Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

A major educational exchange organization has been notified that its Moscow office is not in compliance with a Russian law governing foreign nongovernmental organizations. The American Councils for International Education, which last year sent 580 American students and scholars to Russia and 1,200 Russians to the U.S., expects there will be minimal disruptions to its exchange programs as it applies for re-registration of the office.

“We do not expect any interruption at all for study abroad programs for American students. And because this year’s recruitment is already completed for the inbound programs, if we can be reincorporated in the next two months, the impact should be very small,” said Dan E. Davidson, the president of the American Councils.

The organization has directed a moratorium on the activities of its Russian offices, which primarily focus on student recruitment, alumni relations, and back office functions. Davidson said that the organization had passed a compliance review in January but was re-reviewed in March, at which point the interpretative guidance surrounding the law on international NGOs seems to have changed. He said it seemed likely that deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russian governments over Ukraine may have triggered additional scrutiny of the council’s activities there. “For me, it’s very hard to see it any other way,” Davidson said. “These programs have served both countries well.”

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 4:35am

David Rosen announced his resignation Thursday as president of the Kendall College of Art and Design, amid student protests on his behalf, MLive reported. Rosen did not give a reason for leaving, after only two years in office, but said that he was doing so voluntarily. But students and other supporters believe he is being forced out, and they are demanding that he be retained. Kendall was founded in 1928 as a free standing art college, but the Grand Rapids institution became part of Ferris State University in 2000.

 

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

The American Studies Association announced Thursday that its membership has grown by 700 since the group took the controversial measure of adopting a boycott of Israeli universities. The association says that it has gained more membership revenue in the last three months than in any three-month period over the last 25 years.

 

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

Indiana University announced Thursday that it will increase the minimum wage paid to university employees to $8.25 an hour, up from the current minimum of $7.25, the federal minimum wage. About 8,750 employees at Indiana campuses -- many of them students -- currently are paid minimum wage. "Indiana University depends on the hard work of many part-time and temporary employees on all our campuses, and this much-deserved pay increase is one way we can recognize their important contributions to the success of IU," said President Michael A. McRobbie. "Many of these employees also are students at IU, and increasing their pay is consistent with our commitment to student affordability and accessibility."

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

Families' overall savings are up 7 percent from last year, but the picture is mixed on college savings, according to a new report by Sallie Mae. The total average savings is now $115,604, but 53 percent of that total is earmarked for retirement, while only 10 percent is set aside for college for children. During the last year, savings for college by middle- and upper-income families went up, but the value of savings by low-income families dipped.

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

A University of Connecticut sorority has been suspended while it is being investigated for hazing not of women, but of men, The Hartford Courant reported. The newspaper reported that the Delta Zeta sorority was "accused of forcing men involved with a school fraternity to consume alcohol, eat dog treats, paint their bodies, wear women's thong underwear and take shots of alcohol off each other's bodies, among other things."

 

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

Tel Aviv University is shutting down its French department, shortly after the University of Haifa made the same decision, Haaretz reported. Michele Bokobza Kahan, a French studies professor at Tel Aviv University, said: “We don’t have enough students and have very few faculty members. We cannot maintain the department like this. We work very hard to provide the students with what they need and it was very moving to see their reactions and how sad they were.”

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Scott Kirkton of Union College explains his work on the biochemistry that triggers a grasshopper's molting process. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 3:00am

As expected, Northwestern University on Wednesday filed a brief asking the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington to review a regional NLRB decision that football players are employees of the institution and should be allowed to unionize. “Northwestern presented overwhelming evidence establishing that its athletic program is fully integrated with its academic mission, and that it treats its athletes as students first,” the brief says. “Based on the testimony of a single player, the regional director described Northwestern’s football program in a way that is unrecognizable from the evidence actually presented at the hearing.”

The brief notes that Northwestern awards four-year athletic scholarships (optional and uncommon, under NCAA rules, which allow one-year renewable ones), and provides primary or secondary medical coverage for all athletes for up to a year after their eligibility expires. The brief also says the majority of rules that athletes must follow (regarding things like hazing, academic dishonesty and drug use) apply to the student body at large.

The athletes’ secret ballot vote to unionize under the College Athletes Players Association is scheduled for April 25, but could be delayed if the full NLRB issues a stay on the regional decision.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 4:25am

Students at Washington University in St. Louis on Tuesday started an outdoor sit-in, pledging to camp out on campus until the university cuts ties to Peabody Energy, a coal company. The company's CEO, Greg Boyce, has been a donor and serves on the board. Further, the students object to research that they say falsely suggests that the environmental issues associated with the use of coal can be minimized. They are vowing to continue their protest until the university position changes.

The university issued a statement affirming the right of the students to protest, but defending research related to coal. "Washington University ... is a significant contributor to finding solutions to the world¹s energy challenges. Our researchers are focused on making alternative energy sources more viable," the statement says. "Our researchers also are focused on mitigating the environmental impact of the use of coal, including approaches to capturing and storing carbon dioxide that accompanies combustion of any fossil fuel. It is this dual approach that will allow us to address the greatest global issues of this century. As a world-class research university, Washington University not only has the potential, but the responsibility, to participate in finding those solutions."

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