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Quick Takes: Labor Leader for Labor College, Expansion Disputes, Kaplan Expands in China, Penn Prof Pleads Guilty, Med School Ends Use of Live Dogs, Uproar at Oxford, Transgender Homecoming King

November 27, 2007
  • William E. Scheuerman, president of the largest academic union in the United States, was named Monday as the next president of the National Labor College, which offers a range of academic programs for union workers. Scheuerman has for the last 14 years been president of United University Professions, which represents 33,000 faculty members and other employees at the State University of New York.
  • Town-gown disputes over colleges' expansion plans are heating up coast to coast. City College of San Francisco has been sued by Chinatown residents hoping to block a new building in their neighborhood, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. College officials have said that the new facility is essential to efforts to serve students in the area. In California's Riverside County, residents are hoping that a recent court ruling will block expansion plans by the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, The Press-Enterprise reported. And in New York City, Columbia University's expansion plans won approval (with some modifications) from a key city panel, but more reviews -- and lawsuits -- are expected, The New York Times reported.
  • Kaplan Inc., which operates both test prep businesses and its own postsecondary programs, on Monday announced a major expansion in China. Kaplan is buying a majority stake in a company that trains students across China to prepare for entrance to British universities and a majority stake in the Sino-British College of Shanghai. In addition, Kaplan signed an agreement to provide training in finance and economics to students at the Southwest University of Finance and Economics, in western China. Kaplan's growth -- in the United States and abroad -- is important to its owner, The Washington Post. Washingtonian magazine reported this month that the Post earned just over 50 percent of its revenues from Kaplan during the period covered by the most recent financial statements issued by the company.
  • Rafael Robb, a tenured professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania, on Monday pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in bludgeoning his wife to death last year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Robb's plea came on the day his murder trial in the case was scheduled to start. A spokesman for Penn told Inside Higher Ed that the university's only comment at this time is to say: "We have been in touch with his lawyer and have asked for his immediate resignation." Robb has been on leave.
  • New York Medical College, following sustained protests from animal rights groups, has announced that it will stop using live dogs to teach its students cardiology, and will instead use simulation tools, The Journal News reported.
  • Students and others broke through security lines, forcing delays and room changes for the appearances of David Irving, a Holocaust denier, and Nick Griffin, a former Holocaust denier who leads an anti-immigrant party in Britain, at the University of Oxford, The Guardian reported. Both men were able to give their speeches. The university issued a statement noting that the invitations were issued by the Oxford Union, a student-run group over which the university has no jurisdiction.
  • Andrew Gomez, who is in the process of shifting from being a woman to a man, was elected homecoming king at Pasadena City College this month, but had to fight for his crown. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that Gomez was originally declared ineligible by the organizing committee, but the election stood after students protested that denying the title to Gomez would have amounted to discrimination.
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