Molly Easo Smith has resigned as president of Manhattanville College, after two years in office, The Journal News reported. A statement Wednesday, announcing her resignation on Tuesday, said that she had achieved many of the goals that had been set when she was hired. But she has also seen several controversies, including protests last year over the resignations of two popular administrators.
Higher Education Quick Takes
West Virginia University sent 15,000 people a message -- intended for only 688 -- telling them that they were no longer eligible for various financial aid programs, The State Journal reported. The university is not sure how many of the 15,000 people actually received the message, since some are former students who wouldn't have had cause for alarm, but the university sent out a correction and apologized for the confusion.
When Richard McCormick announced this week that he is retiring from the presidency of Rutgers University, he spoke of his excitement about returning to a faculty position in history. The Star-Ledger reported he is assured by his contract that his salary as a faculty member will be $335,000, not exactly a standard history professor's pay. That's because his presidential contract contains a provision stating that, should McCormick ever return to teaching at Rutgers, his salary could be "no less" than that of the highest paid faculty member in the system. The new salary, however, will be less than his current one as president, $550,000.
The University and College Union, the main faculty union in Britain, has again (kind of) endorsed a boycott of Israel. Past endorsements of boycotts have been widely criticized by academics (including those who criticize Israel's policies) as antithetical to academic freedom. Some have also said that the union lacks the legal authority in Britain to call for a boycott. A spokesman for the union said in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that it would be incorrect to say that the union had called for a boycott. The actual resolution calls on the union to "circulate to all members" the call for a boycott by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, but does not actually call for a boycott. A statement from Academic Friends of Israel scoffed at the distinction between calling for a boycott and distributing a call for a boycott. “If UCU distributes copies of the Palestinian boycott call to its members ... it is effectively asking them to participate in the boycott," said a statement from the group.
Cornell University has proposed replacing temporary fences on the bridges over gorges that are omnipresent on the campus with wire mesh nets. The fences were installed last year after a cluster of suicides -- in which students killed themselves jumping into the gorges -- stunned the campus, and led to debate over whether fences were needed. The university said it needed to take action to stop suicides, but many complained that the fences were a constant reminder of the suicides and marred the natural beauty of the campus. A statement from Susan Murphy, vice president for student and academic services, said: "We've taken care to submit designs that will preserve the aesthetic value of the bridges and vistas. We believe the designs also will make vulnerable members of our community feel safer and reduce the incidence of a highly lethal and potentially contagious form of suicide."
The question of whether law schools are adequately preparing their graduates for jobs after graduation -- and accurately informing them -- has been fodder for hunger-striking protesters and other critics. Now those issues are a matter for the courts, as a recent law graduate has sued California's Thomas Jefferson School of Law in state court, National Law Journal reported. The class action filed by Anna Alaburda alleges that "[f]or more than 15 years, TJSL has churned out graduates, many of whom have little or no hope of working as attorneys at any point in their careers," and that the school's placement statistics "were false, misleading, and intentionally designed to deceive all who read them." A spokeswoman for Thomas Jefferson told the legal newspaper that the institution follows American Bar Association guidelines on placement data and that its statistics are accurate. "This lawsuit is very much about a larger debate. This is part of the debate about whether it's practical to pursue a graduate degree in these difficult economic times," the spokeswoman said.
In a highly unusual move, the president of Hocking College on Tuesday sent out an e-mail newsletter in which he attacked his board and said that its members were trying to undercut him, The Athens News reported. Ron Erickson, the president of the Ohio college, said that board members were micromanaging decisions, ignoring agreements on how the president and board could work together and planning to replace him. Board members denied wrongdoing, and some criticized the president for making a public statement as he did.
The American Federation of Teachers released a report Tuesday on how colleges, universities and faculty unions can help recruit and retain women professors. The authors review data illustrating that women comprise a relatively small share of the faculty (both in various disciplines and overall) even though they represent the majority of undergraduate students and doctorate-earners. The paper also lists several policies and approaches that administrators can pursue to better promote gender equity in the professoriate. It is the second in a two-part series of AFT papers on diversity; the first examined racial and ethnic diversity.