The rescue of Jaycee Lee Dugard, kidnapped at age 11 in 1991 and freed only last week, has captured widespread attention. Her rescue is due in large part to the work of two police officers at the University of California at Berkeley: Lisa Campbell and Ally Jacobs. Phillip Garrido, who faces numerous charges in relation to Dugard's kidnapping, came to Berkeley to ask about holding an event there, and Campbell suspected something was wrong with him and the two girls he brought with him. Jacobs ran a background check on him, revealing him to be a registered sex offender. The two officers' suspicions -- shared with other law enforcement officials -- cracked the case. Details are available here.
Higher Education Quick Takes
City College of San Francisco is going ahead with its idea of letting donors pay $6,000 to restore one of the 800 courses canceled due to budget cuts, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The plan was initially controversial, but gained support after safeguards were added to prevent scenarios such as a tobacco company sponsoring a health course. So far, eight individuals have pledged gifts to restore a course. The San Francisco newspaper reported that one of them is Mary Allen, who taught mathematics at the college from 1969 to 1993 and who has asked that her gift be used to restore a mathematics course. "City College was good to me.... Now it's pay-back time," she said.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis last week gave an interview to National Public Radio in which she answered a listener's question about adjunct instructors in a way that some viewed as questioning their commitment to teaching -- but she has now clarified her comments. The comment in question, found toward the bottom of this transcript, is: "[T]he continuance of involvement on the part of part-time faculty members I think is a legitimate issue and should be looked at. Because as it stands, you also find that that faculty member is not as inclined to stay committed to those groups of students that they do teach because they're off to different -- other -- what they call, freeway traveling or teaching.…" The American Federation of Teachers approached the Labor Department about the issue and published this statement of clarification that the AFT received: "Adjunct faculty are being particularly hard-hit by the financial crisis at the state level. They deserve to be represented in collective bargaining, and their collective bargaining agreements should be respected. I certainly was not implying that adjuncts are not committed to their students, or that they are anything other than excellent educators. In fact, my involvement with California community colleges has shown me that they are committed professionals who are dedicated to helping students succeed. What I wanted to get across is that, too often, adjunct faculty do not get the level of compensation or professional supports that full-time faculty receive to advise students academically, follow students through their academic careers, develop the college's curriculum, etc. Too many adjuncts, I noted, wind up needing to move from college to college each week just to put together a small living."
The University of Illinois is eliminating the jobs of most staff members of its Global Campus, an ambitious and controversial effort to create a major distance education unit, functioning largely independently of the university's campuses and their faculties, The News-Gazette reported. A new distance education effort is being planned in its place. The Global Campus has been a source of concern to faculty members from the start, as many said it was created without adequate academic oversight by professors.
The Middle East Studies Association is weighing in on the case of Neve Gordon, who teaches at Israel's Ben-Gurion University and who has set off a debate in his country over his op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for a boycott of Israel. Many Israeli leaders -- including some at his university -- have suggested that he had no right to publish the essay. The association wrote to Ben-Gurion's president, Rivka Carmi, saying: "In refusing to reiterate the university’s obligation to protect Dr. Gordon’s professional and civil freedoms and in failing to clarify that it will not be blackmailed into suspending the freedoms of particular faculty members that some donors do not like, your administration has given a green light to those attacking him and in some cases threatening his physical safety. We hope you will realize the importance of doing everything in your power to end the intimidation against Dr. Gordon by reaffirming his academic right to free expression as guaranteed by the by-laws of your university. In doing this you would be following the exemplary lead of your colleague Zvi Galil, the former president of Tel Aviv University, who in May 2009 rejected popular pressure to expel Omar Barghouti, an M.A. student in philosophy, because of his work with the international Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation."
A state jury in Georgia on Thursday awarded $450,000 to a former student at Appalachian Technical College who was expelled after she complained to administrators there about the performance of an instructor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. According to the newspaper's account, Sara Castle told officials at the college that an instructor in the nursing program in which she was enrolled repeatedly dismissed students from class early, making it impossible for them to complete their required clinical training. The instructor was fired, but Castle herself was soon expelled, and she sued. The jury awarded her $400,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional duress, the newspaper said. Georgia's attorney general represented the technical college, and a spokesman said the state disagreed with the verdict and would consider its options.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Thursday called for the replacement of Richard Herman as chancellor of the campus and Joseph White as president of the university system, the Chicago Tribune reported. Both have come in for harsh criticism as Tribune and state investigations revealed their roles in an admissions scandal in which applicants with political clout -- some of them with academic qualifications that were less than distinguished -- were given preference in the admissions process. Both have said that they plan to remain in office.
Two students at Virginia Tech were found shot and killed Thursday at a campground near the campus that is popular with students, The Roanoke Times reported. The killings -- being investigated as a double homicide -- come at an institution where many are still recovering from the murder of 32 students and faculty members by a student in 2007.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison has ended sponsorship agreements with two major brewing companies after a campus panel recommended that banning beer ads from football broadcasts would help the fight against binge drinking, the Associated Press reported. The deals with MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev had brought the university $425,000 a year, and Badger sports officials had vigorously argued for sustaining the agreements (and the revenues). But Wisconsin's new chancellor, Biddy Martin, backed the recommendation of a committee seeking ways to reduce campus drinking. "It hurts the athletic department financially but they are stepping up and taking one for the team," Vince Sweeney, Madison's vice chancellor for university relations, told the A.P. "This was an approach that people felt would have a positive impact."
Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois reversed course on Wednesday, allowing two University of Illinois trustees to stay on its board even though he had vowed to fire any board members who did not resign in the wake of an admissions scandal at the university, the Chicago Tribune reported. All but two trustees had resigned since Quinn and others called for their resignations in the scandal involving political patronage in admissions, which stemmed from reporting by the Tribune, but two board members had threatened to sue the state if they were forced from their jobs. In a speech Wednesday, Quinn said he thought the two trustees should go but said he didn't want to open the state to legal vulnerability. The newspaper reported that other trustees who had quit in response to Quinn's vow, from which he has now backed down, were now wondering if they had made the right decision.