New York University on Wednesday issued a series of guidelines and rights for the workers who will be employed in constructing the institution's new campus in Abu Dhabi. The rights wouldn't generally be exceptional in the United States, but go far beyond the way many workers are treated in the region. Employees are assured eight-hour days, overtime will be voluntary and compensated, passports and other documents will be retained by the employees, health insurance will be provided, and so forth. The announcement follows concern from some at NYU's main campus that the workers employed in the Middle East would not be treated appropriately. The Associated Press quoted officials with Human Rights Watch as praising NYU's pledges as "precedent setting" for the region and "a huge step forward."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The province of Saskatchewan has cut all funding for First Nations University, which is a Native Canadian institution supported jointly by the provincial and federal governments, The Globe and Mail reported. The move follows a series of financial scandals as well as censure by Canada's national faculty organization.
A majority of the postdoctoral researchers at the the University of Massachusetts campuses at Amherst, Boston and Dartmouth have signed cards seeking union representation -- and by doing so they have triggered the right for their union to engage in collective bargaining. The new union is affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The UMass unit is the first to represent postdocs in Massachusetts.
The University of North Florida has served notice that it intends to fire Tayeb Giuma, a tenured electrical engineering professor currently facing battery charges and who an investigation found to have a history of bullying and intimidation, The Florida Times-Union reported. A letter from the provost to Giuma cited his Sept. 25 arrest, after a contractor said he was attacked during a dispute -- an attack captured on film by a security camera. "Your behavior on Sept. 25, 2009, demonstrates that your past tendency of threatening behavior and violence toward others continues even to the present," the letter said. Giuma did not respond to requests for comment.
More than 41 percent of students who took Advanced Placement tests last year failed to earn at least a 3 (on a scale of 1-5) that would be considered a passing grade, according to an analysis by USA Today. The high failure rates, according to the newspaper, raise questions about the strategy of the College Board and many states of encouraging greater use of the AP program, especially in schools where students may not receive adequate preparation. College Board officials maintain, however, that increasing failure rates are inevitable as more students take the exams, and that the overall failure rates are rising on some of the tests and falling on others.
The Yuba Community College board on Wednesday voted to revoke a controversial $29,000 raise for Chancellor Nicki Harrington, News 10 reported. Board members said that they were starting a process to award a new raise, and that they acted because questions have been raised about whether their earlier vote to award the raise violated state open-meetings requirements. Board members said that they didn't believe they had violated the law, but wanted to remove any doubts. Many faculty and student leaders have spoken out against the raise, saying it was inappropriate at a time of deep budget cuts at the California community college.
In the latest budget cut, City College of San Francisco has called off summer session. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that many students are frustrated, given that they have been closed out of classes in the rest of the academic year and have been hoping to catch up by taking courses during the summer. While some surrounding community college districts have summer sessions, they give priority to their own students and may not have much room for those from San Francisco.
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.
Southwestern College, a community college in California, has been placed on probation by its accreditor, which issued a harshly critical report on the institution. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the report said that the accreditor cited serious problems with governance, morale and learning. The college was in the news last year for, among other things, suspending four instructors without pay, following a campus rally criticizing the administration's handling of budget cuts. Faculty leaders said that the accreditor's report backed up the criticisms they and student leaders have been making. College leaders said that they were working to remedy the problems and were confident the college would get off probation.