Ever since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Southern University has complained that its campus there has not received the federal help to which it was entitled. On Monday, that dispute was settled with the announcement from Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security, that Southern's New Orleans campus will receive $32 million to allow it to rebuild four academic buildings, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Higher Education Quick Takes
With the new academic year starting and colleges expecting many outbreaks of H1N1 virus, one of the first outbreaks is at Oklahoma State University. Three cases have been confirmed and many more are expected, NewsOK.com reported. All of the cases have been mild.
Nicholls State University’s redesigned mascot has angered some alumni who find it has a striking resemblance “to a soldier from Adolf Hitler's Third Reich or a member of Soviet Russia's Red Army.” The Times-Picayune reports that the university spent $30,000 to rebrand the logo of Col. Tillou – the mascot named after Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls, university namesake, former Louisiana governor and Confederate officer. The new logo replaces an older one – with a white-bearded man wearing a gray uniform – that was retired in 2004 after a local chapter of the NAACP found it offensive. One alumnus told The Times-Picayune that “the new image seems evil, faceless and inhuman." The university plans to stick by the new mascot logo, for now. Those skeptical of it are reserving judgment until they see the university's soon-to-be-unveiled costumed mascot. (This corrects an earlier version of this brief.)
At a meeting of the American Association of University Professors this summer, a trio from the University of Akron -- the Ad Hoc, Post-Tenure Under-Appreciated Band -- performed works on the priorities of universities, management in higher ed and other topics. Among the lyrcis:
The English Department is coming down
To make way for a rock climbing wall
Your graduate Milton seminar
Is now meeting in the hall
Let's freeze the library budget in time
To build a sports facility
Say that in the name of a University!
I say Corporate acclaim now say that in the name of a University!
Full lyrics for three songs as well as video of the concert may be found on the AAUP Web site.
Authorities arrested four people Monday at a protest at the University of California at Berkeley over the continued tenure there of John Yoo, a law professor who during work in the Bush administration wrote several memos used to justify the use of torture on suspected terrorists, the Associated Press reported. Yoo's position at Berkeley has been defended by law school leaders on academic freedom grounds, but others have argued that his actions were so reprehensible that normal standards shouldn't apply.
Many University of California professors are urging a federal judge to alter the proposed settlement of the suit against Google over its plans to build a mammoth digital library, The New York Times reported. The professors are not asking for the settlement to be blocked, but to be altered, arguing that the authors' groups that started the litigation didn't adequately represent the interests of academic authors, who share their concerns about Google dominating access to older works, but who are more likely than other authors to value the ideals of open access.
The board of the University of North Carolina System voted on Friday to immediately cut the pay of James Oblinger, the former chancellor of North Carolina State University, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. Oblinger resigned in June under an agreement in which he was promised to be paid his chancellor's salary ($420,000) for six months, before returning to the faculty, where he would be paid as a professor. The board, amid some disagreement but facing statewide criticism over the exit packages given to administrators, voted to cut Oblinger immediately to $173,000, which is what he will earn as a professor of food science. Oblinger quit amid an escalating public debate over his university hiring the wife of the then-governor. As he quit, Oblinger stated that he did not believe he had done anything improper, but wanted the university to focus on other issues.
President Obama has a long memory about grades he didn't agree with. The president recently met with Roger Boesche, his politics professor when the future president was an undergraduate at Occidental College. Obama has praised Boesche many times, but took some time during their meeting to reiterate his complaint -- made decades ago -- about a B he received on a paper about European political thought, the Los Angeles Times reported. Obama and Boesche still disagree about the grade. Boesche told the Times that he didn't necessarily think Obama would someday be president, and that there is a lesson there for teachers at all levels: to "realize that in any class, you could have a child, a young man or woman, who could do incredibly great things in the world. So teach as well as you can."
Five people were injured and five were arrested in a shooting incident early Sunday morning at Langston University, NewsOK reported. At around the same time, in another incident, there was another injury and arrest when a woman used her car to hit another person. None of the incidents apparently involved Langston students. A statement from the university said: "Langston University President JoAnn Haysbert says she is appalled and utterly disappointed by these acts of violence. 'We will pursue this to the fullest extent of the law,' President Haysbert said. 'Oklahoma law prohibits weapons and firearms from being carried on state property by unauthorized individuals.' "
Rectors have joined other educators in taking to the streets in Venezuela to object to a new education law adopted last week by the parliament, The Miami Herald reported. The law makes "Bolivarian doctrine" the basis of education at all levels, a move that educators view as requiring them to indoctrinate students with the views of the ruling political party, the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela. Rectors of the nation's universities have issued statements saying that the law effectively takes away their institutions' autonomy, and that it removes decisions over admissions from educators and gives them to the government. Rectors marched Thursday, but were prevented by riot police from reaching the parliament building. Nicolás Bianco, acting rector of the Central University of Venezuela, told a a radio interviewer that police filed teargas and plastic pellets without provocation or warning, and that as someone with a respiratory condition who was unable to breathe after the gas was fired, "I felt I was about to die."