University News

Higher ed Roundup: Nov. 27, 2012

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

 

Massachusetts lowers tuition rates for undocumented immigrants

Undocumented immigrants living in Massachusetts with work permits are now eligible for the lower tuition rates at state colleges and universities already extended to state residents, according to the New York Times. Massachusetts became the 12th state to adapt such a policy, which Rhode Island has already implemented. 

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to enact the policy marks a step in the state’s efforts toward more open immigration reform. The move comes in the aftermath of President Obama’s announcement in June of a policy that would stop the deportation of young immigrants brought to or kept in the United States illegally.

According to the Times, state officials believe the policy will significantly increase college enrollment levels of illegal immigrants. At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the out-of-state rate is over twice the in-state rate. 

Opponents of the policy have argued that the government should focus on making college more affordable for legal residents.

U.S. Court of Appeals strikes down affirmative action ban

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided Nov. 15 that the Michigan ban on affirmative action, approved by voters in 2006, is unconstitutional, the New York Times reported.

The federal appeals court ruled that the ban violated the Constitution’s equal protection laws, and the decision was not made on the basis of racial discrimination. 

The court’s ruling does not state that state colleges and universities must adopt race-based affirmative action policies, but makes it easier to persuade colleges to adopt them, according to CNN. 

The ruling, considered a victory for minority students, may not go into effect immediately as some residents are still defending the ban, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette intends to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reported.

 

Harvard Dining Services restricts, restores access to Hillel 

Earlier this month, Harvard University Dining Services enforced a new restriction disallowing non-Jewish students from eating at the kosher dining hall, the Harvard Crimson reported. HUDS restored dining hall access to these students a week later.

The denied access was intended to offset an operating budget deficit, as preparing kosher meals at Harvard Hillel cost twice as much as preparing meals in the regular dining halls, Harvard Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Jonah Steinberg told the Crimson.

The change upset many students, provoking protests. Members of Hillel feared the decision would be misunderstood and viewed as exclusive, the Crimson reported. The restriction also posed problems for Muslim students keeping halal, who would often eat at Hillel. 

The University rescinded the policy, but released a statement urging students to use the dining hall for its intended purpose as an eatery for students keeping kosher.