A Harvard University student group has rescinded an invitation to Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, to speak at a forum this weekend on immigration, The Boston Globe reported. Minuteman is a staunch opponent of immigration and sends patrols to the Mexican border to try to block people from coming to the United States. A previous appearance by Gilchrist at Harvard led to protests. The student organization organizing the forum on immigration, the Undergraduate Legal Committee, released a statement that said: “Mr. Gilchrist’s participation in the conference on the behalf of the Minutemen Project was not compatible with providing an environment for civil, educational, and productive discourse on immigration, and we cannot host him at this time.’’ Gilchrist denounced the revocation of the invitation. On his organization's Web site, he issued this statement: “[T]he minute they received threats from fellow students these pre-law students shied away from defending free speech. That future graduates of the most renowned university in the world are literally afraid to support the very cornerstone of the foundation of our nation, namely ‘free speech,’ ought to frighten anyone looking to America as the beacon of liberty, freedom, and justice for all."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of California is shelving, but may return to, a controversial idea of differential tuition rates based on major, the Los Angeles Times reported. The plan would have imposed an additional $900 annual fee on those studying engineering or business. Many faculty members objected, saying that students would be discouraged from enrolling in those programs, even if assured that the extra funds will help the programs. The idea of differential tuition rates by major has been adopted by some public universities in recent years, but has faced similar criticism at those institutions.
Wheeling Jesuit University has refused the request of a group that represents survivors of victims of sexual abuse by clergy to investigate one of its board members, the Associated Press reported. The Rev. Thomas Gleeson, the board member, was accused in a lawsuit in the 1990s of being among priests at the Jesuit School of Theology, in California, who sexually harassed a seminarian. The suit was settled out of court with no admission of wrongdoing. But the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests argues that new standards by the Roman Catholic Church require full and public investigations of such charges before the accused should be in positions of power. J. Davitt McAteer, Wheeling Jesuit's interim president, issued a statement indicating that the institution sees no need to investigate. "We at Wheeling Jesuit University, and I personally, am happy to have Father Gleeson serving as a valuable member of our Board of Trustees and Board of Directors.... We have no plans to suspend Father Gleeson, nor conduct any investigation."
A freshman at the University of New Hampshire has set off a debate there over the American flag. The student was ordered to remove one he was flying outside his dormitory window, Foster's Daily Democrat reported. The university says its ban is not on the flag, but on flying or hanging anything out of windows -- a rule needed for safety reasons. The student says there should be an exception for the flag.
Saying that controversies over his compensation and home renovation had "created distractions that have made it impossible for me to provide the leadership this institution deserves." Joseph A. Chapman announced his resignation as president of North Dakota State University on Wednesday. Chapman, who has been the university's president since 1999, oversaw significant growth and expansion at the university, which some officials there believed opened him to jealousy-fueled criticisms. But a series of controversies over perceived abuse of his position have led to accusations of arrogance, leading an opinion making newspaper, the Grand Forks Herald, in an editorial about Chapman's "blind spot," to opine that he "acts as if the usual rules pertaining to public officials in North Dakota don’t apply."
The State University of New York at Binghamton has placed its men's basketball coach on a paid leave of absence while an outside panel investigates allegations of wrongdoing in the basketball program, the Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. In an e-mail message to a university listserv, the interim athletics director, Jim Norris, attributed the leave for Kevin Broadus to the fact that "[t]here have been continuing incidents of concern related to the men’s basketball program that do not measure up to Binghamton University’s high standards." Broadus has come under fire because several of his recruits have gotten into serious criminal and other trouble, and SUNY has asked a retired federal judge to investigate a wide range of allegations surrounding the program, including that an adjunct professor faced pressure to go easy on athletes.
Iraq's government has suspended classes and barred all political activities and the student union at Mustansiriyah University, in Baghdad, following student protests, the Associated Press reported. Government officials said that they were forced to act because the university was coming under the control of Shiite religious groups.
The University of Colorado has filed a legal request to recover $52,000 in legal costs from Ward Churchill, the controversial professor it fired for research misconduct and who sued unsuccessfully to get his job back, The Daily Camera reported. Colorado law allows prevailing parties in some court cases to seek legal fees from the losing party. Churchill is appealing a judge's ruling denying him his job back and his lawyer indicated that he disagreed with Colorado's legal bill as well.
Michael Pollan, an expert on sustainable food and a target of many in the traditional food industry, will not be giving a solo lecture at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, but will instead participate in a panel discussion -- along with a meat-science expert -- to keep a donor happy. The Los Angeles Times reported that the change of plans followed a threat by a donor to call off a $150,000 pledge for a new meat processing plant on the campus.
The University of California is investigating whether a lecture by a pro-Palestinian speaker -- sponsored by the Muslim Student Union -- violated university rules by becoming a fund raiser, and the university has forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department allegations that some of the funds raised were eventually given to Hamas, The Orange County Register reported. Organizers of the event deny any wrongdoing, and say that the allegations are part of a campaign by pro-Israel groups to limit the activities of groups critical of Israel.