Proposed cuts to the budgets of British universities are bringing predictions of dire consequences from faculty unions and from administrators, The Guardian reported. The main faculty union is projecting that the budget cuts could create some of the largest average class sizes in the world and that thousands of academics will need to be on public assistance. Organizations of university administrators are issuing statements suggesting that Britain will lose "jewels in the country's crown" and that some universities could be forced to close.
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The U.S. Education Department should reject Louisiana's request to be exempted from a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that requires states to maintain their spending on education to receive federal stimulus funds, the head of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education said in a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The letter from Lezli Baskerville, who heads the association of black colleges, argues that Louisiana's planned cuts to colleges and schools this year, on top of previous cuts, would be unwarranted at a time when the state has a rainy day fund and is reviewing the structure of its higher education system that could save $150 million. Granting a waiver to the recovery act's "maintenance of effort" provision, Baskerville wrote, "would establish bad precedent and open the floodgates for numerous other states with stockpiled funds to seek a waiver." Baskerville said the was worried that the cuts would devastate the state's historically black colleges, Grambling State and Southern Universities.
Reports have emerged that meeting space at the University of Oregon has been used for the meetings of an organization with Nazi-style views about Jews and where members have engaged in Nazi salutes. The group holding the meetings has done so for years, but recent reports by those who have attended meetings have angered many. A university spokeswoman said that the group has no affiliation with the university but is able to meet there under a rule allowing emeritus professors to reserve rooms, and an emeritus professor has been doing so. The university is currently reviewing that rule.
Harvard University said in financial filings that it is among 40 colleges that will undergo Internal Revenue Service audits stemming from the agency's broad compliance review in higher education, Bloomberg reported. The news agency, citing statements the university made in papers filed as part of a bond offering, quoted Harvard officials as saying that they have "no reason to believe that the examination will have an adverse effect on the tax-exempt status of the university or any other aspect of the university’s operations.” Harvard and IRS officials both declined to comment to Bloomberg. The IRS sent long questionnaires to 400 colleges last fall.
A federal panel has urged the use of random drug tests and other enhanced security measures to monitor researchers who work with the deadliest pathogens, the Associated Press reported. And the report recommended extra scrutiny of those researchers who are foreign nationals.
A Chinese businessman is facing criticism by some in his country over a gift of $8,888,888 to Yale University, AFP reported. The gift has attracted attention because Zhang Lei selected the figure based on the luck associated in Chinese culture with the numeral eight. While some in China have praised the gift, many have responded on Web discussion boards by attacking him for giving to an American institution. He has been called "scum" and "traitor." One comment said: "The Chinese education system helped you, but Americans have only ever given us trouble. Helping them hurts China. Got it?"
Teresa A. Sullivan, provost at the University of Michigan, was on Monday named the next president of the University of Virginia. Sullivan will succeed John T. Casteen III, who is stepping down at the end of this academic year, his 20th as president. Prior to working at Michigan, Sullivan spent 27 years at the University of Texas, rising to become executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the university system.
A former reunions campaign official who is suing Cornell University in a dispute on overtime payments threatened to release e-mail messages that he says show the university will admit mediocre students in return for certain levels of contributions, The Ithaca Journal reported. The employee's former lawyer outlined the issue in a letter to Cornell, suggesting that release of the e-mails would result from failure to resolve the overtime dispute. Cornell responded by saying that the letter "appears to constitute extortion" and adding that the employee was covered by a confidentiality agreement he signed when working at the university. A spokeswoman for the university said she couldn't comment on the case while it was in litigation.
Arizona State University has settled a lawsuit brought by two groups that advocate for the blind, challenging the university's participation in a program in which students were given Kindles for various educational purposes. The organizations charged that the program discriminated against blind people because the Kindle was not designed in ways to enable blind people to use it. The settlement notes that the program at Arizona State was only a pilot and the university is pledging that any future programs would use devices designed to be accessible to blind people. Amazon and other producers of reader devices have said that they are finding ways to make them more accessible to people with visual impairments.