Many students at Northwestern University are upset over the blackface Halloween costumes of some white students, NBC Chicago reported. Morton O. Schapiro, Northwestern's president, sent an e-mail to students saying: “While I fully support the principles of free expression, at the same time I am deeply disappointed to see any example of insensitivity that demeans a segment of our community." A forum on the incident Thursday night attracted many students. The Daily Northwestern ran a live blog on the forum, attracting many comments. Northwestern is far from the first campus at which blackface or racially stereotyped Halloween costumes have created racial tensions.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan's president, announced plans for significant expansions of the island's foreign student population and university courses taught in English, Taipei Times reported. “Higher education in Taiwan should not keep its doors closed any more. We need to promote the idea of studying in Taiwan and attract great students to Taiwan,” he said.
With a decision expected this week at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology on a proposal to boycott Israeli universities and academics, American groups are stepping up opposition to the boycott. The American Association of University Professors released a statement Friday urging the university to reject the boycott idea. "AAUP’s policy against academic boycotts -- detailed in our 2006 statement on the subject -- is based on the still more fundamental principle that free discussion among all faculty members worldwide should be encouraged, not inhibited. Certainly those Norwegian faculty members already working on joint projects with Israeli colleagues should not have their academic freedom taken away from them. In the long run, more, not less, dialogue with Israeli faculty members is an important way to promote peace in the region," the statement says. Also last week, the Anti-Defamation League called on the European Union to disqualify from its exchange programs any university that adopts a boycott policy. Organizers of the boycott movement at the university could not be reached, but they outlined their position online, saying that "Israeli universities and other institutions of higher education have played a key role in the policy of oppression. A substantial proportion of academics are directly involved in the country’s advanced weapon industry; social scientists play a central role in the construction of a nation of occupation; historians and archaeologists are important in the development of the Zionist ideology and renouncement of Palestinian history and identity." A spokeswoman said that Rector Torbjørn Digernes has drafted a resolution for the board to reject the boycott call. The resolution is available (in Norwegian) here.
Most of us have probably hit "send" once or twice before being certain that the correct person (and only the correct person) was in the address field. But when it comes to misfiring e-mail, two employees of Cornell University's business school may have set a new standard for embarrassment. The sexually explicit exchanges between these employees (both married, not to each other) were sent accidentally on Friday to a global list at the business school, and now are appearing in numerous places online. A Cornell spokesman confirmed the incident and said that, "an e-mail was sent by the university shortly after the incident to all those who may have received the accidental mailing, with an apology and a request that recipients discard the accidental mailing."
Charles Nemeroff, an Emory University psychiatrist whose work has been highly influential and who has been at the center of a conflict-of-interest scandal, is moving to the University of Miami as its new psychiatry chair. Nemeroff resigned from the chair's position at Emory in December, amid growing Congressional scrutiny of payments he received from GlaxoSmithKline and did not report -- in violation of university rules, which are designed to ensure that federally supported research is not tainted by unknown financial conflicts of interest by researchers. The Miami Herald quoted Pascal Goldschmidt, dean of the University of Miami medical school, as acknowledging the controversy, but also calling Nemeroff "an extraordinary psychiatrist and scientist."
Two students -- backed by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education -- are suing the Tarrant County College District, charging that its limits on rallies are violations of First Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported. The college permits protest activities only in a limited free speech zone, and requires advance permission to schedule events there. College officials say that the rules are consistent with federal and state requirements. But the students say that they are being blocked from engaging in legitimate protest. The students want to rally on behalf of the right to carry concealed weapons on campus and they say that they are being barred from wearing empty holsters on campus as an expression of their views.
The Institute for College Access and Success on Thursday unveiled a new Web site, College InSight, designed to provide a wide range of data about colleges -- information on prices and financial aid, socioeconomic, racial and other diversity, and student outcomes. The site, a resource for parents as well as policy makers, allows users to build their own data sets based on the institutions and data elements of their choosing.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a 2010 spending bill for many federal science programs that would provide $6.9 billion for the National Science Foundation, including $5.55 billion for research, $122 million for research equipment and facilities; and $857 million for the agency's education programs. In passing the bill, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have eliminated funding for the NSF's political science program -- though the amendment garnered 36 votes.
A state panel has concluded that the University of Vermont and five state colleges in the state should not be merged, the Associated Press reported. The idea of a merger has been much debated in the state as a way to save money, but the panel concluded that the cultures of the university and the state colleges are too different. Instead, the panel suggested that they look for new ways to collaborate on selected programs.
During October, 43 percent of the 274 colleges being tracked on H1N1 and related illnesses by the American College Health Association said that they had the H1N1 vaccine on hand. Meanwhile, 97 percent of the colleges reported new flu cases. Details on the association's study may be found here.