Notes in the Margins: Conservatives, sports fees and paying speakers

Proposed Law Would Ban N.J. Public Colleges From Paying Commencement Speakers John DiMaio (R-Warren), one of the bill’s sponsors, said he objects to public institutions paying celebrities at a time when student costs are rising and state funding is shrinking. (The Star-Ledger via University Business)

Study: Public universities leaner now than in 2001 Public universities overall had 21.1 staff per 100 students in the 2009-10 academic year, compared with 22.9 staff in 2001-02, according to the report from State Higher Education Executive Officers. Staffing declines seemed to be steepest among the roughly 100 schools in the Carnegie classification “research, high activity,” a group of schools smaller in research scale (if not in size) than the top research institutions. Schools in that group went from 45 staff per 100 students in 2001-02 to 40 staff in 2009-10. Staffing changes in other categories of schools, including the top research schools and non-research institutions, were comparatively smaller. (The Washington Post)

UW-Madison Chancellor Says Plan To Split From UW System Unlikely The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s chancellor acknowledged Friday that it’s unlikely that a plan to split the flagship campus from a board that oversees the rest of the state’s public universities will get approval from lawmakers this summer. (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel via University Business)

Conservatives in the ivory tower The primary reason that conservative and libertarian foundations give money to universities is to promote intellectual diversity on campus. In the last election, college professors donated eight times as much money to Barack Obama as to John McCain. But it’s not only politics. Whether it’s the view of religion by social scientists or the view of string theory by physicists, university departments do not usually tolerate disagreement. Numerous studies show that the structure of the university is one that promotes uniformity. (The Boston Globe)

As College Athletics Costs Grow, Student Fees Rise There is little outcry or opposition because schools don’t go out of their way to publicize the athletic fees – and in many cases fold them in with several other fees and tuck them away under broader terms. (The Virginian-Pilot via University Business)