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Quick Takes: Contentious Search Collapses at Monroe CC, More Charges at WVU, Turning Their Backs on Schlafly, Baylor President's Future, Political Scientists Reconsider Site of Meeting, Rosemont Considers Admitting Men, RPI Extends Aid, Guns at Calvin

May 19, 2008
  • A controversial search for a new president of Monroe Community College, in New York, ended Saturday in stagnation. The board deadlocked, 5 to 5, over two candidates -- one a local businessman and one a local lawyer, both with Republican Party connections, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Both of these individuals were finalists over the objections of faculty groups and the original search committee, which favored candidates with experience running community colleges. A third finalist, who received no votes from board members despite having such experience, was Laurence Spraggs, president of Broome Community College. The board will now ask the State University of New York to recommend candidates to serve on an interim basis after August 31, when the contract of R. Thomas Flynn, the retiring president, expires.
  • Two professors at West Virginia University have filed a grievance saying that they were informed their offices would be moved the day after one of them called for the resignation of Mike Garrison as president, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. University officials deny that retaliation was behind the move, but the grievance is the latest sign of faculty distrust of the administration due to a scandal over the the awarding of a degree she did not earn to the governor's daughter. Garrison called off plans to speak at graduation events over the weekend, although he did attend. In a statement to the Associated Press, he said: "I think it's important for everybody to note, and particularly the president of the university, graduation is not about me. Graduation is not about anybody except our students and their faculty who got them to where they are today, helped them get to where they are today. We want to focus on the students. I certainly don't intend to be a distraction."
  • Hundreds of graduates and faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis turned their backs to the stage Friday when the university awarded an honorary doctorate to Phyllis Schlafly. Critics said it was inappropriate for a university that educates women for careers to honor a woman who had repeatedly denigrated women who hold jobs outside the home and questioned the need for bans on gender bias. Others questioned how a university with major biomedical research programs could honor a woman who tried to lobby against teaching evolution. Schlafly told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she was honored by the degree. She called those who protested "juvenile," adding: "I'm not sure they're mature enough to graduate." Schlafly praised the university for sticking by the plan to honor her, despite intense criticism. But she said she was disappointed that in Chancellor Mark Wrighton's speech, when he named some of the career paths new graduates were embarking on, he did not include homemaker.
  • Rumors are swirling at Baylor University that the president, John Lilley, is fighting to hold onto his job. Baylor's Board of Regents met Friday and officials of the board would not comment on reports that they discussed whether Lilley should remain in his position, The Waco Tribune-Herald reported. Lilley has angered many professors by rejecting departmental tenure recommendations this year -- in a way that critics say amounted to his unilaterally changing the rules for tenure consideration after candidates had submitted their portfolios. In the days before Friday's regents meeting, Lilley reversed some of his earlier decisions and said he would grant tenure to 7 of the 12 he had earlier rejected.
  • The American Political Science Association is seeking members' views on whether to relocate its 2012 annual meeting, currently scheduled to be in New Orleans, because of Louisiana's ban on gay marriage. Several associations in recent years have relocated meetings due to labor issues at convention hotels, and others avoid certain cities based on their states' policies. But such changes have been expensive for associations, which typically select meeting sites years in advance, and face fees when they change plans. New Orleans has been a popular site for many academic meetings, and some groups have moved meetings there, post-Katrina, as a gesture of support. An e-mail message to political scientists urging that meeting be moved, and a critical response, may be found here.
  • Rosemont College, a Roman Catholic women's college outside of Philadelphia, is considering admitting men, the Associated Press reported. Many alumnae and students oppose the change, but the AP reported that enrollment fell to 342 this spring, down 18 percent from 2005, and the college faces a deficit.
  • To encourage students to consider five year bachelor's/master's programs, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is extending financial aid awarded for undergraduate degrees to co-terminal bachelor's/master's programs, which means that a fifth year of aid will be awarded.
  • Over the objections of some students, Calvin College has given permission for safety personnel to carry handguns on campus, The Grand Rapids Press reported. Students argued that the guns are inconsistent with the nonviolent teachings of Jesus.
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