Sarah Palin made her controversial appearance Friday at a fund-raising dinner of the foundation of California State University at Stanislaus. Pro-Palin and anti-Palin protesters held rallies outside, but she spoke without incident, the Los Angeles Times reported. Critics said that Palin was too divisive a figure and too expensive ($75,000 plus expenses) to be the focus of a university fund-raising event. University officials defended the selection, saying she would draw a (paying) crowd, which she did. After expenses, the university has at least $200,000 from the event for scholarships and other programs.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Erskine College and the leaders of its sponsoring denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, have reached a compromise over control of the college, The Greenville News reported. Under the compromise, a church order to remove many trustees will be lifted, while various lawsuits will be dropped. Some church leaders have been frustrated by what they see as a failure of the college to uphold religious teachings, while many faculty members and alumni are concerned that the church leaders were trying to limit academic freedom. Erskine recently named a new president, David A. Norman, who has said he believed compromise was possible.
Mark Robinson, vice chancellor of student development at the City College of San Francisco, has filed a suit accusing Chancellor Don Griffin of blocking him from getting a college presidency in Arizona by refusing to answer a recruiter's questions, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The suit also accuses an associate dean of calling Paradise Valley Community College and telling people there that he was being investigated for sexual harassment and embezzlement. Sources at the college told the newspaper that Robinson was investigated for sexual harassment, but not embezzlement. Robinson -- who has been placed on leave -- says that an investigation cleared him and that he wants to return to work. But college officials say that the inquiry only cleared him of violating federal laws, and that the investigation did not reach a final determination. The board chair said: "Right now, he's still an employee. He hasn't been cleared ... and he hasn't been dismissed."
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief in the current lawsuit over gender equity in athletics at Quinnipiac University, suggesting skepticism of the university's claim that "competitive cheer" should be counted as a sport -- which would help the university argue that it is meeting its obligations to female athletes under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The brief does not rule out the possibility that the activity could be a sport, but suggests close examination of whether the squad and its competitions are treated in ways comparable to other sports.
President Obama announced Sunday that the United States and Indonesia would spend $160 million on programs to encourage educational exchanges and joint programs between the two countries. An essay in Inside Higher Ed by Cameron H. Hume, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, called for American colleges to expand ties to Indonsian students and institutions.
Legislative leaders in New York are balking at some key parts of Gov David Paterson's budget proposal -- including his plan to give more control over tuition rates and the use of tuition revenue to the State University of New York and the City University of New York systems, The New York Times reported. While the budget battles aren't quite over, that measure is not part of a budget package legislative leaders have put forward.
Both the University of Oxford and Durham University currently have Ph.D. students being detained in Iran on charges widely viewed as political. An article in The Guardian details the very different responses from the two institutions, with Oxford taking an assertive stance on behalf of its student and Durham (as an institution) staying largely quiet and warning that publicity could endanger its student.
The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 5-4 Friday to appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's finding that the university lacked the authority to ban concealed weapons on its campuses. A statement from the board said: "While individual members of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, like members of society, have differing views on the issue of concealed carry of weapons, the decision to appeal the case is about the board’s authority to govern CU campuses as outlined in the Colorado Constitution. The board believes it is in the best position to make decisions about the learning environment on CU’s campuses." Students for Concealed Carry on Campus denounced the decision, issuing its own statement, which said: "By pursuing a costly legal battle with slim odds of success at the expense of the university – students, faculty, staff and ultimately parents and taxpayers – the CU Board of Regents continues to prove its willingness to put personal politics and authority ahead of the greater good of the entire college."
Many American colleges, citing the violence tied to drug gangs in parts of Mexico, are skipping summer programs there, The New York Times reported. While the violence is very real in parts of the country, some academic experts believe that -- depending on where the programs would be in the country -- the caution may be excessive. Geoffrey E. Braswell, an associate anthropology professor at the University of California at San Diego who plans to lead students on a visit to central Mexico in the fall, told the Times: "To make an analogy, I would not have considered taking students to Mississippi during the early 1960s or to Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention, but other parts of the U.S. were of course safe for travel. Mexico is that way.”
The United Methodist Church has lifted sanctions and will restore funds to the Claremont School of Theology, the Los Angeles Times reported. Methodist leaders had been concerned that the theology school's recently announced programs for non-Christian clergy suggested a move away from a traditional mission of training Methodists. But Claremont officials agreed to use church funds only on programs focused on Methodist teachings, and said that they would have a separate structure for the programs about and for members of other faiths.