The University of Cape Town, once an institution of apartheid, is having an intense debate over the use of affirmative action in admissions, The New York Times reported. Supporters and defenders both cite statistics and ethics. Those who favor affirmative action note that even with admissions help, white students outnumber black students at Cape Town two-to-one in a country where 79 percent of the population is black and 9 percent is white. Others note graduation rates. Just over half of black students graduate in five years, while four of five white students do so.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A class action charges that the University of Miami discriminates against minority job candidates by conducting credit checks on prospective hires. The suit charges that this policy is a form of illegal discrimination because members of some minority groups are more likely than white people to have had credit problems, but that these issues have no relevance on many jobs. The lead plaintiff says she was offered a job as a senior medical collector at the university but was told -- after quitting her previous position -- that a credit check meant she could not take the position. The Associated Press reported that university officials declined to comment.
Opponents of for-profit colleges were surprised -- and perplexed -- when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, joined in a chorus of criticism of Congressional Democrats' tactics in investigating the commercial higher education providers. Late last week, they seized on news reports saying that the group's director, Melanie Sloan, was leaving to work with Lanny Davis, the former Clinton administration official who has been among those at the center of the Washington defense of the for-profit sector.
Alan Garcia, president of Peru, announced on Friday that Yale University has committed to return a collection of artifacts from Machu Picchu in early 2011 -- possibly ending years of negotiations and legal threats over the pieces, which were taken by a Yale team that excavated the area a century ago. Peru has long disputed Yale's assertions that the artifacts were taken legally. While some of Peru's past statements about Yale have criticized the university, Friday's announcement contained some praise. "The Peruvian government welcomes this decision and recognizes that Yale University preserved these artifacts, which otherwise would have ended up scattered in private collections around the world or would have even disappeared. We also acknowledge the studies that have been made along all these years," the statement said.
Yale issued a statement Sunday night in which it confirmed the agreement. "Yale University is pleased and proud to have reached an accord with the Government of Peru which is now in the stage of being formalized. Under it, as an expression of good will and in recognition of the unique importance that Machu Picchu has come to play in the identity of the modern Peruvian nation, Yale will return, over the next two years, the archaeological materials excavated by Hiram Bingham III at Machu Picchu nearly a century ago. Those pieces suitable for museum display will be sent in time for the centennial celebration commemorating the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu by the Yale-Peruvian Scientific Expedition of 1911."
The statement continued: "Yale is particularly pleased that President Alan Garcia has requested the University of Cusco to receive and be the depository of the objects, and in that way it will serve as the new academic home and context for the collection. Yale looks forward to concluding an agreement with the University of Cusco to establish the collaborative arrangements for a new museum and research center that will carry out programs of research, educational exchanges, and public exhibitions. This collaboration will ensure that Yale's values in conserving the collection, studying the material and disseminating new knowledge will be extended in a new phase, and in a spirit of friendship with the people of Cusco and the nation of Peru."
A campaign has started to bring a tribal college to California, which hasn't had one since D-Q university lost accreditation and closed, The Sacramento Bee reported. The effort is being led by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, which has funds available because it runs the Cache Creek Casino Resort. Nineteen tribes in California have endorsed the effort.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is worried about the fairness of a search for the next University of Massachusetts system president, in which the front-runner is apparently Martin Meehan, a former member of Congress who is chancellor of the UMass campus at Lowell, The Boston Globe reported. Two leaders of the university board will defend the search process and try to reassure the governor about the search in a meeting today.
Alumni of the Tau Epsilon Phi are suing the national organization, claiming that it is making unreasonable demands on chapters and refusing to hold national elections, The New York Times reported. The number of chapters has shrunk by about two-thirds during the tenure of the current executive director, who declined to talk to the Times about the lawsuit. A judge last week ordered a new election for the organization.
A 19-year-old woman in her first year at St. Mary's College of Indiana killed herself nine days after she reported that she had been sexually attacked by a football player at the neighboring institution, the University of Notre Dame, and campus officials did not report her allegations to the authorities investigating the woman's death, the Chicago Tribune reported. Notre Dame records show that a sexual assault complaint was filed, but university officials declined to comment on how they handled the investigation and why they didn't share information about it after the woman killed herself. After the story appeared on Sunday, Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame football coach, said in a conference call with reporters that the matter was one for the university, not the football program, to handle. While the Tribune hasn't identified the football player who was accused, the newspaper said that he remains on the team.
The 32 American students announced Sunday as winners of Rhodes Scholarships included the first-ever winners from Ursinus College and the University of California at Irvine. Three winners each were named from Harvard and Stanford Universities and the University of Chicago.
A course at Seton Hall University on gay marriage was only taught for the first time this semester amid criticism by Roman Catholic leaders and after a special trustee review. When the course started, the professor was receiving death threats and a security guard had to be posted outside the classroom, but the course is now moving ahead without incident, The Star-Ledger reported. "A couple of students said they are not going to tell their parents they are taking a class like this because they don’t want the controversy," said W. King Mott, the associate professor teaching the course. "But it’s a very lively class." Mott said that the course includes gay and straight students, and that some students oppose some aspects of same-sex marriage. But Mott said that discussions in the course have been respectful.