All Around the Liberal Arts

By Anna Waugh

The ‘Father Knows Best!’ editionWheaton College

This dad’s had enough. After his daughter’s graduation last December, he decided to take action against what he said he sees as the unfair practice of charging students full-tuition plus room and board for a semester when they attend a study abroad program that costs less than the home institution’s standard tuition rate. He’s hired a lawyer, and is suing the Norton, Mass. college.

“Wheaton provides no services whatever for that program,” James P. Brady, the father of a recent graduate at Wheaton College, said. “It’s the crudest kind of commercial gouging.”

There has been controversy over the past year as the sometimes-shady relationships between colleges and study abroad programs have been exposed. The New York Times reported last August that multiple study abroad companies offer substantial financial incentives to colleges, which in many cases limit student options and drive up prices. And in a time in which the number of US students studying abroad has skyrocketed, increasing 8.5 percent last year alone, these policies need to be examined.

This is the first suit of its kind, and if it is successful, it may mean big changes in the study abroad industry. Brady said that if his daughter had directly enrolled in the South African university that she attended during her time abroad, she would have saved $4,400. Of course, the college has a point, too.

“You enroll at a college to receive a diploma from that college, students who want a Wheaton transcript are agreeing to pay Wheaton prices,” said Carl Herrin, a lobbyist and administrator in international education. That may be, but that’s not what the penny pinching parent wants to hear.

University of Michigan

Czech this out! A professor of economics and public policy at this Ann Arbor, Mich., institution could become the next president of the Czech Republic. It turns out that Jan Svejnar received enough votes to qualify him as a candidate in the race for the presidency of this central European country.

In the Czech Republic, the president is not elected by a popular vote, but by receiving at least 140 votes from members of the Czech legislature. Last Saturday, Vaclav Klaus, a Civic Democrat and the incumbent president, received 139 – one vote shy of the win.

“[The candidates] differ widely on many key issues, including climate change and the role of the European Union. Klaus is skeptical of the E.U., while Svejnar wants the Czech Republic to adopt the euro as quickly as possible” reports the Associated Press. Svejnar also supports more vigorous action in the fight against global warming.