Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 7, 2011 - 3:00am

J. Michael Bailey on Saturday issued a new statement, apologizing for the after-class sex act demonstration held for his human sexuality course at Northwestern University, the Chicago Tribune reported. Bailey has up until now defended the act, in which a man used a sex toy to stimulate a naked woman to orgasm, and his new statement continues to say that no harm was caused. However, his new statement also says that he was sorry for "upsetting so many people" and that he would "allow nothing like it to happen again." Further, he said, "I regret the effect that this has had on Northwestern University's reputation, and I regret upsetting so many people in this particular manner. I apologize."

However, the statement also criticized the way the incident has been discussed. "During a time of financial crisis, war, and global warming, this story has been a top news story for more than two days," he said. "That this is so reveals a stark difference of opinion between people like me, who see absolutely no harm in what happened, and those who believe that it was profoundly wrong."

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Baylor University has rejected a student request for recognition of the Sexual Identity Forum as an official student group, KXXV News reported. Students, some of whom are openly gay, want recognition of the group to promote open discussion of sexuality. But Baylor argues that recognition would be inappropriate. Baylor's statement on sexuality states: "The university affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching." Students pledged not to engage in advocacy activities, but that promise failed to persuade the university.

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 3:00am

Could the Bill Gates-Steve Jobs rivalry extend to educational philosophy? Gates last week gave a talk to the nation's governors in which he urged a focus on "categories [of courses] that help fill jobs and drive that state economy in the future." But in a talk last week in which he unveiled the latest Apple products, Jobs urged a broader focus for education -- and specifically praised the liberal arts. "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough -- it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices," Jobs said, according to an account in The Seattle Times.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

After weeks of divisive debate, Bergen County College’s Board of Trustees reached a compromise Wednesday with Kathleen A. Donovan, the New Jersey county executive who threatened to cut local funding for the college if she did not gain the ability to unilaterally remove items from the board’s meeting agendas. Under the compromise, which was approved unanimously by the board, Donovan can shelve agenda items, but they can be put back on the agenda within a month. Pleased with the decision, Donovan told the Bergen Record: “It’s not my job to pick the teachers or interfere with the workings of the college. It’s dollars and cents. It’s about how the money is spent.” E. Carter Corriston, board chairman, released a statement Thursday, stating: "The board looks forward to a partnership with the Bergen county executive that will promote the mutual goal of providing excellent educational opportunities to the students of Bergen Community College at a fair and reasonable cost."

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The trustees of New Jersey's Brookdale Community College placed the president of the two-year institution on unpaid leave Thursday amid an investigation into charges that he had run up significant travel and other expenses that "may not be directly connected to Brookdale or are contrary to Brookdale’s adopted policies," the board said in its statement. Brookdale's president, Peter Burnham, came under fire last week after the Asbury Park Press and other publications reported on his significant benefits and perquisites. Further reviews of the college's budget led to Burnham's suspension and the hiring of an interim president, the board said.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Bryant University's Amber Day examines the rise of political satire and why it is becoming a normal feature of political discourse. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

The 2010 College Racial and Gender Report Card, released Thursday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, gave college athletics a “B” for both its racial and gender hiring practices. The raw scores for both these hiring practices, as determined by Central Florida researchers, increased notably from the previous iteration of the study, in 2008. Accounting for some of the improvement, Richard Lapchick, principal author of the study and director of the Institute, notes in the executive summary that there have been many “well publicized” minority hires to head football coaching positions, in particular. Still, he argues there is much more room for improvement in other athletics positions. For example, all of the conference commissioners of Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) conferences are white men. Also, only 8.3 percent of Division I athletics directors are women.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Harvard University on Thursday announced that it will formally welcome back to campus the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and will discuss similar affiliations with other branches of the armed forces. Harvard officials previously signaled that they would do so once Congress cleared the way for openly gay individuals to serve in the military. Harvard students have had the option of training with an ROTC unit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and they will continue their joint training. But Harvard will now pay some of the costs of the program, provide Navy ROTC with office space and hire a director for the program. A statement from Drew Faust, Harvard's president, said: "Our renewed relationship affirms the vital role that the members of our Armed Forces play in serving the nation and securing our freedoms, while also affirming inclusion and opportunity as powerful American ideals. It broadens the pathways for students to participate in an honorable and admirable calling and in so doing advances our commitment to both learning and service."

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern University, issued a statement Thursday saying that he was "troubled and disappointed" by an after-class presentation in which a naked woman was stimulated to orgasm with a sex toy. Northwestern's first statement after the incident became public defended the academic freedom of the professor who arranged the presentation. But Schapiro's statement was much more critical. "Although the incident took place in an after-class session that students were not required to attend and students were advised in advance, several times, of the explicit nature of the activity, I feel it represented extremely poor judgment on the part of our faculty member. I simply do not believe this was appropriate, necessary or in keeping with Northwestern University’s academic mission," he said.

John Michael Bailey, the professor who teaches the course, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment on Schapiro's statement. But he released a statement to The Daily Northwestern, the student newspaper, about his thinking about the sex toy demonstration.

Friday, March 4, 2011 - 3:00am

Howard Davies has resigned as director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, amid a growing scandal over the school's ties to Libya, Times Higher Education reported. The school's governing council has started an inquiry into the Libya ties, which were nurtured by Saif Gaddafi, who received a Ph.D. from the school and is the son of the country's ruler. Elements of the scandal include allegations of plagiarism in Saif Gaddafi's dissertation, accepting money tied to Libya's government in return for providing advice and training, and a failure until recently to disclose the nature of the relationships.

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