Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 3:00am

The Faculty Senate at the State University of New York at Albany has voted to condemn the administration's plans to phase out degrees in French, Russian, Italian and classics, The Albany Times-Union reported. The Senate passed resolutions calling for the decision to be reversed, and also criticizing the way the university made the decision in the first place. At the time Albany announced the plans, officials said that faculty had been consulted, but declined to specify how that took place. Some faculty members at the Senate meeting called for the university to finance languages through cuts in athletics budgets. A spokesman for the university said that officials would review and consider the Faculty Senate's views.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Many students and others at Brooklyn Law School are angry over a photo shoot by the fashion line Diesel in the library, The New York Post reported. The law school expected tasteful photos of people in an environment of books and learning, but found instead near naked models rubbing themselves against each other and various parts of the library. One female student, referring to a shot of two women in their underwear climbing on some computer equipment, told the Post: "It's gross. I work on those computers every day!" The Post article features a link to some of the scenes shot by Diesel.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Federation for the Blind has filed a complaint with the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights charging that technology-based services at Pennsylvania State University lack access for blind students, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The complaint is broad-based and covers everything from the library catalog to course-management software. University officials said that they hadn't yet reviewed the complaint and so could not comment on it. The complaint comes at a time of increased scrutiny by advocates for the blind of technology services in higher education.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 3:00am

After five years without a single student suicide, the College of William and Mary has had three this year, leading to much campus discussion and new efforts to reach students who may be experiencing depression, The Washington Post reported. Much of the discussion focuses on the high standards students set for themselves, and fear that students who have been academically successful may not feel comfortable seeking help.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 3:00am

About 200 students have admitted cheating on a test for a senior-level business course at the University of Central Florida, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The cheating was so widespread that the instructor said students who admitted to their involvement before taking a re-test would not face normal punishments.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 3:00am

A freshman has been charged with simple assaults and indecent exposure after knocking more than 1,000 books off the shelves of a library at North Carolina State University, while naked, last week, The News & Observer reported. Several students filmed the incident. Here is one such video showing the damage, the students who watched and filmed it, and (briefly) the student himself (from behind).

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 3:00am

The Community College League of California wants the state’s two-year institutions to award one million more certificates and degrees by 2020. The group of community college presidents says this ambitious pledge -- which it plans to roll out next week with a series of recommendations on how to get there -- constitutes California’s share of President Obama’s goal of producing an additional five million community college graduates in the coming decade. To reach the statewide benchmark, the group says each of the state’s 112 community colleges will need to boost its average annual completions from 1,200 to 3,500.

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Laine Tadlock lost her job as director of an education program at Benedictine University because a local paper ran an announcement of her wedding to a woman, The State Journal-Register reported. Tadlock maintains that the Roman Catholic institution fired her, but university officials say that while they determined that she could not stay in her job, they offered her another one, which she declined. She maintains she wasn't qualified for the other job, but the university says that this means she resigned and was not fired. Tadlock was married in Iowa, which fully recognizes gay marriage. The university -- which has received backing from Catholic officials in the area -- said that it knew of her sexual orientation for some time, but that it could not employ her in her position after her wedding announcement noted her place of employment.

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Maclean's is facing considerable criticism for an article suggesting that some top (white) Canadian students are avoiding certain universities for fear that they are "too Asian." The article relies on quotations from anonymous white students saying things like: "The only people from our school who went to U of T were Asian. All the white kids go to Queen’s, Western and McGill." (U of T refers to the University of Toronto, by any measure a top Canadian university.) The article also features some quotes from Asian students, who report on experiences such as this one at the University of British Columbia: “At graduation a Canadian -- i.e. ‘white’ -- mother told me that I’m the reason her son didn’t get a space in university and that all the immigrants in the country are taking up university spots,"

The article suggests that "the dilemma is this: Canadian institutions operate as pure meritocracies when it comes to admissions, and admirably so. Privately, however, many in the education community worry that universities risk becoming too skewed one way, changing campus life -- a debate that’s been more or less out in the open in the U.S. for years but remains muted here. And that puts Canadian universities in a quandary. If they openly address the issue of race they expose themselves to criticisms that they are profiling and committing an injustice. If they don’t, Canada’s universities, far from the cultural mosaics they’re supposed to be -- oases of dialogue, mutual understanding and diversity -- risk becoming places of many solitudes, deserts of non-communication. It’s a tough question to have to think about."

Many reader comments -- and some outside critics -- say that the article is promoting racist stereotypes, while others say that the article is bringing attention to an issue that needs public discussion. The (New York City-based) blog Jezebel ran a commentary on the article with the headline: "Yes, Calling a School 'Too Asian' Is Racist."

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 3:00am

Stacey Franklin Jones is quitting as provost of Bowie State University today, only months after she started and a month after a faculty vote of no confidence in her leadership, The Montgomery Gazette reported. Faculty members said that they were excluded from decision making. A statement from the president, Mickey Burnim, praised Jones for "significant contributions."

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