The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Committee on Infractions on Thursday punished the University of Central Florida for a series of recruiting violations in its football program. The case was resolved through the association's summary disposition process. Two former athletics officials at the university made scores of telephone calls and sent text messages to prospective athletes in contravention of NCAA recruiting rules. The NCAA panel limited Central Florida's recruiting practices and required the colleges that now employ the two former officials -- who were not identified by the association -- to suspend them for two weeks and restrict their duties.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Lord Mandelson, who as Britain's business secretary has pushed deep budget cuts and other policy changes opposed by many academic leaders, fought back Thursday with a speech in which he said higher education was not receiving more than its share of cuts and that academics needed to be more open to change, The Guardian reported. Academics "think they have a right to be set in aspic in what they do," he said. "They are using the argument about spending reductions as a screen or a cloak behind which resistance to any sort of change and reform can be conducted." He also repeated his call for universities to offer more two-year degrees (in contrast to the traditional three-year program in Britain), saying that such programs could economically respond to increased student demand.
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Stand With Us, a group supportive of Israel, has placed video on YouTube showing Monday's incident at the University of California at Irvine in which the Israeli ambassador to the United States was repeatedly interrupted with shouts and jeers, delaying and disrupting his talk. The video shows students shouting, the increasingly frustrated responses from university officials and several students -- some of whom were arrested -- being escorted from the auditorium.
U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), a former physics professor who championed academic research and especially science education during eight terms in Congress, announced Wednesday that he would resign when his current term ends this year. Ehlers taught physics at the University of California at Berkeley and Michigan's Calvin College for more than 20 years before entering Congress in 1993. He has served on the House science and education committees during much of his tenure, and heads the STEMEd Caucus.
Baker University is eliminating five majors -- molecular bioscience, wildlife biology, computer information systems, physical education and political science. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that some courses will still be taught in these areas, and that eliminating these majors at the Kansas institution will save about $400,000.
A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the University of Wisconsin at Madison does not have to reveal the anonymous donor of $15 million for a new music facility, The Associated Press reported. The owner of a bar that is fighting to block the university's building plans sought a court order that would have allowed them to question the donors. Fund raisers expressed concern that if the bar owner had won the right to know the donors' names, other potential donors who want anonymity would have been discouraged from giving. The bar's property could be destroyed in the university's plans for its new facility.
Ivor van Heerden, who was a leading whistle blower in the analysis of what went wrong after Katrina hit New Orleans, is suing Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, charging that he was fired from his position at the university's hurricane research because of anger over his criticisms of the Army Corps of Engineers, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. LSU officials deny that he lost his position for that reason, but decline to discuss specifics, citing the confidentiality of employment matters.
Gretchen Bataille announced Wednesday that she is leaving the presidency of the University of North Texas at the end of the month, stunning many on the campus. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Bataille was named to the position in 2006, and has been a forceful advocate for the institution's push to become a research university. Student leaders, who said that they considered her a strong ally, said they were concerned about the news. No explanation has been offered for the sudden resignation.
Educators and schools -- at all levels -- are experiencing more attacks by government and other officials, according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The study includes numerous examples of attacks on higher education, such as a scholar in Chad who was attacked with a grenade by government officials after he wrote about a previous regime, and assassination attempts on a Columbian academic who wrote articles linking government officials to the illegal drug industry.