The Lecturers' Employee Organization at the University of Michigan is protesting the non-renewal by the university of the union's vice president, Kirsten Herold, who has taught there for 18 years. Union leaders and the American Federation of Teachers, with which the campus unit is affiliated, see the non-renewal as retaliation for strong leadership of the union, and note that in negotiations over a new contract, the union has been pushing for more protections so that lecturers cannot be victims of "bogus" evaluations. A spokeswoman for the university said that while she could not discuss personnel matters, Michigan follows procedures for lecturers' evaluations as spelled out in the current contract. The spokeswoman also said that there was "no connection" between any personnel decision and the negotiations with the union.
Higher Education Quick Takes
At a February meeting where San Francisco's school board considered and approved a plan to offer more ethnic studies courses, the dean of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University offered that any ninth grader who took one of the new courses would receive six credits at the university. There was one problem. As The San Francisco Chronicle reported, the university's president didn't know about the offer and, it turns out, the president and many others on the campus don't think the idea is appropriate. At this point, the offer is off.
The American Federation of Teachers on Monday began "What Should Count?," a Web site with articles and discussions about the accountability movement in higher education. The goal of the site is to provide "a platform for bringing the faculty and staff perspective to those who create policies and practices around these issues."
The American Association of University Professors on Monday announced that it is beginning a formal investigation into the case of Ivor van Heerden, who was a leading whistle blower in the analysis of what went wrong after Katrina hit New Orleans, and who is suing Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, charging that he was fired from his position at the university's hurricane research center because of anger over his criticisms of the Army Corps of Engineers. The university, while declining to discuss details about the case, has denied that he lost his job for that reason.
More than 1,000 students from Turkey have moved to universities in Bosnia, in part because women there can wear headscarves that are banned by law in Turkey, Reuters reported. One student said: "If the situation in Turkey changed, we would not come to study here.... Bosnian people are more tolerant than Turkish people."
Amid all the concerns about financing for public higher education in California, an article in the Los Angeles Times questions some of the priorities that get funds that might have gone to classroom-related expenses. Among the expenses: renovating a basketball arena and making up for a bad investment.
Several college towns in New Jersey are organizing a drive for legislation to charge colleges $100 for every full-time student and to give the funds to local towns to finance various services that colleges use, New Jersey.com reported. College officials are opposing the idea, saying that it would increase students' tuition costs.
Manuel Pangilinan has resigned as board chair of Ateneo de Manila University, in the Philippines, after reports surfaced that his graduation address to students included unattributed portions that had been delivered elsewhere by President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling and others, the BBC reported. The network noted that he has spoken previously about the importance of ethics in higher education.
Two civil rights groups have sued Georgia in federal court over the state's treatment of public historically black colleges, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The suit charges that the state discriminates against Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State Universities by refusing to give them adequate financing or the prestigious research and graduate programs found at the top predominantly white universities. Officials of the University System of Georgia said that they had not seen the suit and that they do not comment on litigation. But a spokesman told the Journal-Constitution that many factors go into budget allocations, including institutional missions and performance measures.
Gateway Technical College, in Wisconsin, announced that an investigation confirmed student complaints that an instructor was offering extra credit to those who made charitable contributions to certain organizations, The Journal Times reported. While officials said that there was no malice involved, they said the incentives were inappropriate and that the instructor will stop offering them.