A federal judge in Texas on Friday granted a temporary injunction allowing two students to wear empty holsters in public spaces at Tarrant County College as part of a national series of student protests this week over laws or policies barring concealed weapons on college campuses. The students -- backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education -- sought the injunction against rules that would have limited them to wearing the empty holsters in a "free speech zone" and not elsewhere on campus. The judge agreed with their claim that they were likely to prevail in their challenge to the strict limits on where they could engage in peaceful protest. But the judge did not extend the injunction to classrooms, where the students remained barred from wearing their empty holsters.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Mark W. Huddleston, president of the University of New Hampshire, last week published a letter in the student newspaper raising questions about how a number of students saw - and did nothing -- during an assault on a fellow student on Halloween night. "We are a community. That means we are supposed to look out for and take care of one another. That didn’t happen Saturday night," he write. "Indeed, aside from the terrible injuries our student suffered, what disturbed me most was the fact that many people observed the assault and did nothing. Absolutely nothing. That is not how a healthy community behaves. While I certainly don’t want anyone to put themselves in harm’s way to break up a fight, choosing to walk past, to stop and observe, or just to ignore an altercation is unacceptable. It takes only a moment to call the police. Such a call can even be made anonymously. Remember: This 21-year-old student is not simply a statistic or a name on a police report. He is someone’s son, roommate and friend. What if he was yours? What if you were he?"
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a 2010 spending bill for many federal science programs that would provide $6.9 billion for the National Science Foundation, including $5.55 billion for research, $122 million for research equipment and facilities; and $857 million for the agency's education programs. In passing the bill, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have eliminated funding for the NSF's political science program -- though the amendment garnered 36 votes.
A state panel has concluded that the University of Vermont and five state colleges in the state should not be merged, the Associated Press reported. The idea of a merger has been much debated in the state as a way to save money, but the panel concluded that the cultures of the university and the state colleges are too different. Instead, the panel suggested that they look for new ways to collaborate on selected programs.
Charles Nemeroff, an Emory University psychiatrist whose work has been highly influential and who has been at the center of a conflict-of-interest scandal, is moving to the University of Miami as its new psychiatry chair. Nemeroff resigned from the chair's position at Emory in December, amid growing Congressional scrutiny of payments he received from GlaxoSmithKline and did not report -- in violation of university rules, which are designed to ensure that federally supported research is not tainted by unknown financial conflicts of interest by researchers. The Miami Herald quoted Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the University of Miami medical school, as acknowledging the controversy, but also calling Nemeroff "an extraordinary psychiatrist and scientist."
Two students -- backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education -- are suing the Tarrant County College District, charging that its limits on rallies are violations of First Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported. The college permits protest activities only in a limited free speech zone, and requires advance permission to schedule events there. College officials say that the rules are consistent with federal and state requirements. But the students say that they are being blocked from engaging in legitimate protest. The students want to rally on behalf of the right to carry concealed weapons on campus and they say that they are being barred from wearing empty holsters on campus as an expression of their views.
The Institute for College Access and Success on Thursday unveiled a new Web site, College InSight, designed to provide a wide range of data about colleges -- information on prices and financial aid, socioeconomic, racial and other diversity, and student outcomes. The site, a resource for parents as well as policy makers, allows users to build their own data sets based on the institutions and data elements of their choosing.
Some students at the University of Alberta are angry that Indira Samarasekera, the president, has expressed concern about the declining numbers of men on Canadian university campuses. In an October interview, Samarasekera cited figures showing that women make up 58 percent of Canadian university students and said that she worried that 20 years from now, "we will not have the benefit of enough male talent at the heads of companies and elsewhere." Further, she said she would be an "advocate" for young white men because, as a minority woman, she "can be." The Edmonton Sun reported that her comments irked some students, who felt she was suggesting that female students were somehow a problem, and for not focusing on disadvantaged students -- as opposed to men -- who may need help. Some of the students created posters showing a giant, King Kong-like woman walking over a university building. The caption: "Women are attacking campus! Only white men can save our university! Stop the femimenace."
Students and parents will be able to import their tax information directly from the IRS website to the online FAFSA in a pilot program beginning early next year, a representative of the Education Department's Federal Student Aid program revealed during Wednesday's negotiated rulemaking session on the verification of information on student aid applications. Stephanie Gross, team leader for FAFSA on the Web, said the department will offer the option for first-time and renewal applicants beginning January 24. By next summer, it will be open to all applicants from the start of the 2010-11 application process.
During October, 43 percent of the 274 colleges being tracked on H1N1 and related illnesses by the American College Health Association said that they had the H1N1 vaccine on hand. Meanwhile, 97 percent of the colleges reported new flu cases. Details on the association's study may be found here.