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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:

NC State Votes to Amend Alma Mater


After an approved vote from the school’s Board of Trustees, North Carolina State University announced it will remove the word ‘Dixie’ from its Alma Mater following concerns around its Confederate connotation.

The concerns resulted in an executive task force being assembled to formally review the NC State’s anthem and recommend options for moving forward. Online conversation around the change has resembled what was seen last year when The University of Texas at Austin faced calls to discontinue “The Eyes of Texas” as its school spirit song.

Conversation Trends:

North Carolina State University

    • There were 15 articles published around the topic in the past 7 days, totaling 5,363 social media engagements.
    • Of 837 Facebook reactions collected, 51% loved the news and 37% were angry.
    • Conversation on social media was mostly negative towards the school’s decision. Popular mentions claimed that “cleansing history” is a dangerous practice for universities, criticized the Board of Trustee’s ability to make a decision on behalf of all NC State alumni, and called the move a “token gesture” in replacement of administrative changes.
    • Positive mentions thanked university administrators for their leadership and suggested the school is setting an example that others should follow.


Similarities to and Learnings From The University of Texas Example:

    • While UT ultimately decided not to alter or completely remove the song from its traditions, the school faced similar backlash leading up to and following the decision, including student petitions and boycott threats.
    • UT took several steps to mitigate speculation and criticism around the announcement:
      • The history committee tasked with reviewing the song’s potentially racist past made its full, detailed findings public to supplement its recommendations.
      • To make the findings more accessible, the school shared a video summarizing the report and included interviews with campus community members around the topic.
      • President Jay Hartzell shared a statement that included ways in which leaders will continue to promote diversity on campus and several actions that will be taken to ensure campus symbols reflect university values.
      • UT continues to host a UT News microsite that includes background materials, statements, committee findings, and news articles around the song.

Other Topics We’re Watching:

Faculty Tenure and CRT Debates Collide


In response to The University of Texas at Austin’s Faculty Council recently approving measures to reaffirm the right to teach about critical race theory, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated Friday he will push to end faculty tenure at state public universities to disincentivize the “indoctrination” of students through social justice curricula.

The announcement has fueled an increase in conversation both for and against the measures and has prompted formal responses from several Texas public universities.

University Responses to Lt. Gov. Patrick:

The University of Texas at Austin

    • President Jay Hartzell shared an internal letter to faculty suggesting that removing tenure would “cripple” the school’s ability to recruit and retain talent and would harm students.


Southern Methodist University

    • Michael Harris, chair of the Department of Education Policy Leadership at SMU, published an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle claiming Patrick’s “stunt” could cause irreparable harm for public universities.


Texas A&M University

    • Both the school’s president and system chancellor shared statements with WTAW crediting faculty for the school’s successful research portfolio and ability to solve society’s most pressing problems, and said they look forward to sitting down with state leaders to discuss the role of tenure.
    • A&M’s Faculty Senate Speaker and one other professor were quoted in an article arguing that Patrick’s comments alone “threaten the quality of public higher education in Texas” and that any changes to tenure should be faculty-driven.

COVID-19 in Higher Ed:
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact university campuses, we will continue to monitor coverage around emerging trends
    • The University of Wyoming announced it will end its campus-wide mask mandate following a vote by the school’s Board of Trustees.
      • Cowboy State Daily – 560 Engagements
    • Just 11 days after uploading a video outlining why masks would be required through May 14, Sussex County Community College President Jon Conolly announced that the school will adopt a mask-optional policy starting in March, citing a further review of state health department guidelines.
      • NJ – 247 Engagements
    • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statement last week calling on all public state universities to end their mask mandates, citing the need to protect the freedoms of Alabamians.
      • Alabama News Network – 186 Engagements

Trending topics by % increase

Media Deals: 

    • Feb 17 | Sports Illustrated | 787 Engagements:Media rights for the Big Ten are set to expire in 2023, and one major network is already expected to make a big push to acquire the conference’s television rights from Fox. According to a report from Front Office Sports, NBC is preparing to make a “major push,” for the media rights to Big Ten sports. The conference could reportedly command fees of up to $1.1 billion annually on the open market for one of the most sought-after packages in collegiate athletics.”


NCAA Violations: 

    • Feb 18 | On3 | 559 Engagements: “On Friday, the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors directed the Division I Council to review the impact of NIL on student-athletes. The board met virtually Friday. “We are concerned that some activity in the name, image, and likeness space might not only be violating NCAA recruiting rules, particularly those prohibiting booster involvement, but also may be impacting the student-athlete experience negatively in some ways,” said board chair Jere Morehead, President at the University of Georgia.”


Research Misconduct: 

    • Feb 23 | CNN | 3.9K Engagements: “The Justice Department is ending its three-year-old China Initiative, a national security program intended to thwart China’s intelligence activities in the US, including those aimed at stealing emerging technology from research universities, in the wake of a string of dismissals of cases and complaints that it fueled suspicion and bias against innocent Chinese Americans.”
    • Feb 23 | Twitter | CBS Mornings | 52 Retweets: “Gang Chen, an MIT professor and U.S. citizen, was accused by the DOJ of hiding ties with the Chinese government on a grant application — and of being a spy. The charges were suddenly dropped, but Chen says he’s haunted by the ordeal: “I will never be the same.””



    • Feb 17 | Grist | 232 Engagements: “On Wednesday, student divestment activists from Yale, Princeton, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and Vanderbilt filed legal complaints with their respective states’ attorney generals’ offices accusing their schools of violating the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, or UPMIFA. Every state in the U.S. except for Pennsylvania has passed a version of UPMIFA, which establishes investing principles that nonprofit endowment managers must follow. The students hope the coordinated action will not only pressure their own schools into divesting but potentially set a new legal precedent for all institutional investors.”
    • Feb 18 | Twitter | Todd Simmons | 41 Retweets: “Wow: According to new data released today by @NACUBO and the #NCAT Board of Trustees, A&T had the most endowment growth among ALL higher ed campuses in NC in FY21 AND has the largest endowment among public #HBCUs, now valued at $172.4 million. AND We’re Nowhere. Near. Done.”

Trending topics by total volume


    • Feb 16 | Time | 5.2K Engagements: “With many college campuses approaching 98% vaccination rates among students, faculty, and staff, universities should jettison the strategies they relied on in 2020 and 2021.”
    • Feb 16 | Twitter | Lucy McBride | 1K Retweets: “My tripled vax’d, COVID-recovered, PCR-tested, masked son in college w/ a 99% vax rate got to see the inside of the University’s dining hall for 1st time in *2 yrs* last week. Today? It closed again. Student dining is back to *outside* only – or alone. Socializing limited …🧵”


Cost of Attendance: 

    • Feb 17 | CNBC | 16.8K Engagements: “The U.S. Department of Education has announced it will cancel the student loans of nearly 16,000 borrowers who attended certain for-profit schools, including DeVry University. The relief comes out to $415 million in total.”



    • Feb 22 | Twitter | Dr. Indu Viswanathan | 348 Retweets: “Amplify this . A @RutgersU prof. *with Christian missionary ties in * is making false, xenophobic, Hinduphobic claims about @HinduStudentsC. Rutgers, a public institution, recognizes Hinduphobia and is required by law to uphold Hindu students’ rights under Title VI. Will they?”
    • Feb 23 | Twitter | Libs of Tik Tok | 180 Retweets: “.@binghamtonu claimed they had no idea this professor was engaging in a racist practice called “progressive stacking” Well it was true. They knew. And because they were caught, they now made her change it.”


Free Speech: 

    • Feb 20 | Twitter | Talk Radio | 395 Retweets: “Commentator Sophie Corcoran is running to become president of Durham University’s student union to fight for “free speech.” “A lot of people are terrified that I’m running.” Richard Tice: “They’re terrified of democracy.” @TiceRichard | @sophielouisecc”
    • Feb 16 | Twitter | Andy Ngô | 251 Retweets: “One of the most important reports on #antifa published in the mainstream press: A team headed by an emeritus sociology prof at Penn State analyzed BLM & Antifa protests. They found what I did: Antifa’s presence is the biggest predictor for violence.”

Trending universities/colleges by % increase

Texas Tech University: Athletics


The University of Texas at Austin: Employment

    • Feb 21 | Texas Tribune | 269 Engagements:University of Texas at Austin President Jay Hartzell said Monday that removing tenure for faculty would hurt the university’s ability to hire the best professors, countering a proposal from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last week to eliminate tenure for new hires at all public universities in Texas.”


University of Portland: Athletics


Texas Christian University: Athletics

    • Feb 21 | Twitter | NCAA Basketball | 64 Retweets: “11. Arizona 12. Long Beach State 13. Notre Dame 14. Oregon State 15. Florida 16. Georgia 17. TCU 18. Tennessee 19. Georgia Tech 20. Texas Tech 21. Liberty 22. Maryland 23. Duke 24. Miami 25. East Carolina #NCAABaseball

Trending universities/colleges by total volume

Harvard University: Discrimination Free Speech

    • Feb 18 | NBC News | 3.1K Retweets: A number of student-led groups are speaking out after two posters containing racist messages were stuck on the door of Michael Cheng, president of the undergraduate council of Harvard University, on Monday. ”
    • Feb 21 | The Blaze | 2K Retweets:Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe was forced on Monday to delete suggestions that Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the “Trump wing” of the Republican Party are guilty of treason against the United States.”


Louisiana State University: Athletics

    • Feb 22 | Twitter | PFF Draft | 973 Retweets: “Most NFL Draft picks since 2000: 1. Ohio State – 151 2. Alabama – 137 3. LSU – 133 4. Florida – 125 5. Georgia – 124 6. Miami – 123 7. USC – 117 8. Florida State – 113 9. Oklahoma – 106 10. Michigan – 101”
    • Feb 18 | Twitter | Ian Rapoport | 255 Retweets: “The #Rams requested to interview #LSU passing game coordinator Cortez Hankton for their vacant OC job, sources say. Sean McVay searching far and wide. Hankton now has the same job Joe Brady did at LSU, and before that, he led UGA to first in the SEC in yards per pass attempt.”


Johns Hopkins University: COVID-19

    • Feb 17 | The DC Patriot | 226 Engagements:Dr. Marty Makary who was leading the team at John Hopkins doing the work the CDC and the NIH refused to do, has now lead to a massive revelation. Now studies show that 99% of unvaccinated people known to have Covid infections had a vibrant “natural immunity” that didn’t go away for at least 650 days.”
    • Feb 21 | The Liberty Loft | 99 Engagements: “…PCR tests can be used to secretlyvaccinate” people, which is admitted by a Johns Hopkins University (JHU) publication in November of 2020. No evidence is presented showing that the PCR tests are being used in this way. However, it should be known that they can be used to “vaccinate” as the idea of the ruling class wanting to secretly “vaccinate” people is certainly within the realm of possibility. ”


The University of Texas at Austin: Employment

    • Feb 18 | Twitter | Mike Collier | 265 Retweets: “If @DanPatrick has his way, @TexasTech, @TAMU, @UHouston, and @UTAustin will all see an exodus of our state’s best and brightest, doing irreparable damage to our economy. We will lose thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in business, and forever tarnish the prestige of Texas.”
    • Feb 18 | Twitter | Evan Smith | 139 Retweets: “to be clear: they’ll be attempting to poach from every public university in texas, since @danpatrick means to end tenure everywhere — not just at @utaustin #txlege #tx2022”

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