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Fake College Diplomas Sold in China; When University Tenure Doesn’t Save You

The Price of (a Fake) Education. Nine suspects were arrested and charged on Monday for selling fake doctorate and master's degree certificates from American universities, defrauding more than 30 people out of more than 3.4 million RMB ($540,000). The victims included senior executives from big enterprises across the country. According to the prosecutors, the suspects promised that they could issue degrees from colleges such as the University of Washington just as long as the applicants could pay for some training. The judge has not yet ruled on sentences, but one prosecutor estimated that based on the amount of money involved in the fraud charges that the sentences could be at least 10 years. [China Daily]

The Irrelevancies of Tenure. Two universities in Louisiana, Northwestern State University and Southeastern Louisiana University, might be in big trouble after an American Association of University Professors came out with a report noting how both institutions cut academic programs that terminated at least 20 tenured professors at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. The program cuts were designed to help with budget reduction problems by cutting inefficient programs. Neither school had given faculty the chance to discuss alternative to their termination. The AAUP has been "deeply concerned" that there was not respect for tenure at their institutions. Northwestern State wasn't able to find new jobs for the fired faculty to allow them to keep their tenured status, something required by their university policy. The institution instead retained a select number to teach as non-tenure-track faculty on a lower pay grade. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

The Death of the Graduation Rate. It seems that times are finally changing around how the Department of Education measures college completion. Released Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that they are moving forward with changing the analysis of college graduation to help more two-year institutions meet federal standards and better measure transfer and part-time students. The plan, called the "Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success" [PDF], is based on the recommendations made by the Committee on Measures of Student Success, which also expressed interest in measuring non-first-time degree-seeking students. The press release did not include a timeline in which the recommendations would be implemented and measured. [Inside Higher Ed]

Accommodating Protest. A Seattle Community College has scaled back the rules for on-campus protests. The school's staff struck down proposals that would have required non-student protesters to register with campus security with 24-hour notice and would only allow each protester to have one three foot-by-five foot feet sign. Seeing the state and federal constitutionality discrepancies, Chancellor Jill Wakefield announced "our colleges stand for both safeguarding free speech and providing excellent education. Our policies need to striker a better balance between the two." Some faculty have noted the new proposal that did pass is incredibly vague and does not really anything to the rules. [Seattle Times]

Jeff Raines is a journalism intern with Campus Progress. You can follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Raines.

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