A new study suggests that students in coeducational housing are much more likely to engage in binge drinking than are students who live in all-male or all-female housing. The study, appearing today in the Journal of American College Health, is based on data on more than 500 students at five colleges around the United States. The research found that 42 percent of students in coed housing reported binge drinking on a weekly basis, while only 18 percent of those in single-sex housing did so. The researchers discounted the idea that student self-selection may result in those likely to engage in binge drinking opting to live in mixed-sex housing. Their rationale is that most students living in single-sex housing didn't request to do so, but were placed there by campus officials when coed slots are filled. The study was conducted by Brian Willoughby, a visiting professor at Brigham Young University, and Jason Carroll, a professor there. The university noted that Brigham Young -- which bars drinking -- was not one of the colleges studied.
Higher Education Quick Takes
David Pelham, who became president of Cuesta College in March of 2008, has quit his position at the California community college, The San Luis Obispo Tribune News reported. While the outgoing president is taking a job in the United Arab Emirates, an e-mail he sent out suggested that he believes there are serious problems at the college. He wrote that those at the college need to learn to "make decisions in a manner that is inclusive but faster," "disagree on issues without undermining the credibility of those with whom we disagree" and "develop a collective understanding that how things have been done in the past may not fit our present circumstances."
Thomas Edison State College is using a new federal grant to develop a series of distance education courses for which all materials are provided on flash drives. The idea is that while a student would need to connect to the Internet to submit materials to an instructor, the curriculum could be carried out offline.
The union representing part-time faculty members at Montgomery College, a community college in Maryland, announced Monday that it had reached a tentative deal with the college on a first contract. Details are not being released pending final approval by the union's members and the college's trustees. But a statement from the union said that the deal would include a "modest" salary increase, higher limits on course loads for part timers, and measures that would improve job security. The contract would also create committees "to review, and formulate recommendations for addressing, pay inequity between full-time and part-time faculty for in-classroom instruction, as well as to explore health insurance options for part-time professors." The union is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.
The University of Michigan on Monday released the results of a July audit showing that the university's football team did not turn in required forms that track the amount of time players spend practicing. The revelation comes as the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the university look into allegations that the Wolverine football program broke NCAA rules limiting the amount of time players participate in athletic activities.
Students took over the Science and Engineering Library at the University of California at Santa Cruz Friday night to keep it open that night and Saturday -- as had been the case before budget cuts limited its hours. A statement from the students said: "We realize that this one action will not force the university administration to change its disastrous course. Nevertheless, our action will allow the library to remain open for students Friday night and Saturday. The UCSC administration lacks the capacity to provide a quality education and so we have begun, as students, to take our education into our own hands." A spokesman for the university told The Contra Costa Times: "Regrettably, this particular activity is costing us additional resources as we have to staff the library as long as they are in there. It's going to strain already depleted library funding."
An ethics scholar at Oxford University, Toby Ord, has pledged to give 1 million pounds (about $1.67 million) over the course of his career to charities in developing nations, BBC reported. Toby Ord, 30, estimates that he'll earn about 1.5 million pounds and that he doesn't need that much, and wants to inspire others to make similarly ambition donations.
Graduate teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are planning to go on strike today, following the failure to complete a contract agreement. The union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, said that while many contract issues were resolved, the university would not offer assurances about the continuation of tuition waivers. "The administration’s refusal to guarantee the continuation of its current tuition waiver practice not only means that the majority of graduate employees could be forced to pay thousands of dollars in additional tuition charges, but also indicates its plans to implement such a change. By making graduate education untenable for all but the most affluent students, the administration is abandoning its responsibility to ensure access to the highest level of public education for all," said a union statement. The university issued a statement in which it characterized the union's interest in tuition waivers as new and not a subject over great disagreements. The union "has chosen to strike over an issue that historically has never been a source of contention between the union and management, and about which there is no indication would be a source of contention in the future," said the university's official statement. In turn, the union issued a new statement asking why, if the university was committed to the tuition waivers, it wouldn't agree to add the desired language to the contract.
Brooke Magnanti, a research scientist at Britain's University of Bristol, has revealed that she is the author of a blog and memoirs of work as a prostitute, and is the source of the material that was used to create the television series "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," BBC News reported. She said that she worked as a prostitute to pay for her doctoral work. A spokesman for the University of Bristol, said: "This aspect of Dr Magnanti's past is not relevant to her current role at the university."
Southwestern College, a community college in California, has announced that no charges will be filed against three professors who were suspended (with pay, but without charges) amid allegations by college officials that some of them may have violated the law in relation to a protest of the college's response to budget cuts, News 10 San Diego reported. The suspensions, which the college denied were suspensions although the professors were barred from campus, angered many faculty groups. The professors are now back teaching, and the faculty union -- whose president was among those suspended -- has said it won't sue. Another rally was held Friday, this time with protesters questioning the way the college has tried to limit protests.