Karl S. Wright, who was named president of Florida Memorial University two years ago, is no longer on the job, and no reason has been given for his sudden departure, The Miami Herald reported. Wright did not respond to the Herald's requests for information about his departure.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Rick Pitino is not only facing a personal scandal, but it turns out that the University of Louisville basketball coach has a morality clause in his contract, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Wednesday. The same newspaper reported Tuesday that Pitino told police that he had engaged in consensual sex with Karen Cunagin Sypher in a Louisville restaurant on Aug. 1, 2003, and paid her $3,000 to have an abortion. Sypher has made accusations -- which police say lack a basis for acting upon -- that the coach assaulted her. She faces charges of trying to extort money from Pitino to keep the situation private. The newspaper reported that the university -- which has backed Pitino -- can fire him for acts of “moral depravity” or if he engages in “willful conduct that could objectively be determined to bring (the) employee into public dispute or scandal, or which tends to greatly offend the public.”
Gawker offers a tip for journalism schools, based on its blogging report on orientation this year at the program at Columbia University: Don't have an outside speaker tell the students to avoid debt, when they borrowed a lot of money to enroll and may need to borrow more later. According to Gawker, there was an "audible response" when the debt-laden students were given the advice that they avoid borrowing. Journalism schools continue to be popular with students and universities, which promote them. But as Editor & Publisher reported last week, the latest data suggest that a bad job market for j-school grads has gotten worse, salaries for those who land jobs are stagnant, and job satisfaction is falling. (Not at Inside Higher Ed, of course.)
Yale University Press will this fall be publishing a book, The Cartoons That Shook The World, about the furor that followed a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons making fun of Muhammad. But The New York Times reported that the book will not feature any of the cartoons themselves, or other images of Muhammad, including ones that are historic and have been widely featured elsewhere. The Times said that Yale brought together a special panel to consider the use of the images -- and that the press agreed with the recommendation not to include these illustrations. John Donatich, the director of Yale University Press, told the Times that he has always defended controversial work, but that the cartoons and other images could be described in words. One religion scholar, angered by the decision, has withdrawn a blurb for the book. Jytte Klausen, a professor of politics at Brandeis University who wrote the book, questioned Yale's decision, telling the Times: "Muslim friends, leaders and activists thought that the incident was misunderstood, so the cartoons needed to be reprinted so we could have a discussion about it.”
Security on Campus, a group that pushes for tougher responses to crime on campus, on Tuesday issued a statement saying that a recent ruling by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights would force colleges to take firmer action against students who harass other students on online gossip sites, even if those sites aren't part of colleges. In the ruling, the department did not directly address that issue, and in fact rejected the complaint in question. But Security on Campus believes that because the rejection was not over the nature of the Web sites, this marks a shift in federal policy. "Schools have the same obligation to respond to sexual harassment in cyberspace that they have when the harassment occurs in the classroom – according to a first of its kind ruling," said the group's announcement. However, the Education Department sees things differently. A spokesman for the department said: "OCR would not characterize this as a 'landmark ruling.' In this case, OCR found insufficient evidence of a violation of Title IX. The OCR resolution letter speaks for itself in explaining the parameters of OCR's investigation and findings and should not be interpreted beyond those parameters." The dispute involves postings on the defunct Web site Juicy Campus.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which is best known in higher education for easing the path of community college students into four-year colleges, announced today that it has hired Lawrence Kutner as its new executive director. Kutner, who co-founded and co-directs the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital and lectures on psychology in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School, is an expert on child development as well as an author and documentary producer. Among its other activities, the Cooke foundation focuses on helping community college students transfer to and succeed at competitive four-year colleges, and is financing an expansion of a University of Virginia program that puts graduates into low-income high schools to help students prepare for college.
The following appointments, promotions and other job changes were announced recently by colleges, associations, companies and other organizations that operate in and around higher education. They are among the many such moves that appear in The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
- Jarrett H. Brown, who is completing a Ph.D. at the College of William and Mary, has been appointed as instructor of English at College of the Holy Cross.
- Michael Fields, dean of the college of business administration at Central Michigan University, has been appointed dean of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.
- Patricia Higgins, Distinguished Service Professor and associate vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, has been selected as interim provost there.
- Maria McLemore, interim executive director of system and foundation relations at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, has been named to the job on a permanent basis.
- David P. Redlawsk, associate professor of political science and director of the Hawkeye Poll at the University of Iowa, has been named professor of political science and director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll at Rutgers University at New Brunswick.
- Sarah Whiting, assistant professor of history and theory in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, has been named dean of the School of Architecture at Rice University.
The Louisiana lawmaker behind legislation creating a commission to study the state's higher education system laid out an aggressive, and often critical, agenda for the panel at its first meeting in Baton Rouge Monday, The Times-Picayune reported. "There is a widespread belief that we do things inefficiently, and that this commission in particular needs to look at the issues that we have too many universities and too many boards, racial divides among universities and boards, under-performing universities, duplicative programs, and just general inefficiencies," said State Rep. Jim Tucker, the speaker of the Louisiana House. As Gov. Bobby Jindal listed priorities for the panel that included better aligning higher education offerings with state needs and eliminating waste, Tucker added: "We tend to sometimes pussyfoot around the hard decisions in this state, and we need you all to take a 2-by-4, if that's necessary, and smack us across the head to make sure we understand just exactly what we need to be doing in this state for the benefit of its residents."
Religiously affiliated groups will now be able to seek student fee money at Boise State University, under an agreement struck with students who sued the institution. The accord was announced by the Alliance Defense Fund, which (along with the Christian Legal Society) sued Boise State last winter on behalf of six students who alleged that they had been denied funds for Christian groups with which they were affiliated, even though money was provided to atheist groups. Boise State officials cited state law as precluding them from awarding funds to religious groups, but a spokesman said the university was now "taking a wider view in our own procedures and identifying all our 200+ clubs equally as student organizations." Under the agreement, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, Boise State rewrote its rules "to provide protection for all student groups against viewpoint discrimination" and "amended its policies to clarify that its nondiscrimination policies would not be applied to prevent student groups, including religious student groups, from limiting their leadership to those who share the groups’ beliefs and conduct themselves consistently with those beliefs."
The e-textbook company CourseSmart is making its books available on the iPhone through a deal with Apple, the Wall Street Journal reported. While company officials don't expect students to do heavy reading on their handheld devices, the application will make the full electronic texts and digital notes accessible when students are looking for answers in study groups, for example, they say.