Ninety-one percent of faculty members at California State University Stanislaus voted no confidence last week in President Ham Shirvani, The Modesto Bee reported. Faculty leaders stressed that frustration with the president extends beyond the current budget problems in the state. They said that there have been problems with financial management and lack of communication that predate the current crisis. A university vice president said that the vote wasn't a surprise, given how painful budget cuts have been. In Ohio last week, faculty members at Owens Community College voted no confidence in Paul Unger, the provost, The Toledo Blade reported that faculty leaders blame Unger for the loss of accreditation for the college's nursing program. College officials have apologized for the loss of accreditation.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Are LeTourneau University undergraduates being robbed of credit for a prosthetic knee they invented? The university thinks so, according to The News-Journal. Time recently praised Stanford University's prosthetic knee as one of the best inventions of the year, and that honor led LeTourneau officials to investigate and to challenge the idea that this was truly a Stanford invention. Stanford officials told the newspaper that its design was unique.
Faculty members at Oberlin College voted last week to create an online and free archive to which they will add all work they publish in peer reviewed journals. The move, similar to those taken by faculties at several research universities, reflects support for the open access movement in which the paid subscription model for journals is being challenged. Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies and chair of the General Faculty Library Committee said in a statement: “The current system of journal publishing, which largely relies on subscriptions and licenses, limits access to research information in significant ways, particularly for students and faculty at smaller and less wealthy institutions, as well as for the general public. Access is also seriously limited around the world in countries with fewer resources.”
Andrew Kniceley has resigned as chair of the Board of Governors of Fairmont State University, following an incident in which he yelled at an assistant football coach when Kniceley's son saw action in only three plays in a football game, The Charleston Gazette reported.
The new community college at the University of the District of Columbia needs independence from the university to be "credible and legitimate," according to a report being released today, The Washington Post reported. The study praises the establishment of the community college in a city that had lacked one, but says that UDC has lost the confidence of the business community, a situation that would hurt the development of the community college. Officials of the college said that their institution would be judged by the quality of graduates, not the link to UDC.
The Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally at the University of Mississippi Saturday to protest the university's ban on shouting the final line of a fight song: "The South shall rise again," The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The university has been discouraging the last line -- going so far as to change a song commonly performed at football games -- because the line is offensive to many who see it as a link to the university's racist past. The Klan sees the issue in a different way. "This is not a white or black issue at all. It's freedom of speech. They've got a right to say what they want at the game," said Shane Tate, a Klan leader in the state.
Without admitting wrongdoing, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has agreed to pay $40,000 to a former employee who says she was fired after the university learned that she is a witch, The Lincoln Journal Star reported. The woman formerly directed a youth program at the university.
The Hope tax credit is designed to help middle class families pay for college -- but not this much. A Treasury Department audit released Thursday found that several hundred thousand taxpayers sought credit in 2006 and 2007 for more than half a billion dollars more than they were supposed to by claiming the tax credit for a third or even a fourth year; it is limited by statute to two years. The agency's inspector general for tax administration found that the IRS system is not set up to flag taxpayers who seek the credit for more than two years, and that agency officials lack the ability to disallow claims for Hope credits because of "math errors." The audit recommends that the IRS be given that authority. The Hope credit was significantly expanded for 2009 and 2010 as part of the federal economic stimulus package.
The University of Nebraska's Board of Regents is scheduled to vote today on whether to limit embryonic stem cell research at university facilities to studies that would have been permitted under the Bush administration's more restrictive policy. The resolution (see Page 4 at this link), which is backed by several regents supported by Nebraska Right to Life, would put the university out of the mainstream and at odds with policy changes made by the Obama administration, which has cleared the way for far more use of stem cells than was allowed in federally backed studies during the previous eight years.
As students protested outside, the University of California's Board of Regents on Thursday reluctantly approved a 32 percent increase in "fees" (what the rest of higher education calls tuition) for 2010-11. "We're being forced to impose a user tax on our students and their families," Mark Yudof, the UC system's president, said during a committee hearing Wednesday. "This is a tax necessary because our political leaders have failed to adequately fund public higher education." Under the budget, which also seeks a $913 million increase in state support for the 2010-11 academic year, undergraduates and graduate professional school students will see an increase of 15 percent, or $585, in the forthcoming winter and spring terms, and an additional 15 percent increase, or $1,334, beginning in summer 2010.