Faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have voted, 233 to 87, to unionize. The vote follows one last week at the university's Superior campus. Both units will be affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of California is seeking $500 million in savings by consolidation and coordination of administrative functions such as purchasing, the Los Angeles Times reported. University leaders said that the changes would represent a cultural shift for a system where campus independence has been highly valued, but they stressed that the push to centralization was on non-academic issues.
The University of Florida has cleared a professor of any wrongdoing in the case of two graduate students who filmed documentary work for their degrees in Haiti when the university had banned travel there by students, The Gainesville Sun reported. The university inquiry found that the students made the decision to go to Haiti on their own and that the faculty member didn't provide university resources. The university initially barred the students from using the material they shot in Haiti, but backed down amid criticism that the ban was a violation of academic freedom.
Members of a Louisiana legislative committee let drop proposed legislation that would have severely restricted the activities of law school clinics in the state, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported. The decision by a state senate panel, which came after two hours of debate, was a major (and unusual) setback for the state's powerful chemical industry, which had taken aim at an environmental law clinic at Tulane University that it viewed as hostile to its interests. Tulane's president, Scott Cowen, forcefully defended the clinic at Wednesday's hearing.
A coalition of academic associations issued a joint statement Tuesday condemning Arizona's new immigration laws. The policy "threatens to inflame anti-immigrant sentiments and undermine constructive solutions to the challenges faced by communities in Arizona and across the nation. We call upon the governor, legislators, and people of Arizona to work diligently and swiftly to repeal these laws," says the statement. "Our organizations include members from fields including sociology, criminology, political science, peace studies, psychology, anthropology, environmental studies, Chicano/a studies, and a multitude of related areas of study. Our collective membership numbers more than 10,000 scholars, educators, and activists, with many residing in Arizona. The decision to join together in issuing the open letter below represents an unprecedented and historical moment of collaboration."
The groups endorsing the letter are: the American Studies Association; the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association of Arizona State University; the Justice Studies Association; Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social; National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies; Native American and Indigenous Studies Association; Peace and Justice Studies Association; Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Society for the Study of Social Problems; and Sociologists Without Borders.
Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, this week nationalized Santa Inés University, a private institution, boasting to students that tuition would now be free, the Dow Jones News Service reported. Many students aren't pleased in the least. Carlos Chavez, a student leader who is not related to his president, said, "He's going to impose his revolutionary, Marxist, socialist agenda on us students, and he'll kick out good professors who allow us to study capitalism."
The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.
Sen. Arlen Specter's defeat in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Pennsylvania will end a political career in which the senator was frequently a key ally of advocates for biomedical research and education. Specter, a Republican until last year, was for many years the ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over spending on education programs and the National Institutes of Health -- and he backed spending increases in both areas, in particular for the NIH. Joe Sestak, who defeated Specter, doesn't differ from him significantly in views on those issues.
The Boston Globe explores the case of Adam Wheeler, the former Harvard University senior who used fraudulent materials to gain admission, to ask the question of whether admissions systems are too trusting. The article notes that many leading universities engage in relatively limited verifications of materials.
The officers and board of the American Historical Association on Tuesday issued a statement calling on the Texas State Board of Education to reconsider history standards that have been widely criticized for attempting to put a conservative spin on history by adding and subtracting certain people and ideas. The AHA statement said that the state's standards are inconsistent with national standards and with what Texas school children learn in the early grades. As but one example, the historians said that the Texas standards are "almost entirely discounting the importance of human activity in North America before the British colonization of the Atlantic Coast." Offering a comparison to science, the AHA statement said that "no curriculum in chemistry would be of much value to students if it made arbitrary selections and deletions among the elements to be studied; if the focus were to be on oxygen with hydrogen omitted, then students would be at a considerable disadvantage when it came to understanding water."