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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:

Oregon State University Revises its President Search

Following the controversy around the hiring of F. King Alexander as OSU president that ultimately ended in his resignation after less than one year in the position, the school’s board of regents committed to a more open process in finding its next candidate, eliciting public input before final decisions are made. The board held workshops, surveyed campus community members, and initiated a formal review of previous processes to inform what could be done differently. 

Most recently,  this revised search process now includes a public announcement of finalists who are slated to visit campus for public forums later this month.

Schools Struggle to Keep Up With Mental Health Crisis

Despite investments universities are making into mental health research and on-campus resources for students, many are still struggling to keep up with evolving campus community needs.

For example, according to The Hechinger Report, the University of Iowa doubled the size of its counseling staff between 2016 and 2019 and increased the number of hours spent on outreach to students by 123% between 2013 and 2021, yet shifting perceptions of counseling, staff turnover, and other factors exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a “relentless” demand of services.

George Washington University Naming Under Fire

On Monday, George Washington University senior Caleb Francois published an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing the school is in need of a name change as part of better addressing “systemic racism and inequality still present on campus.” Francois cited low rates of Black professorship and the fact that the school has never had an African-American president in its 200-year history as just some of the proof points of missed opportunities by campus leaders to address these concerns.

Responses to the article were mostly critical of renaming the school, with prominent mentions mostly mocking the piece for being published by an outlet sharing the same namesake.

Quick Reads:

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 Minnesota ended its mask mandate today, citing consultation with public health experts and “current conditions” in an announcement shared by the Office of the President.
      • Fox 9 – 622 engagements
    • Fordham University in New York received backlash from parents after announcing that proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for families of students to attend the school’s outdoor spring commencement ceremony
      • CBS New York – 88 engagements
    • Drake University in Iowa reportedly asked undergraduate students living on campus to “move out as soon as possible” following a surge of COVID-19 infections.
      • Iowa Public Radio – 59 engagements

Trending topics by % increase

Donor Relations: 

    • May 09 | NBC Washington | 1.5K Engagements: “Students graduating from historically Black school Wiley College in East Texas were told at their commencement ceremony that an anonymous donor had paid their college loan balances.”
    • May 04 | KSL Sports | 270 Engagements: “The University of Utah announced baseball alumnus C.J. Cron donated a significant gift to the baseball program Wednesday morning. Cron became the Utes’ first-ever first-round MLB draft pick in 2011 and has been an avid supporter of the program ever since.”


Student-Athlete Misconduct: 

    • May 08 | On3 | 777 Engagements:Kentucky Football’s star running back was arrested on Sunday morning. According to the Kentucky arrest report, Chris Rodriguez was booked at the University of Kentucky police department for careless driving, having no tail lamps, and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.”
    • May 09 | The Huff Post | 389 Engagements: “An Arizona State University football player allegedly struck and killed a 23-year-old New Jersey woman while driving drunk in Scottsdale, police said. Stanley Lambert, a 22-year-old defensive end for the Sun Devils, was slapped with two DUI-related charges after he fatally hit Norah Bruther as she tried to cross Camelback Road just after 1 a.m. Saturday, cops said.”


Facilities Arms Race: 

    • May 07 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | 68 Engagements: “I asked my friend Rob Ruck, the Pitt historian who cares passionately about sports and academia’s discomfiting role in it, where he saw all of this going. The parentheses are his:“NIL and the portal accelerated these trends in college sport where the elite become even more elite,” he emailed. “There’s already an arms race in facilities and coaching staffs, which is creating a widening gap among schools. But the combination of NIL and the portal is lethal”
    • May 05 | USA Today – Duckswire | 60 Engagements: “The new era of college athletics is a world where a school’s name, image, and likeness collective is almost as important as the facilities on campus. You could easily argue that the NIL collectives are more important since many incoming recruits will more likely decide on which school to attend based on what they can get paid, rather than on where they spend their time.”



    • May 06 | CBS News | 9.2K Engagements: “A former fraternity president has pleaded guilty in the hazing death of a Bowling Green State University student. Daylen Dunson, 22, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty Thursday to several charges, including reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, obstruction and eight counts of misdemeanor hazing. The charges stem from the March 2021 death of Stone Foltz, a sophomore from Delaware, Ohio.”
    • May 04 | Who Radio | 30 Engagements:Iowa State University is suspending the Men’s Cyclone Hockey Club, after accusations of hazing. I-S-U plans to investigate the hazing reports, as well as the club’s finances and oversight by Recreation Services.”

Trending topics by total volume

Cost of Attendance: 



    • May 05 | Twitter | Eric Feigl-Ding | 4.8K Retweets:OMICRON IS NOT MILDER—Huge study by Harvard scientists finds #Omicron variant is **not intrinsically milder**, in a study of 130,000 people. “We found that the risks of #COVID19 hospitalization & mortality were nearly identical”—just as my team warned.🧵”
    • May 09 | Twitter | Hilary Koch | 821 Retweets: “In the last three weeks, over 20% of Colby College’s students have contracted COVID. Its response has been to reduce the isolation period, not reinstate mask mandates, & Colby announced today it will no longer require COVID testing. It is required only for those symptomatic.🤦‍♀️”



    • May 07 | 247 Sports | 1.9K Engagements: “An NCAA subcommittee is working to pass a new initiative that would expedite the organization’s ability to enforce rules against certain NIL practices.”
    • May 05 | Twitter | Pete Thamel | 367 Retweets: “NEW: Star BC WR Zay Flowers tells @ESPN he turned down a pair of six figure offers via NIL companies — $600,000 to one school and $300,000 to another — to enter portal and transfer. He explains why he stayed loyal to BC for his senior year”


Mental Health: 

    • May 05 | Twitter | Spencer M. Jones | 392 Retweets: “The mental health of college students, especially Black college students, is not addressed enough. You honestly never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Please check on your strong friends.”

Trending universities/colleges by % increase

University of San Diego: University President ▲Academics

    • May 10 | KPBS | 51 Engagements: “The University of San Diego welcomed a new president for a day on Tuesday. Miguel Hornedo is a USD senior graduating as a psychology major with a minor in theology and religious studies. He assumed the ceremonial leadership position, Tuesday, starting with a morning hike through Tecolote Canyon with the permanent university president, James T. Harris.”


University of Buffalo: ▲Free Speech

    • May 05 | Twitter | Pheben Kassahun | 916 Retweets: “Int’l relations researcher Meaza Gidey Gebremeadhin: “The worst humanitarian crisis is not happening in #Ukraine. It’s happening in #Tigray…” “…If we don’t do anything, there will be a time where the entire region of Tigray will be exterminated.” #TigrayGenocide @UBuffalo
    • May 05 | Twitter | Hermela Aregawi | 657 Retweets: “We all know this is ludicrous. TAKE ACTION: *Don’t* email the contacts on flyer. They are pro-TPLF students. Email Prez Tripathi @UB_President & let him kindly know what is happening. DRAFT LETTER YOU CAN USE HERE: @UBuffalo #BreakTheSilence #NoMore”


Emory University: ▲Campus Safety

    • May 05 | FOX 5 Atlanta | 1.2K Engagements: “A Druid Hills High School student faces serious charges after bringing a gun onto campus, police said. The incident prompted lockdowns at the high school, Emory University’s main campus, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s main campus.”


Auburn University: Athletics 

    • May 07 | University of Tennessee Sports | 1.3K Engagements: “No. 12 Tennessee softball took both games of a Saturday doubleheader against No. 16 Auburn to secure a top-4 seed and a double-bye to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals next week in Gainesville, Florida. The Lady Vols topped the Tigers 5-2 in game one before rounding the DH with a 7-4 victory featuring four home runs. The two wins secured UT’s fifth SEC series victory of the 2022 campaign.”
    • May 10 | Auburn Tigers | 588 Engagements:Postseason softball has arrived as No. 17 Auburn softball (39-14) kicks off the 2022 SEC Tournament against No. 24 Missouri (33-19) Wednesday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.”

Trending universities/colleges by total volume

Harvard: Free Speech Discrimination

    • May 10 | CBN News | 1.9K Engagements: “Dozens of Harvard faculty members are condemning the university’s Harvard Crimson student newspaper for its editorial board’s support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.”
    • May 11 | Twitter | Kenny Xu | 644 Retweets:Harvard’s economist, David Card, argues that Asian Americans deserve a lower personality score because of “unexplained factors” in admissions. Asians score highest on teacher recs, alumni recs, second highest on counselor recs, lowest on personal score. Explain, please.”


Stanford: ▲Unions ▲Free Speech Discrimination

    • May 06 | Daily Caller | 2.9K Engagements: “A Stanford University professor slammed California’s proposed Math Framework for being “false” and “misleading.” Brian Conrad, Stanford University mathematics professor and director of Undergraduate Studies in Math, did a deep dive into the California Math Framework (CMF), which he laid out on his website. The proposal frequently contradicts the findings of academic studies its writers cite, according to Conrad’s analysis.”
    • May 10 | NPR | 2K Engagements:Stanford University officials say an investigation is underway after a noose was discovered this week hanging from a tree outside a residence hall.”
    • May 06 | Twitter | Bernie Sanders | 1.5K Retweets: “Congratulations to the resident doctors at UVM, UMass and Stanford who have voted, overwhelmingly, to unionize. These doctors believe its unfair to their patients and themselves when they are forced to work up to 80 hours a week at very inadequate pay. They’re right.”


The University of Texas at Austin: ▲Mental Health ▲Buildings & Monuments

    • May 05 | FOX 7 Austin | 427 Engagements: “A petition is collecting signatures to convince the University of Texas at Austin to erect a small statue or plaque in honor of beloved campus cat Domino.”
    • May 09 | Twitter | Life of Janal | 353 Retweets: “this makes me so sad, @UTAustin @JCHartzell you should be ashamed for kicking out small business owners that have done nothing but help the community. Students please visit Poke Bay on guad for their last few weeks <3”
    • May 09 | KVUE | 252 Engagements: “Nearly 1 in 3 UT Austin students surveyed are food insecure, report says. According to the report, food insecurity at UT disproportionally affects students of color, first-generation students and LGBTQ students.”


University of Florida: Athletics ▲Financial Performance

    • May 05 | The Gainesville Sun | 1.2K Engagements:Performance funding from the state may be on the line for the University of Florida if the public institution doesn’t comply with the state’s new instructional guidelines outlined in the “Stop Woke Act.” Over each of the past three years, UF has received approximately $100 million in performance funding, all of which could now be at stake.”

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