The college is not backing away from its commitment to using financial aid to bring in the best and brightest students, no matter their origin, she said.

“One of the primary values here is we want to bring in the best class,” she said. “We are not backing off of that in any way. It’s one of the powerful things that is giving us motivation to clean up the rest of the financial house so we can continue to sustain that.”

However, leaders do want to slow the rate at which tuition and fees have been increasing and hold the college’s tuition discount rate at roughly its current level, between 42 percent and 46 percent, she added.

The cost of educating a student exceeds the amount that can be reclaimed by increasing prices, and that gap must be made up with other revenue sources like the college’s endowment, Altmann said. Realigning the budget can strengthen the college’s footing for the long term, she continued.

While Franklin & Marshall is far from the poorest institution, its endowment does not measure among the largest in the country. It has the 240th-largest endowment in the most recent study from the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The endowment’s market value totaled $352.1 million in 2018, up 3.4 percent from the year before. That works out to about $155,055 per student. A number of top liberal arts colleges comparable in size have endowments of $1 billion or more.

“We offer a really superb undergraduate education,” Altmann said. “The one thing that is holding us back at the moment is we have a smaller per-capita endowment than some of those other schools that are ranked more highly than we are. But there are other schools that are far better endowed than we are that are actually having similar struggles.”

A larger endowment would not be a panacea, of course. And Altmann acknowledged that other private colleges with larger endowments, like Oberlin College, have shown signs of financial pressures rocking the sector in recent years.

That would seem to raise serious questions about the long-term viability of the high-tuition, high-discount model -- particularly for institutions that award aid primarily based on need, instead of using non-need-based aid to chase students who may have less academic prowess but come from wealthy families and would generate more revenue for the colleges where they enroll. They are particularly explosive questions because they lie at the intersection of wealth, privilege, race and opportunity in higher education.

A Franklin & Marshall spokesman said he has heard no discussion of bringing back non-need-based aid at the college.

Franklin & Marshall has often been noted because its student body diversified as it focused on recruiting students based on talent above all else. In 2010, three-quarters of its incoming freshmen were white, 3 percent were African American and 6 percent were Hispanic, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted in 2017. That fall, 57 percent of freshmen were white, 7 percent were African American and 12 percent were Hispanic.

Yet college officials maintain that they focused on bringing in the best students, not on diversity. The fact that students from underrepresented populations enrolled in greater numbers is just a corollary to recruiting talent, Altmann said.

The interactions between talent, diversity, wealth and financial aid create significant challenges for institutions in a world where wealth is increasingly concentrated and the population of high school graduates is rapidly diversifying -- but where many of the new, diverse high school graduates are expected to come from families that are not wealthy.

So backers of educating more students from moderate- and low-income families wonder what else private colleges can do but adopt a model where sticker prices are steep and discount rates are also high.

“What would the alternative be?” asked Catharine Bond Hill, managing director of Ithaka S+R, which collaborated with colleges and universities and the Aspen Institute to create the American Talent Initiative. “To let these schools be high income and not very diverse?”

Doing so would seem to call into question how closely the institutions are following their educational missions, she said. It could also deny many students the chance to attend colleges that have good student outcomes.

“One of the advantages, if we have greater socioeconomic diversity and racial diversity in these institutions, is the really high graduation rates in these schools,” Hill said. “This is a place where students get through. They get a B.A. that really changes their lives.”

Hill was president at Vassar College last decade when it returned to a need-blind policy and adopted a no-loan plan for students from families with incomes up to $60,000. It did so right before the financial crisis, but Vassar stuck with its policies.

It meant adjustments to staffing size, but it was considered important for the overall mission of the institution, Hill said. Other colleges have to find ways to stick with their missions in light of unexpected financial shocks, whether they be recessions, unforeseen changes to admission rates or other variables changing.

“It’s a challenge, because schools are competing not just for talented students with financial need, but also for students who can pay the full price,” Hill said. “You’re deciding on the margin, with every dollar you spend, how this is going to work out for the full pool of talented students you’re trying to recruit. The rising income inequality has made this incredibly hard.”

Porterfield, who left Franklin & Marshall to become president of the Aspen Institute, was traveling and not available for comment Wednesday. Franklin & Marshall’s board chair, Susan L. Washburn, said in an email that the institution is working from a position of strength.

“Record applications,” she wrote. “Outstanding students, faculty and staff. Our goal is to assure financial resilience for the many years ahead.”

Franklin & Marshall hasn’t made a decision about how many positions could be cut to bring the budget in line. Some will be eliminated through attrition. Benefit levels are also being examined.

The college has committed to a recently adopted salary improvement plan designed to bring pay for faculty and professional staff members into the median range for peer groups.

Some trade-offs are off the table, Franklin & Marshall’s current president said.

“We could easily drop our discount rate, but that would compromise the quality of our class, and we’re not willing to do that,” Altmann said. “The quality of our academic programs and the power of our academic programs to launch young graduates into the world is absolutely our primary goal, and we do very, very well there.”

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New presidents or provosts: Citadel Elizabethtown Fordham Gonzaga MCCS Mines Oconee Saint Mary's Snow Westminster

Inside Higher Education - Jue, 14 Feb 2019 - 02:00
  • Bradley J. Cook, provost at Southern Utah University, has been selected as president of Snow College, also in Utah.
  • David Daigler, vice president and chief financial officer of the Maine Community College System, has been promoted to president there.
  • Deena J. González, associate provost for faculty affairs and professor in the department of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at Loyola Marymount University, in California, has been chosen as provost and senior vice president at Gonzaga University, in Washington State.
  • Erica Godbee Harden, executive vice president at Oconee Fall Line Technical College, in Georgia, has been promoted to president there.
  • Richard C. Holz, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University, in Wisconsin, has been appointed provost at Colorado School of Mines.
  • Dennis C. Jacobs, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Santa Clara University, in California, been named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Fordham University, in New York.
  • Cecelia M. McCormick, vice provost for academic strategy and special programs at Thomas Jefferson University, in Pennsylvania, has been selected as president of Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania.
  • Nancy Nekvasil, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Saint Mary's College, in Indiana, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.
  • Sally Selden, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Lynchburg, in Virginia, has been selected as provost and dean of the college at the Citadel, in South Carolina.
  • Debbie Tahmassebi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University, in California, has been chosen as provost at Westminster College, in Utah.
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Doctorados como ascensor social

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 17:01
La educación superior está ganando peso en la agenda de los países iberoamericanos. Un tercio de los nuevos universitarios proceden de los estratos más humildes de la sociedad

El machista a su pesar

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 17:00
La transición hacia la igualdad de la mujer zarandea a hombres cómodamente apoltronados en el patriarcado y en los privilegios que conlleva. Algunos refunfuñan y patalean. Otros permanecen sumidos en la confusión

Los claretianos de Barcelona llevan a la Fiscalía una acusación contra un religioso

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 07:46
El colegio ha apartado al docente tras tener noticia de los hechos, aireados por un exalumno a través de las redes sociales

El 80% de los menores cree que la movilización de los compañeros es la mejor arma contra el acoso escolar

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 07:30
La Fundación Mutua Madrileña y Disney España estrenan una campaña que busca involucrar a los compañeros para frenar el 'bullying', ante el que solo reacciona el 20% de los chavales

Perros que atienden y acompañan a niños con enfermedad terminal

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 04:57
En un hospital de Jalisco (México), los canes acompañan a los menores y les ayudan tanto física como emocionalmente

¿Buscas trabajo? Apunta en el currículum que eres creativo

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 03:11
La creatividad es la habilidad que más demandan las empresas, según un estudio de LinkedIn. Pero no es una capacidad innata, sino que se puede aprender a desarrollarla

Los cereales ni en papillas ni en las leches

El País - Educación - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 02:16
La alimentación infantil nos asusta. Quizás no sea tanto por lo que supone sino por el ruido constante que escuchamos a nuestro alrededor

What lessons can be learned from the Wright State faculty strike?

Inside Higher Education - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 02:00

After striking for 20 days, Wright State University’s faculty union won some modest gains in a tentative agreement reached Sunday.

Professors were back to work Monday, trying to put things back in order.

Was sacrificing three weeks’ pay, braving picket lines in the polar vortex and now dealing with classroom chaos worth it?

Yes, striking professors and their supporters say. To many, it comes down to a few key issues -- namely retaining the right to bargain over health care in the future, even if this deal moves professors onto a single, universitywide employee benefits plan that they initially resisted. At first, the university wanted to remove the right to future bargaining.

Other key wins: keeping workload agreements, reasonable timelines for continuing contracts for professors off the tenure track, clear merit raise standards and summer teaching rights -- all of which the university sought to scrap. There are additional limits on retrenchment and furloughs in the deal.

The set of two, two-year agreements also includes 2.5 percent raises for the last two years.

Summer course pay was cut 15 to 20 percent, however. The battle over faculty contracts at Wright State, after all, took place at an institution that all sides agreed had not been adequately funded by the state.

Perhaps more than anything, the strike was about respect, including in future negotiations.

“Our faculty have taken an immediate and longer-term financial hit on this new five-year contract,” said Martin Kich, president of Wright State’s American Association of University Professors-affiliated faculty union and professor of English. “But we have reasserted our right to bargain, and we have preserved important safeguards on the conditions under which we are doing our work.”

It would be “naïve to think that such a strike will not have some very negative repercussions, especially in the shorter term,” Kich said. But the strike could be a deterrent against another “disastrous situation,” or insurance that subsequent contract negotiations are “more genuinely aimed at meaningful compromise.”

Imposed Contract

Wright State’s faculty union went on strike last month after the university’s Board of Trustees imposed a contract following protracted negotiations. Not only did the union not agree to the terms, but Wright State’s “last best offer” included major red flags for professors: no pay raises and a continuing-appointment timeline for non-tenure-line professors that the union argued would have almost doubled the current eligibility period, to 12 years.

And there was no ability to bargain for health care -- an important form of compensation for professors who haven’t received a raise in five of the last eight years. Professors also argued that that right was theirs under the Ohio Revised Code. This issue alone accounted for the last week of the strike.

Crystal B. Lake, associate professor of English, said imposed contract terms such as the health-care clause “seemed like they were less about saving money and more about achieving something political.”

That struck a nerve because she and most of her colleagues work at Wright State, a regional public, because they’re “passionate about making sure that a wide range of students can benefit from the advantages conferred by an affordable and high-quality college degree,” she said. The board's contract “threatened to undermine the value and quality of the education we could offer” students.

Professors also took umbrage at the university's insistence that it could not solve its financial issues without targeting the faculty contract. While Wright State is not a wealthy institution, the union pointed out that faculty compensation is just 17 percent of its budget, and that noninstructional expenditures and poor administrative decision making -- such as an unsuccessful bid for a presidential debate and million-dollar settlements in federal cases alleging that Wright State secured student visas for nonstudent area employees and paid loans to nonconfirmed students -- drained $130 million in university reserves in five years.

Drawing parallels to arguments behind recent K-12 teacher strikes in other states, Kich said faculty salaries and benefits are a relatively small share of the budget, “yet we produce the bulk of the university's revenue, and just about all of its net revenue.”

Wright State declined immediate comment on lessons learned. It's said repeatedly that it's happy to have the faculty back, and to return to serving students.

Not Bluffing (?)

Many times faculty strikes are threatened but don’t actually happen because a deal is reached at the last minute.

That wasn't the case in Ohio: the university did not withdraw its imposed contract on the eve of the strike, publicly insisted that things were under control during the strike, challenged the legality of the strike in a state process (and lost), and posted jobs ads for replacement adjuncts in dozens of fields -- even offering them housing.

Silvia Newell, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, said the job ad came as a surprise, but that the faculty “largely interpreted it as a scare tactic to get faculty to cross the picket line.” The ads weren’t posted until only the ability to bargain for health-care terms remained unresolved, she said.

Despite Wright State's actions and rhetoric, Kich said, its lawyer admitted during the hearing about the strike’s legality that “they could not operate the university without us. That admission alone is a significant thing.”

“While [the board] did not rule this strike unauthorized as we had asked, the union’s actions to prevent the university from operating are having a significant toll,” President Cheryl B. Schrader said at the time.

Kich said that "some more evident sense of mutual respect has to be the result of all of this contention.”

Certainly the strike was unpleasant for all involved. While many students supported the professors with sit-ins and on picket lines, they and others had to deal with tentatively canceled courses and missed class time. Professors on the picket lines were visited by other local unions, hosted a “beard challenge” and welcomed animals to keep up morale. Lake said the solidarity she experienced was a kind of “kismet, but in all honesty, the strike was also hard and long, and I would say that I felt more urgency and seriousness than I did chemistry.”

As the strike wore on, she said, the “university used a variety of tactics that appeared like they were designed to do anything to avoid having to negotiate a fair contract.” And she and others “became increasingly convinced that the strike was necessary to restore a balance of power in our institutional culture -- to make sure that someone was holding our administrators accountable and that they adhered to best practices, as well as rules and regulations that define public higher education.”

Lake added, “I think the last three weeks at Wright State were just the beginning, in both good and bad ways.”

Resentment Remains

Newell said there remains “a lot of resentment on the part of the faculty and the students on the [board] and the upper administration for forcing this to drag out in an effort to break the union.”

William Herbert, executive director of the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College of the City University of New York, said that move to hire replacement instructors might have been prompted by a “quirk” in Ohio law that prohibits part-time faculty members from collective bargaining -- and therefore makes them "most vulnerable.”

Over all, Herbert said, the strike at Wright State is “another sign that strikes are growing in higher education," as well as in primary and secondary schools.

There were a total of 11 strikes in higher education in 2018, compared to five in 2017 and seven in 2016, according to center data. Fifteen of the strikes in 2016-2018 involved faculty or graduate assistants.

Timothy R. Cain, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Georgia who followed the strike from afar, via news reports, said he wasn’t surprised that health care was such a central concern, considering “the broader societal issues about and problems with how we fund health care.”

It has become “such a large portion of compensation for both individuals and employers that it necessarily is a key negotiating issue,” he said.

Health care was at play in another recent faculty dispute and threatened strike at City Colleges of Chicago. The faculty union there said the administration tried eliminate a health insurance benefit for new hires that allowed for 10 years of coverage upon retirement, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Howard Bunsis, a national AAUP Council member and professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University, said the significance of the Wright State strike “is that a group of faculty stood up for what was right -- maintaining quality public higher education for their students.”

Editorial Tags: FacultyUnions/unionizationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Wright State University-Main Campus

Yale University sued over fraternity culture, and plaintiffs demand coeducation

Inside Higher Education - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 02:00

A trio of Yale University students is suing the institution and nine of its fraternities, demanding that its Greek system be reformed and women be integrated into the all-male groups to fix a “sexually hostile” environment.

Legal experts said that the case has little chance of a ruling that all single-sex fraternities and sororities must become coeducational. This is largely because of an exemption for social Greek organizations carved out in the federal law that protects students against gender discrimination, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Where the case could be more significant is its claim that Yale's fraternities violate Title IX not just by being fraternities but by how they treat women.

The class-action lawsuit raises questions about fraternities’ role in sexual misconduct on the campus and beyond, especially in light of other litigation targeting Harvard University, which has attempted to stamp out single-sex organizations and dissuade students from joining them.

Three female undergraduates -- Anna McNeil, Ry Walker and Eliana Singer -- filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court Tuesday. The women all allege that they were groped at fraternity parties during their respective first semesters at Yale. Because the university lacked many other “social spaces,” fraternities and their members essentially controlled the social scene, including admission to parties and when and how much alcohol was served, creating conditions ripe for sexual misbehavior, the complaint states.

Yale, meanwhile, largely ignored the misconduct, according to the complaint, despite multiple public incidents. The women accuse the university of having a “symbiotic relationship,” in which fraternities provide social activities and Yale officials turn a blind eye to poor behavior. In 2008, pledges of one fraternity, Zeta Psi, posed outside the campus Women’s Center with a sign that read “We Love Yale Sluts.” Recruits for Delta Kappa Epsilon in 2010 paraded around the grounds cheering, “No means yes, yes means anal.”

The women alleged that the network of fraternities at Yale is also influential both socially and economically, with their members finding more career opportunities than do members of the campus sororities, which haven’t been around as long.

The three women, creating a student group called Engender, tried to join fraternities in both 2017 and 2018 but were rejected. One fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, did allow them to apply, but their national office told the local chapter it did not allow women. They met with Yale officials many times about the problems with the fraternities, but, the complaint states, their concerns were disregarded.

Their lawsuit names Yale, the campus fraternity chapters and their national offices, as well as the housing corporations of the university’s fraternities.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment on the lawsuit, instead sending a message about Delta Kappa Epsilon that was forwarded around campus last month from Marvin M. Chun, dean of the university.

About a year ago, administrators ordered a review of Yale’s broad “campus culture” and a potentially “sexually hostile climate” with Delta Kappa Epsilon. Students reported unregulated access to alcohol and behavior such as DKE brothers “ogling” others on the dance floor, according to the report.

“I condemn the culture described in these accounts,” Chun wrote. “It runs counter to our community's values of making everyone feel welcome, respected, and safe. I also offer some plain advice about events like these: don't go to them.”

DKE will not be punished, despite the findings. It had been banned from being associated with the university for five years in 2011, following the chanting episode from the previous year. But the punishment was ineffective, critics said, because the fraternities are already technically not affiliated with the institution and are quartered off campus.

The lawsuit notes that it may be difficult for Yale to regulate the fraternities, but the women and the law firm representing them, Sanford Heisler Sharp, pointed out in the lawsuit that Yale does allow them to use Yale’s name, email addresses and facilities for events and recruitment.

A lawyer representing the fraternities, Joan Gilbride, said in a statement that the accusations are “baseless and unfounded.”

Todd Shelton, a spokesman for the North American Interfraternity Conference, wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed, “Single-sex student organizations should be an option -- a choice -- for students. And so should co-ed student organizations. Students should have the choice to join the groups that best fit their developmental needs.”

Plaintiffs have argued in lawsuits before that entire campus fraternity systems are fundamentally flawed, despite that only certain chapters have reported sexual violence, said S. Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, which consults with colleges on security matters and Title IX.

Utah State University, for instance, settled with a sexual assault survivor last year by reforming Greek life as a whole, requiring fraternity and sorority chapters to apply for recognition with the university and monitoring their social events. This broad settlement was backed even though the lawsuit was about one student who was raped by a single fraternity member.

What is new with the Yale case -- and could be groundbreaking -- is the request for fraternity life to go coed, Carter said.

“Their proposed remedy is unusual,” Carter said. “When I’ve worked on cases like this, developing a better structure for the university to have oversight of fraternities was the remedy pursued. That is typically the type of remedy pursued in these types of matters.”

In addition to the integration, the women want Yale to create a Greek Council that would monitor the fraternities, which they demanded should register with the institution as official student groups. They also have asked that “sober monitors” be appointed for every fraternity party off campus to monitor alcohol consumption, and bouncers be hired to ensure crowd control and “nondiscriminatory event admission.”

This is the second occasion in recent months involving Ivy League institutions, their Greek systems and a legal battle.

National fraternities and sororities sued Harvard in December over a rule introduced in 2016 meant to disincentivize joining single-sex clubs.

The groups aren’t banned per se, but students who are members can’t lead any other camps groups or captain sports teams. Administrators created the policy in order to restrict “final clubs,” historically all-male organizations that have been linked to sexual assaults and discriminatory practices in recent years.

The rule also affected all other campus groups -- among them fraternities and sororities. Harvard on Friday asked state and federal judges to dismiss these complaints.

But the arguments in neither the Yale nor the Harvard cases undercut the clear exception for social fraternities that was built into Title IX, said Timothy Burke, a lawyer and founding partner of Fraternal Law Partners. His firm helps fraternities in untangling complex tax law, zoning and land use, and other matters, but he is uninvolved in the Yale case.

Two years after Title IX was signed in 1972, the then Department of Health, Education and Welfare tried to apply the law to campus fraternities and sororities.

Realizing that certain Greek life organizations had not been exempted from the law, one of the original architects of Title IX, Democratic senator Birch Bayh, proposed an amendment, eventually enacted into law, that allowed colleges and universities to still recognize fraternities and sororities, despite their single-sex membership.

Business-related or other fraternity organizations are not exempted in the same way.

“If their members are engaging in misconduct, that needs to be dealt with, both by the groups themselves and the universities,” Burke said. “But that doesn’t become justification for attempting to eliminate Greek groups at Yale or at Harvard.”

The lawsuit links Harvard to Yale, saying that Yale “has fallen behind” its peer institution and rival by allowing discrimination to continue.

“I think the arguments related to Harvard are ethically persuasive, but not legally,” Brett Sokolow, president of the Association of Title IX Administrators, wrote in an email. “Of course, courts may show unexpected sympathies for such claims, but I don’t see viable federal claims under existing law and precedents. A suit like this, with such a wide list of defendants and an attempt to certify a class action, is largely intended to garner publicity and shame the defendants with public pressure.”

Editorial Tags: Legal issuesStudent lifeImage Source: Ian ChristmannImage Caption: From left to right: Yale students Anna McNeil, Ellie Singer and Ry Walker, who are suing the institution.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Yale University

Creighton expands medical school presence in Arizona

Inside Higher Education - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 02:00

It is based in Nebraska and its mascot is a blue jay -- and it's expanding to a high-rise in Phoenix.

But please, don’t call it Snowbird Medical School.

Creighton University, the Jesuit institution that dates back to 1878, is building a new, $99 million, 200,000-square-foot medical training facility a long way from its Omaha home. Its chosen location: an up-and-coming retail and office park in the Arizona capital, nearly 1,300 miles away. Creighton also plans to expand its nursing program there, among others, to keep up with booming demand in a region that experts say is badly in need of medical care. Though a partnership with three Phoenix medical providers will operate the medical school, Creighton is funding the construction itself via cash reserves, debt and fund-raising in the Phoenix area.

The move stands in stark contrast to Creighton’s 2016 sale of its Omaha hospital, a decision made because the university “really didn’t have the income and the clientele base” to support it, said the Reverend Daniel S. Hendrickson, Creighton’s president.

The former Creighton University Medical Center is now being developed into a $110 million complex of upscale apartments at the western edge of campus, Father Hendrickson said. The university is maintaining its Omaha medical school.

The new Phoenix facility is expected to open in the fall of 2021 in the city’s Midtown area with nearly 900 students by 2024. The property is at the edge of a large mixed-use office and retail complex called Park Central, which began life more than 50 years ago as Park Central Shopping City, one of the country’s first malls. Before developers purchased the 46-acre property and built a mall, which opened in 1957, it was a dairy.

In its most recent state-by-state analysis, the Association of American Medical Colleges ranked Arizona 42nd nationwide in the number of active primary-care physicians per 100,000 people, ahead of just eight states: Wyoming, Alabama, Oklahoma, Idaho, Texas, Nevada, Utah and Mississippi.

Negotiations for the project date back to 2016, when Creighton and several partners formed the Creighton University-Arizona Health Education Alliance. But Creighton has had a presence in Phoenix since 2005, when St. Joseph’s Hospital asked if Creighton's medical students would consider a monthlong summer residency there.

In 2012, Creighton began training third- and fourth-year medical students in Phoenix, and three years later it added pharmacy students. By 2018, it was educating a series of 48-student nursing student cohorts in an accelerated, 12-month program.

“In some ways Phoenix has been telling us two things: ‘Hurry up’ and ‘Do more,’” said Father Hendrickson.

Creighton eventually settled on three partners for the new medical school: St. Joseph’s; District Medical Group, a large nonprofit; and Maricopa Integrated Health System, the county’s longtime public hospital system.

Father Hendrickson said Maricopa Integrated’s commitment to caring for the poor in the Phoenix area made it an appealing partner. “We’re Jesuit and Catholic -- Maricopa is public,” he said. “And yet there’s this great sense of mission and outreach with the underserved.”

Maricopa Integrated already runs 10 residency programs with more than 350 residents -- it has trained doctors since 1952. Its CEO, Steve Purves, said it runs the oldest public teaching hospital in the state. But the hospital-based program was looking for a partnership with a university-sponsored one. At the same time, he said, Creighton “needed to provide a way to expand -- and a key part of that is access to clinical training sites, which hospitals provide.”

Purves called the partnership “a great strategic coming together -- the stars lined up.”

A Nationwide Doctor Shortage

While Arizona is particularly in need of doctors, AAMC data show that, over all, the U.S. faces a severe physician shortage. The most recent analysis by the medical education group shows a possible shortage of as many as 121,300 physicians by 2030. That’s considerably higher than last year’s projected shortfall of up to 104,900 -- the new estimates reflect “model updates,” as well as recently revised federal designations for primary care and mental health.

The group now predicts shortages in four broad categories: primary care, medical specialties, surgical specialties and other specialties. By 2030, it finds, we could see shortfalls of between 14,800 and 49,300 primary care physicians alone. It sees a “largely stagnant” pool of surgical specialists.

Much of the overall projected shortage comes courtesy of a growing population that is also aging, with “increasingly complex care” needs. By 2030, the U.S. population is expected to grow by nearly 11 percent, while the age-65-and-over population is expected to grow by 50 percent. Meanwhile, the under-18 population is projected to grow by just 3 percent.

But the group predicts that within the next decade, one in three active doctors will reach or exceed retirement age.

In Phoenix, Creighton already had access to St. Joseph’s, its longtime hospital partner. But by building its own school, it saw a chance to expand its available clinical sites beyond a single hospital. The state’s two large public medical schools -- both based at the University of Arizona -- are affiliated with Banner Health, a Maricopa Integrated competitor.

“There’s lots of open space for both health-care education and health-care practitioners for the Phoenix area at large,” Father Hendrickson said. He noted that Arizona State University gave its blessing to the Phoenix expansion -- actually, Creighton is also negotiating an agreement with ASU to train its occupational and physical therapists and pharmacists.

The university has also established a kind of informal undergraduate pipeline with Brophy College Preparatory, a private Jesuit high school in Phoenix, that it hopes will eventually provide students to the medical school.

“We have a golden opportunity to share the Creighton mission in a new part of the United States,” Father Hendrickson said.

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Colleges start new academic programs

Inside Higher Education - Mié, 13 Feb 2019 - 02:00
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El fundador de la escuela del Atlético admite haber abusado de un niño

El País - Educación - Mar, 12 Feb 2019 - 17:20
Una víctima acusa al marianista Manuel Briñas de haberle agredido sexualmente en un colegio de Madrid durante tres años

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