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."
Higher Education Quick Takes
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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.
A Canadian government effort to better finance leading scientists has attracted four leading British scientists to accept positions in Canada, setting off fears of a brain drain in Britain, The Guardian reported. The University of Alberta lured two of the scientists -- one from Durham University and one from the University of Oxford.
Nylink, a library cooperative program that is part of the State University of New York, but that also serves libraries in the City University of New York and those at private colleges, is folding. “Unfortunately, the revenue just isn’t there any longer, and we have no choice but to wind down operations,” said a statement from W. David Penniman, executive director of Nylink. “We are working with our staff, vendors and members to ensure a smooth transition over the next 12 months.”
A Texas grand jury has indicted four former Texas Lutheran University football players for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in an alleged attack on a football player from the University of the Incarnate Word -- at a party in the fall not long after Incarnate Word defeated Texas Lutheran at football, The Gazette-Enterprise reported. The local district attorney describe the deadly weapons involved: “A deadly weapon is anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. In this particular case, we alleged the hands and feet of the perpetrators as deadly weapons due to the brutal way in which they were used in this particular assault,” she said. “When deciding to allege that the hands and feet were utilized as deadly weapons, we look at all the circumstances, including the number of assailants, the injuries inflicted, the area of the body the injuries are located and the helplessness of the victim.”
Jewish leaders are criticizing the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for failing to respond adequately to incidents that took place during an April 29 celebration of the anniversary of Israel's independence. During the event, a person protesting the event was arrested for assaulting one of the organizers. Also, pro-Palestinian students chalked the area where the event was to take place with anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian statements. According to the Jewish organizations, the chalkings also included a swastika. "The events -- including the image of the swastika -- were reported in the media. Jewish students on campus expressed fears for their safety; some said they no longer felt safe and welcome on the UWM campus, cited other anti-Semitic incidents and, sadly, spoke of giving up the display of their religious symbols on campus," said the statement from Jewish leaders in Milwaukee. They went on to say that "a strong statement" condemning the actions taken against the pro-Israel group had not been made by the university.
On Monday, Carlos E. Santiago, the chancellor at Milwaukee, did release a statement. (A spokesman said that he had held off in hope of being able to issue a joint statement with the Jewish leaders, but respected their right to release their own statement.) In Santiago's statement, he said that he wanted to "reaffirm the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a place for the free exchange of ideas and perspectives. Such exchanges, however, should be made in a civil, peaceful and constructive manner. UWM does not tolerate violence as an expression of any viewpoint." He said that he would encourage the creation of "programs that will enhance our campus community's commitment to a culture of safety, civility and respect in the exchange of ideas and opinions."
However, Santiago declined to condemn the chalkings -- in part because he said a swastika was never verified as part of that protest. He said that after officials learned of the chalkings, administrators went to the area. "At the time of the inspection, no members of the administrative team saw any evidence of a swastika. The messages that were seen represented protected political speech, and, therefore, were left undisturbed. I want to emphasize that chalking on university property that crosses the line of free speech to create an atmosphere of harassment for students of any race, religion, nationality or other protected status will not be tolerated."
An adjunct who was fired from his job at Northwest Arkansas Community College is getting his position back, the Associated Press reported. Terry Phillips lost his job after he made critical comments to a newspaper about a local judge who had been arrested. Phillips said he was "appalled" that the judge had not resigned. The judge's wife is a member of the college's board, the AP said. However, the adjunct is now being rehired.
Robert Felner, a former dean of education at the University of Louisville, was sentenced Monday to 63 months in prison for defrauding the university and the University of Rhode Island, where he had worked previously, of $2.3 million and for tax evasion, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. In a plea agreement in January, Felner pleaded guilty to nine federal charges. Many professors complained that the university for years ignored complaints over Felner, who was highly successful at attracting grants and attention to the education school before the investigations of his conduct started.