Lincoln University in Missouri made headlines last year for shuttering its history department against the advice of a faculty committee. Now Lincoln has changed its financial exigency policy in ways that would make it much easier to lay off tenured faculty members. Financial exigency -- defined by the American Association of University Professors as a dire, institutionwide crisis -- is one of the few ways AAUP policy says that professors in good standing may lose their jobs. Most institutions have adopted that policy, and those that don’t risk possible censure by the AAUP.
Lincoln has changed its rules to specify that financial exigency may be declared not only at the university level, but also “for specific colleges, schools, departments or programs.” Faculty members with the shortest term of service now also “will generally,” not definitively, be terminated before those with longer periods of service.
A spokesperson for Lincoln did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hans-Joerg Tiede, associate secretary for tenure, academic freedom and governance at AAUP, called the university's new policy a “significant departure from our standards” and reiterated that the association defines financial exigency as “a severe financial crisis that fundamentally compromises the academic integrity of the institution as a whole and that cannot be alleviated by less drastic means.”
Violence at University of Washington appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos followed protests that prevented a speech at UC Davis -- as tensions grow over Breitbart writer known for insults against feminists, minority groups and others.
The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Friday announced the suspension of 15 men's basketball players at LeMoyne-Owen College and Lane College after a brawl broke out at a game between the two teams. The brawl quickly escalated and included one player appearing to use a chair to attack another. The conference is also banning some fans who became involved from attending any more athletic events.
A man was shot and seriously wounded at the University of Washington Friday night outside a building where Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart writer who has been inflaming campuses with his comments about race and gender, was speaking. Details were not available on the shooting victim or on a suspect now in custody. The shooting victim is in the hospital.
As at many other campuses, Yiannopoulos drew protests and there were clashes -- mostly verbal but some involving the throwing of objects -- between Yiannopoulos fans waiting to get in and those protesting. The Seattle Times described some of the chants that took place, with those supporting Yiannopoulos shouting "white power" and those opposed shouting back "Nazi scum."
Prior to the event, many urged the university to call off the speech.
But Ana Mari Cauce, the university's president, declined to do so, citing the values of free expression. In a statement, Cauce criticized Yiannopoulos. "I want to state clearly, especially to the thousands of people who have contacted my office with concerns about an upcoming visit by a speaker known for racist and misogynist provocation, that we understand and empathize with their objections and frustration. The statements he has made at other campuses are clearly in opposition to the University of Washington’s values …. He is not someone I would ever invite to speak here, not because I don’t value a robust or difficult discussion about a range of policies or social issues -- such conversations are necessary and college campuses are ideal places to have them -- but because this is clearly not the kind of conversation he is seeking. He generates heat, not light, and his manner of engagement is anything but civil, respectful or conducive to true dialogue across differences, of which we need more, not less."
She added that the university would not block his right to speak, however. "The right to free speech and expression is broad and allows for speech that is offensive and that most of us would consider disrespectful, and even sexist or racist. As a public university committed to the free exchange of ideas and free expression, we are obligated to uphold this right," she said.
A California appeals court has issued a "tentative" ruling backing the right of Deep Springs College to admit women. The college is an unusual institution known for intellectual rigor and hard physical work on the college's ranch. Deep Springs has only 26 male students. The college's board (with strong backing from students and many faculty members and alumni) has been pushing for coeducation but has been blocked by lawsuits from doing so. The suits claim that the original purpose of the college was to educate men.
The college -- now with the tentative support of the appeals court -- argues that the purpose of the college was to provide a certain style of education and that the male-only provision should not be viewed as the dominant factor. The appeals court ruling notes, for example, that other things -- such as religious instruction, which was dropped -- have changed over the years.
A tentative ruling is not final and is issued to guide lawyers in their final arguments. So while the tentative ruling is an encouraging sign for the college, the fight over coeducation could still go on for some time.
Life will soon be a little easier for oral historians and a number of other kinds of scholars who have had to gain approval from institutional review boards. Revised federal guidance for such boards, to take effect in 2018, says the following activities are “deemed not to be research: (1) Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected.”
Historians, journalism students and scholars, and others have previously argued that they should be exempt from oversight by a board that aims to protect human research subjects. The American Historical Association, for example, issued a statement in support of the now-published revisions in 2015, saying it appreciates the government’s “consideration of self-regulation by historians. Individuals in any discipline who plan to do oral history interviews should follow the practices and ethical codes developed by the Oral History Association. These principles and codes aim to protect the interests of narrators (e.g., by requiring informed consent) while encouraging the creation of invaluable historical records.”
Who says play is just for kids? Not the University of Cambridge, which through today is accepting applications for a Lego professorship of play. The Lego Foundation is giving 2.5 million pounds ($3.1 million) to fund the position, in addition to a separate £1.5 million ($1.85 million) donation for a play research center in the university's education school, BBC News reported. The university says it aims to produce play-oriented research so that "children are equipped with 21st-century skills like problem solving, teamwork and self-control.” Tiny plastic blocks not your thing? Cambridge has previously advertised for a doctor of chocolate.