A graduate student has sued the University of Kentucky, saying he was unfairly fired from his job at the university's medical center because he had a handgun in his car, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The car was parked on campus and the student had a permit, but he was fired under university regulations barring anyone from having a gun on campus (with exceptions for law enforcement, military training, or athletic programs that use weapons). His status as a student has not been affected by the gun dispute.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on Tuesday approved a plan for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to absorb the Southern New England School of Law, a freestanding, private institution. Massachusetts residents will gain a public law school under the plan, which university leaders pushed. But critics -- including some at the state's private law schools -- questioned the move.
British authorities have found that the former registrar of the University of Surrey and of the University of Bath offered African women fake degrees if they would let him spank them, The Times of London reported. He claimed that he was seeking their assistance with a "pain management" study, but that was not the case. Karl Woodgett, the former registrar, pleaded guilty to charges of making false instruments (the university degrees) and of possessing items used for fraud.
In theory, "Argyle," the new sculpture installed at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, is about fabric and textiles. But many on the campus see something phallic in the 10-foot work of art. See this photograph from The Tuscaloosa News and judge for yourself.
A panel commissioned by Emerson College issued a highly critical report about race at the institution -- while also not finding overt bias against black faculty members, The Boston Globe reported. "There are to be found at Emerson unexamined and powerful assumptions and biases about the superiority, preferability, and normativeness of European-American culture, intellectual pursuits, academic discourse, leadership, and so on," the report said. The biases result in "disproportionate undervaluing of African Americans and the disproportionate overvaluing of European Americans," it added. The report was commissioned amid complaints that only four of Emerson's 117 tenured and tenure-track faculty are black. Of the three who are tenured, two were promoted only after they sued.
The College of William and Mary is preparing to phase out a policy that granted automatic raises of 8 and 7 percent to faculty members in their last two years before retirement, The Virginia Gazette reported. The policy -- in which these professors are removed from the merit review process for raises -- was designed as an early retirement incentive. But officials said that they reviewed the process out of concern that the system limited funds available for raises for others.
Vanderbilt University on Monday issued a statement that suggested it has only limited ties to its Muslim chaplain, Awadh A. Binhazim, whose comments at a campus forum -- videotaped and since posted on many Web sites -- have led to considerable criticism. Asked about Muslim teachings that have been used to justify executing gay people, Binhazim says that he accepts such teachings. Vanderbilt's statement said that there "has been some confusion as to Binhazim's role at Vanderbilt. He is the Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt, a volunteer position. He is not a professor of Islam and is not associated with Vanderbilt University Divinity School. He has adjunct associate professor status at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in pathology. This position, which carries no teaching or research responsibilities, is also unpaid." The university didn't comment directly on his comments, but said that no view in the forum "should be construed as being endorsed by Vanderbilt. The university is dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. It is the belief of the university community that free discussion of ideas can lead to resolution and reconciliation."
Edward Waters College, in Florida, has imposed new confidentiality requirements on just about everything that takes place on the private college's campus, with possible fines of $5,000 a day for violations, The Jacksonville News reported. Former employees are also covered by the new requirements. Michael Freed, Edward Waters' general counsel, said: "The sad reality is that sometimes a former employee has a burning desire to embarrass their former employer, and that can harm everyone involved."
La Sierra University's Faculty Senate has unanimously adopted a resolution defending the biology department at the Seventh-day Adventist university, which is being criticized by some for teaching evolution. The text of the resolution appears in The Adventist. The resolution notes that "certain off-campus persons" have tried "to dictate" the contents of the science curriculum. The resolution says that the faculty leaders affirm "our commitment to the preservation of academic freedom with intellectual and moral integrity in the context of our heritage, and service as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian University."
The new career path for athletics director of big-time programs is in the business world, not college sports, The New York Times reported. The article examines a string of hires -- most recently the new director of the University of Michigan's sports program, who is moving there from being chief executive of Domino's Pizza -- that reflect the shift.