By Alex Ganninger
Published on Monday, February 18, 2013
Colleges and universities have emerged at the forefront of the gun control debate since the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, The New York Times reported. Guns remain prohibited at most state schools, but pro-gun forces have gained ground on the issue in a number of states, most recently Colorado. Although guns are now allowed on the University of Colorado, Boulder’s campus, guns remain noticeably absent, and no students have signed up for housing where guns are permitted. Nationally, colleges and universities are getting safer, and the federal government reported that the majority of violent crimes targeting university students occur off college campuses.
Harvard Management Company, the entity responsible for overseeing the university’s endowment, recently created a vice president of sustainable investing responsible for looking at environmental issues in the university’s investments, The Harvard Crimson reported. The decision was influenced by student interest, as well the company’s long-term investment strategy, the company’s president Jane Mendillo said in a statement to The Crimson. While Harvard generally does not support divestment, the university has begun creating a “social choice fund,” distinct from its endowment, in response to a student referendum. This decision received further support last week when students at the Kennedy School of Government overwhelmingly voted to finance the new venture with funds from the university’s endowment. Students have cautiously expressed support Harvard Management Company’s direction but are uncertain that substantial policy change will result.
The White House’s release of a new College Scorecard, an online tool that provides cost-related institutional data, has been scrutinized by higher education experts, The New York Times reported. Taking into account graduation rates, incidences of loan default and repayment statistics, the online tool aims to present a clearer picture of the true cost of attending college and builds upon the administration’s previous efforts at transparency in the college search process. Critics have pointed out that the site’s information is outdated and not presented in a consumer-friendly interface. Still, supporters are hopeful that the website may publish currently unavailable information about the performance of a college’s graduates in the job market. This, however, would require legislative changes due to the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act, which outlaws data collection of such statistics.