Around the Industry: UMass Amherst to scrap confidential student informant program

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Illinois: A consortium of Bible colleges is suing the state for the right to use the word "degree" in credentials awarded to their students. The Illinois Board of Higher Education contends the schools do not have curriculums that qualify them to award degrees. The Bible colleges counter that state interference in their activities is a violation of their First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. "We don't think there can be state regulation of a religious program," says Rev. Jim Scudder Jr., president of Dayspring Bible College (O'Connor, AP/Chicago Tribune, 1/17).

  • Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts-Amherst has ended its confidential student informant program. The controversial program had been suspended since September, following a Boston Globe report that profiled the death of a participating student from a heroin overdose. The student had been secretly providing campus police with information on illegal drug activity. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement, "I’ve concluded that enlisting our students as confidential informants is fundamentally inconsistent with our core values" (Bosco, Boston Globe, 1/15).

  • North Carolina: Duke University has announced it will not allow a student group to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from the campus chapel. Last week, the school said members of the Duke Muslim Students Association could "moderately" amplify a three-minute chant on a weekly basis from a speaker in the Chapel's bell tower. However, following an outpouring of criticism from the local community, the school reversed its decision (Decarr, Education News, 1/20).

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