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Quick Takes: Antioch Layoff Letter Angers Alumni, Journalism Professor's Plagiarism, Boating Accident Kills Colby Official, Compassion at Clemson

November 13, 2007
  • The good feelings didn't last long at Antioch College. When Antioch University's board announced this month that the college would continue under certain conditions, university administrators and alumni leaders praised a new spirit of good will. But a few critics at the time suggested that the university's demand that financial exigency remain in place, combined with a decision not to recruit new freshmen, set up a situation dangerous to the college and its faculty. Late last week, the interim president of the college, Andrzej Bloch, sent a letter to faculty stating that their employment after this academic year would be limited. "It is likely that a significant number of the current faculty will NOT be re-employed for the 2008-2009 academic year," he wrote, suggesting that professors "plan your personal and professional lives accordingly." The letter was published by The Antioch Papers. a Web site that focuses on leaked documents from the college. Nancy Crow, president of the alumni board, issued a statement calling for Bloch to retract the letter, which she said violated pledges by university leaders to work with faculty, alumni and others. "This combative approach to academics is anathema to all of us," Crow wrote. The interim president's letter "is in no way collaborative, accurate, respectful of tenure, nor in any way a part of the shared vision for Antioch College."
  • A journalism professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia has had his column dropped by a newspaper that trains student journalists there, after administrators found that he had plagiarized his weekly column from a student newspaper, Editor and Publisher reported. John C. Merrill, a professor emeritus at Missouri and a former faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University, among other institutions, apologized for having used quotes and phrases from a student's article in The Maneater in his weekly column in the Columbia Missourian, a community newspaper that is staffed by students at Missouri's highly regarded journalism school.
  • A longtime admissions official at Colby College drowned over the weekend when a boat he was in with several family members capsized, the Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine, reported. Thomas Kopp, 69, the senior associate dean of admissions at Colby, had worked at the college for nearly 30 years as a football coach and admissions official. Kopp's son and three grandsons survived the accident.
  • Clemson University students announced Monday that they will not burn the mascot of the University of South Carolina mascot in effigy this year, out of respect to the six South Carolina students and one Clemson student who were killed in a house fire last month. Anastasia Thyroff, a senior who is co-chair of the committee planning the pep rally, said in a statement: "During this time of grieving, there needs to be a time of celebration, not a time of rivalry. We look forward to having the traditional Big Thursday come back next year, but this year was definitely not the right time.”
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