In this week's roundup:
Faculty are getting fired for not being vaccinated, President Biden’s infrastructure bill aims to increase internet access, and the flu has returned to college campuses.
- From coaches to faculty, college employees are getting fired for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline to become fully vaccinated was extended in some cases from early December to January 4, 2022.
- Western Michigan University allowed 16 student-athletes to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. Instead, they will be required to be tested weekly and wear masks during team meetings. This is the result of a lawsuit in which the student-athletes said the university’s vaccine policy infringed on religious liberties.
- Influenza cases are on the rise on college campuses, after a year of low numbers that had been attributed to masking and social distancing measures. The University of Michigan is one of the many combating the flu with over 500 cases since October.
- President Biden’s infrastructure bill includes $65 million to improve broadband connection and increase internet speed. With 40% of college students without a stable internet connection (especially in rural areas), the bill would aid students’ ability to access online resources and upload assignments when attending classes remotely.
- Nebraska State College System approved increased protection for transgender employees. Despite criticism from Gov. Pete Ricketts, the board approved the policy in a 4-2 vote.
- The number of international students decreased significantly during the 2020-21 academic year. This year, however, the number is slowly growing with total international enrollment rising by 4%.
- Jo Bonner, chief of staff to the governor of Alabama, was named president of the University of South Alabama. This follows a trend of university presidents coming from non-traditional backgrounds. In 2016, 15% of university presidents came from outside higher education.
- Grade inflation is thought to be the reason for higher GPAs and therefore higher graduation rates. This has raised questions about the validity of degrees and if the bar had been lowered to increase graduation rates.
- Campus counselors are feeling the effects of the labor shortage and burnout. Political unrest and the ongoing pandemic have impacted students’ mental health, and campus counselors are struggling to keep up.
- Despite dips in enrollment and colleges closing since the start of the pandemic, a number of colleges are opening up. These new colleges, such as Wayfinding College in Portland, OR and the Roux Institute in Portland, ME, are focusing on high-demand fields such as solar power and wind energy.