Citing a chilling effect on study participants, faculty members who study sexual assault say they should be exempt from mandatory reporting requirements. Fraternities are also arguing for an exemption for volunteer chapter advisers.
When professors leave one job due to sexual harassment allegations, they can land new jobs and repeat the behavior elsewhere, a recent case involving the University of Delaware and San Diego State University suggests.
Suffolk University is severing ties with the Beacon Hill Institute, a conservative research center funded in part by the conservative Koch Foundation, The Boston Globe reported. A university spokesman said it was the center’s decision to leave, but David Tuerck, center director, told the Globe that Suffolk made it impossible to stay on there by denying research proposals and limiting funding sources. Tuerck said the trouble peaked about six months ago, after Margaret McKenna, a political liberal, became Suffolk’s president. Greg Gatlin, a Suffolk spokesman, denied the change had anything to do with how the institution treated the center. Rather, he told the Globe, Suffolk requires research centers to be self-sustaining and Beacon Hill had run a deficit for years.
Suffolk’s relationship with Beacon Hill became strained in 2013, after the center proposed a study aimed at weakening a regional initiative to reduce carbon pollution, the Globe reported. The university said at the time that the goals of that research were not in line with its mission. Tuerck said, "The entire administration made up their mind that they were troubled by what we were doing in some way, where we were getting money, how we were using the money, what we were saying, and they wanted things to change."
While some have criticized the center for accepting donations from the Koch Foundation, Tuerck told the Globe that the center receives just 1 percent of its funds from the organization, or about $33,000 over three years. He said he wasn't opposed to reasonable limits on fund-raising, but that those imposed on the center had become too onerous. But Kalin Jordan, a Suffolk graduate and co-founder of the group UnKoch My Campus, said via email that that is potentially misleading, since Beacon Hill has received more than $800,000 from the notoriously antiregulation Kochs since 2008, based on a database of federal tax filings she helps maintain. The center will move off campus next year, in what Tuerck called an "amicable divorce."
The full-time faculty at State College of Florida at Manatee-Sarasota voted no confidence in the college’s Board of Trustees this week, the Bradenton-Herald reported. The 118-2 vote comes after the board’s recent decision to eliminate the college’s tenure-like system even over the objections of college administrators, and after a proposal by one board member to consider faculty pay bids -- something like a fee-for-service quote -- in hiring decisions.
Robyn Bell, a professor of music at the college and president of its Faculty Senate, said in a statement that the board’s recent vote was the “final straw in a long list of deeds and actions that have proven more harmful than helpful to our college. Such ideologically/politically driven decisions have been made without research or merit and attempt to govern a public institution of education as a private, corporate business.”
Carol Probstfeld, the college’s president, said in a separate statement, “We all agree that our students deserve the best possible faculty to provide an impactful and competitive education. We remain committed to hiring and retaining the best possible faculty.”
Craig Trigueiro, board chairman, said he wasn’t surprised by the vote but that the board stands by its decision to end continuing contracts, which previously afforded long-serving faculty members in good standing due process protections that were similar to those ensured by tenure. Trigueiro said professors’ fears that they’ll lose academic freedom under the new year-to-year contract system are misplaced, in that the board “has no intention of decreasing academic freedom,” the Herald reported. “We support academic freedom. A college or a university without academic freedom, in my opinion, is not a college or university.”
Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized the salaries of college presidents, The Washington Post's Jenna Johnson reported on Twitter. His comment: "You look at the kind of salaries paid to the heads of the colleges -- it's like they're running a business, a real business." The candidate for the Republican presidential nomination made the comment at a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
Johns Hopkins University is the latest institution to announce a major faculty diversity initiative in light of the recent, nationwide student protests over campus race relations. President Ronald J. Daniels said in mid-November that the university was pursuing concrete ways to increase faculty diversity and earlier this week, Robert C. Lieberman, provost, along with nine academic deans, outlined a $25-million, five-year plan. Each academic division will establish protocols for faculty searchers to increase diversity in applicant pools, including unconscious bias training for search committee members and oversight of candidate short lists by division leaders. Individual schools within the university also will be encouraged to recruit senior faculty members from underrepresented groups.
A Target of Opportunity Program stemming from an earlier initiative will offer up to $100,000 per faculty appointee to support recruitment of diverse faculty members beyond planned search cycles, and a new fund will support visiting faculty members who enhance on-campus diversity. A two-year Provost’s Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program aims to prepare postdoctoral fellows for tenure-track positions on campus or at peer institutions, particularly in fields with relatively few women or underrepresented minorities. And the provost will offer a $50,000 award in each of the next five years to a full-time faculty member pursuing research related to diversity and inclusion. The plan includes data tracking and other accountability measures.
The initiative "will support our firm commitment to locate, attract, and retain the best and most talented faculty, representing a broad diversity of backgrounds, thought, and experiences," the provost and deans said in their announcement. "Each academic division of the university will develop and execute a detailed plan, tailored to its specific academic discipline, to enhance faculty diversity and cultivate an environment that is inclusive of diverse scholars.”
While the plan was finalized during the student protests, it’s been in the works for a year. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, vice provost for faculty affairs, assessed current trends, consulted with faculty and administration, and reviewed strategies and best practices, according to information from the university.
Sylvia Alva, dean of the College of Health and Human Development at California State University-Northridge, has been named provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.
Martha Minow, the law dean at Harvard University, on Monday announced that she had appointed a panel to study whether the law school should change its seal, which many black students and others say honors a man with a terrible history. The seal (at right) is the crest of arms of Isaac Royall, whose bequest endowed the first chair at the law school. Students have advocating changing the seal because of Royall's ties to slave labor. As Minow write in an announcement of the study, "Royall was the son of an Antiguan slaveholder known to have treated his slaves with extreme cruelty, including burning 77 people to death." She appointed historians on the faculty "to lead a process for soliciting the views and perspectives of all within our community -- students, alumni, faculty and staff -- on whether the Royall crest should be discarded from our shield. Through that process, we will gain a better sense of what course of action should be recommended and pursued, and we will discuss and understand important aspects of our history and what defines us today and tomorrow as a community dedicated to justice, diversity, equality and inclusion. We will also have an opportunity to do what all lawyers must do if they are to be effective, which is to truly listen to the perspectives and experiences related by others.”