Another year gone by, another year of college news stories that stole headlines. Aside from campus’ inadequate fight against sexual assault to a new student loan law, what other college stories made it all over the Internet and our cable news channels this year?
Without further ado, here are some of 2013’s top college news stories!
Colleges Fail to Address Sexual Assault Cases On Campus
Sexual assaults on campus have always been a hush-hush subject for university administrators, but this year federal investigations unearthed a whole series of mishandled sexual assault cases. USC, Occidental College and Swarthmore were three big colleges this year that investigators accused of underreporting sex crimes on campus, leading to a storm of bad PR that shed light on universities’ failure to protect victims. After the negative press, all three colleges ramped up their sexual assault case reporting systems, though Occidental’s was quickly inundated by Internet trolls protesting its emphasis on anonymous reporting.
Challenges to Unpaid Internships Shed Light On Intern Circumstances
The responsibilities and working environment facing interns dominated U.S. headlines at various times. From Condé Nast’s eradication of their internship programs following payment lawsuits to a judge ruling that cemented unpaid interns’ inability to sue on sexual harassment charges, the rights of interns in the workplace was a national discussion that popped up consistently throughout the year.
Past Penn State Officials Stand Trial for Sandusky Incident
During the summer, three ex-school officials at Penn State were ordered to stand trial for dismissing concerns that former football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing young boys, allegations that later landed Sandusky in jail. The court’s decision to try the three men re-opened the anger, frustration and despair that sprung from Sandusky’s 2011 conviction on 52 charges of sexual abuse
Obama Signs New Law Lowering Student Loan Rates
Student loan debts have soared out of control and motivated students, university faculty and parents alike to lobby for a new structure to the student loan system. In early August, President Obama signed a new bill into law mandating that student loan rates would be tied to the market’s ups and downs, but capped at a rate of 8.25 percent for undergrads. This means that the undergraduate student loan rate will be set at 3.86 percent for the coming year, a very sharp decrease from the 6.8 percent initially predicted.
Princeton Faces Meningitis Scare
After a handful of meningitis cases on campus, Princeton University urged students and faculty to be cautious of the virus’ spread. By early December, the federal government allowed Princeton to use Bexsero, a vaccine unapproved by U.S. regulations but available in Europe, to control the outbreak. A second phase of the vaccine will be available for students in February, which Princeton officials hope students will take advantage of even though the virus is “highly unlikely” to spread during the holidays.
‘Stressed’ Student Stages Harvard Bomb Hoax
How far would you go to avoid taking your finals? For a Harvard University sophomore, the answer to countless hours of presumably futile study was to email Harvard’s police department and stage a false bomb threat. 20-year-old Eldo Kim may have been eventually released on bail, but not before the evacuation of four campus buildings, an investigation led by federal security agents and an interrogation by the C.I.A.