None of Arizona’s Three Universities Ranked Within Top 100 of Best National Universities

None of Arizona’s Three Universities Ranked Within Top 100 of Best National Universities

By Corinne Murdock |

Of nearly 400 national universities, none of Arizona’s three public universities broke the top 100 on the latest rankings of national universities. The lowest-ranked school was Northern Arizona University (NAU) at 288, followed by Arizona State University (ASU) at 117, and then University of Arizona (UArizona) at 103. 

This data came from the U.S. News 2022 college rankings.

NAU tied for their 288 ranking with 10 other schools, barely eking out a ranking at all. After 288, U.S. News ranked each school without specificity in a range of 299 to 391. Among those not given a specific ranking were University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University.

The 10 schools tied with NAU were Dallas Baptist University in Texas, East Tennessee State University, Long Island University in New York, Marshall University in West Virginia, Middle Tennessee State University, Portland State University in Oregon, South Dakota State University, University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Puerto Rico – Rico Piedras, and University of Texas at Arlington.

NAU averaged a six-year graduation rate of 55 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (61 percent) than those who did (50 percent).  

NAU’s median starting salary for alumni is $48,100, and average an acceptance rate of 82 percent. 

ASU tied for their 117 ranking with four other schools: Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York, University of South Carolina, and University of Vermont. 

ASU averaged a six-year graduation rate of 69 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (71 percent) than those who did (59 percent). 

ASU ranked 1 for most innovative school, 10 for best undergraduate teaching, tied at 54 for top public schools, tied at 70 for best colleges for veterans, 139 for best value schools, and tied at 179 for top performers on social mobility.

ASU’s median starting salary for alumni is $54,400, and average an acceptance rate of 88 percent.

UArizona tied for their 103 ranking with 13 other schools: Clark University in Massachusetts, Creighton University in Nebraska, Drexel University in Pennsylvania, Loyola University Chicago in Illinois, Miami University in Ohio, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Saint Louis University in Missouri, Temple University in Pennsylvania, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Illinois Chicago, University of San Francisco in California, University of South Florida, and University of Tennessee Knoxville. 

UArizona averaged a six-year graduation rate of 64 percent, with those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant doing better (68 percent) than those who did (59 percent). 

UArizona tied at 46 for most innovative school and for top public school, tied at 62 for best colleges for veterans, ranked 122 for best value school, and tied at 143 for top performers on social mobility.

UArizona’s median starting salary for alumni is $55,600, and average an acceptance rate of 85 percent. 

The top ten national universities were, in order: Princeton University ranked at 1; Columbia University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology tied at 2; Yale University ranked at 5; Stanford University and University of Chicago tied at 6; University of Pennsylvania ranked at 8; and California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University tied at 9. 

The remaining three of the eight Ivy League schools — Brown University, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College — fell outside the top 10 but ranked within the top 20. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

ASU Launched $40 Million California Campus

ASU Launched $40 Million California Campus

By Corinne Murdock |

A little but major piece of Arizona was planted recently in the downtown of California’s largest city. Arizona State University (ASU) expanded their operations to include a Los Angeles campus last fall through their ASU Local initiative. The new campus offers a hybrid of online and in-person learning.

ASU President Michael Crowe explained to the Los Angeles Times that the number of those rejected from University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) drove the decision to establish ASU in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times partnered with ASU to offer 20 self-paced online courses; subscribers have the added perk of 25 percent off other online courses. 

The satellite campus moved into the historic building that once housed the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. ASU celebrated the launch with a tour of the facilities last August. The well over 87,000 square feet making up the satellite campus, dubbed the latest “ASU California Center,” cost $40 million to renovate. Construction began in September 2020, ending just ahead of the open house last August.

ASU California Center students receive a 20 percent discount on the online, nonresident tuition, which can range from $13,000 to $16,000 annually. Efforts to establish this Los Angeles location launched officially in 2019. 

ASU Local also has locations in Washington, D.C. and Yuma. Like the newly-established Los Angeles campus, the D.C. campus was settled in a historic building that came with a similar price tag: $35 million. 

ASU began expanding into California over a decade ago. In 2013, ASU announced its other ASU California Center in Santa Monica. They have also accrued partnerships with 116 California community colleges to ensure students advance to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

ASU Preparatory High School Program to Push Woke Ideologies on Taxpayer’s Dime

ASU Preparatory High School Program to Push Woke Ideologies on Taxpayer’s Dime

By Corinne Murdock |

The latest endeavor from Arizona State University (ASU), a full-time online high school that awards university credits, offers a curriculum focused on woke ideologies on the taxpayer’s dime.

The bulk of the program relies on daily seminars in addition to online lessons, small-group tutorials, and peer tutoring. The sample of seminar subjects challenge students on ethical norms, such as editing the human gene pool, freedom of speech versus “freedom of reach,” social media moderation, and life extension. The seminars are student-led and supported by learning guides and guest experts.

All this at no cost to students who are Arizona residents. Instead, the state covers the cost. Students in other states would pay close to $10,000 a year, and students outside the country would pay nearly $13,000. 

The program, ASU Preparatory Academy’s Khan World School, is poised to launch in August with 200 students to start. If all accepted students were Arizona residents this fall, that would cost taxpayers anywhere from $2 million to $2.6 million.

Rather than tests, the academic model emphasizes discussion with teachers, peers, and “industry experts” for learning and assessment. Students advance through a mastery-based model. At the end of the program, students will receive a transcript with final grades for college admissions and scholarships. 

Specifics on curriculum weren’t offered. The program asserted that each student would receive their own custom plan. 

Governor Doug Ducey called the program a “groundbreaking innovation.” 

“Choice in education works and Arizona leads the nation in school choice!” tweeted Ducey. 

ASU offered a quiz for students to determine their fit for the program. Only one of the seven questions related to academic competency. 

The first question asks the student to select the desk that best represents their mind: “Albert Einstein’s Mess,” “Marie Curie’s Order,” or “Katherine Johnson’s Spotless.” The second question asks the student what time their alarm wakes them up: before the sun, before lunch, before dinner, or “lol, what alarm?”

A third question asks the student how many books they read in a month: none, one or two, or three or more. A fourth question asks the student who they turn to for answers: Google, their friend, their family, or themselves. A fifth question asks the student which animal best describes their learning pace: slothful, steady, or sprinting. 

It’s not until the sixth question that the student is asked about something to do with core subjects. The student must answer a math question about where the vertex of a parabola would fall.

The seventh question reverts to a social question about the student’s way of thinking versus that of their friends. 

The online lessons are a mix of Khan Academy and ASU course content. In order to be admitted, students must be entering their freshman year of high school, proficient in Algebra I, earned grades A or B in 8th grade Math and English Language Arts, and in possession of a computer with a web camera and internet access. Algebra I proficiency appeared to be measured by proof of program completion. Other than that, admissions doesn’t require a GPA or any other academic standards.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Democrats: January 6 Disqualifies Arizona’s GOP Candidates From 2022 Midterm Election

Democrats: January 6 Disqualifies Arizona’s GOP Candidates From 2022 Midterm Election

By Corinne Murdock |

A Democrat-backed nonprofit wants State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley), Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), and Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) disqualified from the upcoming midterm election for organizing the January 6 protest. 

Arizona State University (ASU) law professor and legal expert Ilan Wurman told “The Conservative Circus” that the lawsuit not only misinterprets constitutional law but represents the bad habit of both parties to weaponize the Constitution.

“Just after the Civil War, this clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was enacted to prevent individuals who had been office holders, federal and state office holders, who had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, who then seceded from the Union, unconstitutionally seceded from the Union, and then took up arms against the government of the United States. By the way, that is an insurrection,” explained Wurman.

The nonprofit, Free Speech for People, invoked the Fourteenth Amendment to argue that Finchem, Biggs, and Gosar were responsible for the U.S. Capitol intrusion because they helped organize the preceding protest.

The lawsuit against Finchem, Biggs, and Gosar is part of a national campaign to “ban insurrectionists from the ballot” under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment: the “14Point3 Campaign.” Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14) and Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11) also face lawsuits under the campaign. Last month, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled in favor of Cawthorn. 

Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment reads as follows:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” 

The nonprofit behind the lawsuit, Free Speech for People, also filed another lawsuit last month against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) concerning the debunked Russiagate collusion.

Finchem called the lawsuits “desperate.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Retirement Home Built Next To ASU Entertainment District Wins First Round In Noise Complaint

Retirement Home Built Next To ASU Entertainment District Wins First Round In Noise Complaint

By Terri Jo Neff |

For now, the residents and developers of a 20-story retirement community recently built in the heart of ASU’s flourishing entertainment district have silenced live music at a popular club, but the owners of Shady Park Tempe promise to appeal.

Mirabella at ASU is located across the street from Shady Park, a popular eatery – dance club where live music has been offered since 2015. But on April 13, a Maricopa County judge imposed several restrictions on the business, making it impossible for Shady Park to hold live music events, according to a company statement.

For its part, Shady Park sees an appeal of Judge Brad Astrowsky’s ruling as the only option to save the business after all these years.

“We remain hopeful that the court system will correct this injustice and that our appeal will allow us to once again host live music and provide a bit of joy and happiness to thousands of people every week,” the statement reads.

And owner Scott Price warns Shady Park will be forced to close down for good if Astrowsky’s ruling is upheld on appeal.

“This is because the revenue from shows is vital to our ability to pay for the other business operations,” Price said of the ruling, adding that “the power and influence of ASU was too much for us to overcome.”

Shady Park and other clubs in along East University Avenue have been in operation long before the Mirabella at ASU project broke ground. And there is no one who does not know that clubs and noise go hand in hand, particularly in a college community.

But ASU President Michael Crowe saw an opportunity to attract developers interested in taking advantage of ASU’s property tax exemption. Mirabella opened in December 2020 while several restaurants, clubs, theatres, and other “nightlife” businesses remained shuttered due to the economic effects of Gov. Doug Ducey’s various public health  executive orders.

Once Shady Park reopened in May 2021, the folks at Mirabella complained about the noise. Price shutdown the live music while a canopy was constructed to help with the noise, but more complaints flooded in once live music started up again in September.

The lawsuit filed in October sought a preliminary injunction against Shady Park to prevent live music events which exceed Tempe’s “community standards” for noise. Then just before Astrowsky conducted a trial in February, Mirabella at ASU offered Shady Park “a large sum of money to close down and agree to let them take over our lease,” according to Shady Park.

The trial left many legal observers comparing the Mirabella residents to those who complain about noise after moving into a neighborhood that is in an airport’s well-established flight path.  But the judge sided with the newcomers, ruling that residents made a substantial showing of harm caused by the Shady Park live concerts.

Astrowsky also faulted the efforts Shady Park took to address the noise complaints, saying there was “no credible evidence” that the canopy mitigated the noise. 

“Shady Park never consulted an acoustical engineer or acoustic consultant,” the judge ruled.  “Further, Shady Park did not perform any testing to determine how effective the canopy was at containing sound.”

Astrowsky was also not impressed with Shady Park’s arguments of the financial damage to the business if forced to turn down its music or construct an enclosure “to acoustically seal” the venue. The evidence presented about the impact was merely that of “speculative harm,” he ruled.

To rub salt into the wound, a post-ruling statement by Mirabella at ASU noted the “relief” Astrowsky brought to its residents and the surrounding community.

“We hope the court’s ruling results in peaceful coexistence moving forward and a celebration of a community that is inclusive and respectful of all,” the statement reads in part.

Shady Park says it has ceased all live music operations, “as the restrictions mandated make it impossible for us to hold live music events.” It could take a few weeks before an expedited appeal can be heard, leaving the company without vital revenue.

In the meantime, the ASU Foundation is benefiting richly from Mirabella at ASU, despite the impact to the local community and culture. It is a situation that is garnering scrutiny for other decisions by ASU, the Arizona Board of Regents, and President Crowe for using public tax-exempt property to benefit private businesses.

The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that a lawsuit filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich against the Regents and ASU can move forward to trial. In that case, the attorney general contends the 16-story Omni Hotel Tempe built on tax-exempt public property violates the Arizona Constitution’s Gift Clause prohibition on providing public monies for the benefit of non-public enterprises.

A jury trial about the ASU – Omni deal could be held as early as Spring 2023.