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Below is the most recent Higher Ed Issues Landscape Report, which uses Canary listening technology to analyze the top conversation trends in higher education and highlights qualitative and quantitative insights on the topics and universities that drove coverage.



What We’re Watching:

UC Berkeley Ordered to Freeze Enrollment


Last week, the California 1st District Court reaffirmed a lower court ruling ordering the University of California-Berkeley to freeze enrollment at the same level as 2020-21 — a 3,050 student reduction and potential tuition loss of $57 million.

The school announced Monday it would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of California, arguing that undergraduate enrollment decreased dramatically during the benchmarked period due to COVID-19 and that complying with the freeze would have “serious, immediate, and irreparable consequences.”

Conversation Trends:

Online News

    • There were 138 articles published around the topic in the past 7 days, totaling 14,333 social media engagements
    • The statement UC Berkeley published to its news site ranked third in social media engagements among all online news mentions and was quoted in each of the top 10 pieces of coverage
      • The opposing group, “Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods,” shared a statement on the same day through a press release and on their owned Facebook page, but received only a handful of mentions from local news outlets
    • The mayor of Berkeley and two city council members published a joint op-ed in the Los Angeles Times suggesting the court order “slams the door on the next generation of students,” and sets a dangerous precedent for all higher education in the state
    • The article received 293 social media engagements


Social Media

    • The most retweeted content on Twitter was negative towards the lawsuit, criticizing the neighborhood association that brought the lawsuit forward and claiming the California Environmental Quality Act includes language that is being taken advantage of 
    • A screenshot of UC Berkeley’s notice to prospective students about the court order was posted by Berkeley’s Vice-Mayor on Twitter, sparking additional outrage from students, parents, and local city officials

COVID-19 in Higher Ed:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact university campuses, we will continue to monitor coverage around emerging trends
    • University of Nevada students are demanding leadership reinstate the campus mask mandate. The students have hosted protests and shared a petition that has received more than 1,500 signatures. 
      • Louder With Crowder – 7.5K Engagements
    • The University of Alabama announced it will remove its mask mandate from most areas of the Tuscaloosa campus, effective Feb. 21. 
      • AL – 626 Engagements
    • Kentucky lawmakers advanced a measure that would end mask requirements even at a school level for all K-12 and public university premises. 
      • Courier Journal – 162 Engagements

Trending topics by % increase

Animal Testing: 

    • Feb 12 | Twitter | PETA | 48 Retweets:Experimenters at @ucdavis traumatize titi monkeys by ripping them away from their partners BECAUSE they’re sensitive, caring, and deeply bonded to one another.”
    • Feb 09 | Twitter | Paul | 45 Retweets: “We are a few miles away from the @univmiami and its @NIH funded laboratory where animals undergo cruel and unnecessary experiments. Join us at @peta‘s somber exhibit ” Without Consent” Text *WRONG to 73822 to urge the @NIH to stop funding cruel experiments on animals.”


Financial Misconduct: 

    • Feb 14 | Sports Illustrated | 1.5K Engagements: “Merl Code peels back the curtain on college basketball’s bribery scandal. The former Adidas executive sentenced to prison discusses deals with Zion Williamson, Brian Bowen, Anthony Davis and more.”
    • Feb 10 | NBC News | 91 Engagements: “A former casino executive who was one of just two parents to go to trial in the sprawling college admissions bribery scandal was sentenced Wednesday to serve one year and one day in federal prison, the stiffest sentence so far handed down in the case, federal prosecutors said.”


Research Misconduct: 

    • Feb 09 | The Washington Examiner | 752 Engagements: “Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called on nearly two dozen U.S. universities to end their partnerships with Chinese universities assisting the Chinese Communist Party ’s military buildup. In letters fired off to 22 schools across the United States, Rubio urged officials to terminate academic and research partnerships with Chinese universities that work with the Chinese Communist Party to support Beijing’s military-industrial complex.”
    • Feb 15 | AP News | 73 Engagements: “The state Senate passed three Republican-backed bills Tuesday aimed at preventing Chinese spies from infiltrating University of Wisconsin campuses, moves that opponents called racist and targeting a nonexistent problem.”


Sexual Misconduct: 

    • Feb 10 | CNN | 3.6K Engagements: “Three graduate students in Harvard University’s anthropology department are suing the school, claiming it failed to protect students from sexual abuse and career-ending retaliation by a professor, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.”
    • Feb 09 | Twitter | Sophie Hill | 153 Retweets: “In 2021, Harvard apologized to Terry Karl and many others who were sexually harassed by Jorge Domínguez, acknowledging “institutional failures”. At the same time, Harvard was doing the exact same thing to the complainants in the Comaroff case! And that’s not the only overlap…”

Trending topics by total volume


    • Feb 14 | Twitter | Vinay Prasad | 551 Retweets: “The saddest thing about COVID19 policy is to watch the zero covid/ mask 2 year olds/ pro vax passport/ pro booster mandate for college kids supporters believe their policies help vulnerable communities, when it does the exact opposite: Serves entrenched interests.”


Cost of Attendance: 

    • Feb 13 | Twitter | Bernie Sanders | 17.8K Retweets: “How does it happen that SoFI, a student loan re-financing company, could spend $625 million to put its name on the LA Rams football stadium when 45 million Americans are drowning in $1.8 trillion in student debt? Today would be a good day for the President to cancel student debt.”


Free Speech: 

    • Feb 16 | Twitter | Adam Paul Laxalt | 91 Retweets: “Compare these Nevada college students to the Nevada elementary students who cheered with joy just last week when they were told they didn’t have to wear a mask anymore This has to be the first time in history that we’ve seen college kids protest for less freedom and less liberty


Campus Safety: 

    • Feb 14 | CNN | 702 Engagements: “Once again, a bomb threat has derailed classes at Howard University — one of more than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities targeted with bomb threats during Black History Month.”
    • Feb 15 | Twitter | Andy Ngô | 342 Engagements: ““Twitter locked journalist [@MatthewFoldi’s] account after he posted footage of a gunman running towards the University of Chicago’s campus and reported on the subsequent police shootout that then sparked calls to defund the university’s police.” #BLM”

Trending universities/colleges by % increase

UC Santa Barbara: Athletics

    • Feb 11 | USA Today | 230 Engagements: “The Oklahoma Sooners started the 2022 softball season off with a bang in their season opener against UC Santa Barbara, picking up the 14-0 run-rule win.”


Pepperdine University: Athletics

    • Feb 13 | Pepperdine Waves | 53 Engagements: “The #5 Pepperdine women’s team won four straight singles matches on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships after defeating #4 California, 4-1, at the Nielsen Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin.”
    • Feb 13 | Twitter | ITA Tennis | 38 Retweets: “The Sooners Are Headed To The Finals  @OU_WTennis takes down Pepperdine 4-2 to advance to their first ever ITA Indoor Championship Final! #WeAreCollegeTennis | #ITAIndoors”


Loyola Marymount University: Athletics

    • Feb 12 | Sports Illustrated | 2K Engagements: “Competing in the Mark Campbell Invitational Irvine, CA, OU downed Loyola Marymount and Mississippi State to move to 3-0 on the season. Up first, the No. 1-ranked Sooners downed Loyola Marymount 5-0, having to complete a full seven innings for the first time this season.”


Rice University: Buildings & Monuments

    • Feb 11 | The Houston Chronicle | 80 Engagements: “Seeking to quell a campus controversy, Rice University plans to relocate the statue of founder and former slaveowner William Marsh Rice from its prominent perch at the center of a well-visited courtyard — but it won’t be going far.”

Trending universities/colleges by total volume

Harvard University: Sexual Misconduct Free Speech

    • Feb 10 | Twitter | Jesse Kelly | 1.7K Retweets: A Harvard professor and CNN analyst calling for the vandalism of vehicles which would incapacitate said vehicles and thus leave them there longer is just so perfect. It’s perfect. The dumbest people in the country can be found in the Ivy League.”
    • Feb 10 | Twitter | Batya Ungar-Sargon | 1.7K Retweets: “After decades of being abandoned by the Left, workers across the world organized the most effective working class protest in recent memory demanding the right to work on their own terms. The response from liberal elites like this Harvard prof/CNN contributor? “Slash their tires.””
    • Feb 15 | News 24 | 283 Engagements:Sexual harassment claims have been levelled against a South African professor at Harvard University. In a statement, the university said that three students lodged complaints against Professor John Comaroff.”


Johns Hopkins University: Buildings Discrimination

    • Feb 11 | The Real News | 633 Retweets: “Seven row houses less than a mile from Johns Hopkins University that are owned by the prestigious university and have been vacant for years are now scheduled for demolition. The plan once the buildings are demolished, Hopkins has said, is to turn the area into “a green space.””
    • Feb 10 | Twitter | Smithsonian NMAAHC | 228 Retweets:Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed and treated for cervical cancer by gynecologist Dr. Howard Jones at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, in Jan. 1951. He discovered a large malignant tumor on her cervix & took a sample of the cancer cells without her consent#BlackHistoryMonth


Purdue University: Police Department Discrimination

    • Feb 11 | Blavity | 6.7K Engagements: “A Purdue University student has released footage on his Instagram accusing a university police officer of police brutality after the officer repeatedly punched and pushed his head into the snow during an arrest. During the video, 24-year-old Adonis Tuggle can be heard screaming for assistance as the cop is on top of him.”
    • Feb 11 | CBS Sports | 5.4K Engagements: “Just two days after reclaiming a share of the Big Ten lead with a convincing 16-point win over No. 13 Illinois, No. 3 Purdue turned in a dud on Thursday night in an 82-58 loss at Michigan. The outcome ends a six-game winning streak for the Boilermakers (21-4, 10-4 Big Ten) and gives Michigan’s NCAA Tournament resume a much-needed boost.”


Louisiana State University: Athletics

    • Feb 09 | Twitter | Brett McMurphy | 409 Retweets: “Most players invited to NFL Scouting Combine: Georgia 14 Alabama, Oklahoma 11 LSU, Texas A&M 9 Arizona St, Cincinnati, Michigan, Ole Miss, Penn St 8 Baylor, Kentucky, Ohio St 7 Iowa St, Oregon, San Diego St, Virginia Tech 6 Arkansas, UNC, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC 5”

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