Two top officials of Portland State University's foundation have resigned in the wake of an embarrassing incident in which the university invited many to the expected announcement of a $100 million gift, but called the event off when the gift failed to materialize, The Oregonian reported. The would-be donor turned out to be someone who might not have had the money in the first place, and questions have been raised about whether the donor was vetted.
An in-depth article in The Globe & Mail explores the year that Arvind Gupta was president of the University of British Columbia, one of Canada's top institutions. Gupta's surprise departure has not been explained, setting off much speculation on and off campus and many questions about the board at UBC. According to the article, Gupta succeeded in his year in office in building good working relationships with faculty members. But changes he made in the administrator ranks left many administrators (and apparently board members) feeling frustrated. The article says that board members thought Gupta was making changes in the leadership ranks without getting enough board buy-in.
Wednesday and Thursday saw several shootings -- one resulting in a student death -- and other security incidents on campuses. Here is a round-up of local press reports:
Savannah State University announced today that a student died at a local hospital to which he was taken after being shot in an altercation at the student union. The university has delayed classes this morning until 10 a.m. and has grief counselors on site.
Fraternity members at an off-campus house near Old Dominion University are under fire for hanging sexist "welcome" signs -- behavior that offends many, but is a crude tradition at many colleges. Until now, few academic leaders have spoken out.
Newark's Essex County College tried adaptive learning software to improve remedial math success rates. It hasn't worked, as students and faculty have struggled with the "self-regulated" approach to learning.
A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reveals when in the calendar year college students are most likely to start using various substances. June is the month students are most likely to start using marijuana, and is also the month for people to start underage drinking. Winter months, however, tend to be when college students start nonmedical use of prescription drugs.
Some six months after one racist incident on campus, Bucknell University is dealing with another -- this time directed at a faculty member. President John Bravman said in a statement to faculty, students and staff this week that a “message containing racist, hateful language was found written on a whiteboard hanging on a faculty colleague’s office door,” and that the university is “doing all that we can to try to identify the individual(s) responsible for this disgusting display of intolerance.” Details, including the name of the targeted professor, have not been released.
This week’s incident comes a semester after three students were expelled for using racial slurs and making threats during a student radio station broadcast. Bravman said in his note that the “events of last semester made us acutely aware of the discrimination that exists on campus and in society more broadly,” and that everyone at Bucknell “must continue to work in earnest toward confronting those inequities.”
He added, “We cannot allow acts such as this to derail our efforts toward genuine and needed change. To accept anything less than a safe, inclusive community for all is to fail. I urge you to continue this fight for yourselves, for our colleagues and for our students.”
A regional National Labor Relations Board office said Wednesday that adjuncts at Manhattan College may count their union election votes. The ballots have been impounded since 2011, when the Roman Catholic college objected to NLRB jurisdiction over its campus, citing its religious affiliation. The case was pending before the NLRB in Washington until earlier this year, when the board sent the Manhattan adjunct union case and a handful of others involving would-be adjunct unions at religious colleges back to their regional NLRB offices for re-evaluation based on the recent Pacific Lutheran University decision. In that case, the NLRB said that adjuncts who wanted to form a Service Employees International Union-affiliated collective bargaining unit could do so, because their service to the institution was not sufficiently religious in nature to conflict with the National Labor Relations Act giving workers the right to organize.
The Pacific Lutheran decision included criteria by which other adjunct union bids at religious colleges were to be assessed. In her decision regarding Manhattan, Karen P. Fernbach, director of the NLRB’s regional office in New York, said the college “failed to establish that it holds out the petitioned-for adjunct faculty members as performing a specific role in maintaining” its religious educational environment. For example, she said, the college's faculty application materials say there is “no intention on the part of the [governing] board, the administration or the faculty to impose church affiliation and religious observance as a condition for hiring or admission, to set quotas based on religious affiliation, to require loyalty oaths, attendance at religious services, or courses in Catholic theology."
The proposed Manhattan adjunct union is affiliated with New York State United Teachers, which is in turn affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Paul E. Dinter, a visiting professor of religious studies, said that as "an educator, a Catholic and a social justice advocate, I have to be pleased that the NLRB decision supports the clear Catholic moral teaching that workers have a right to organize. All of us who love Manhattan College and its social justice mission are heartened by this fair and long-delayed decision.”
In a statement, Brennan O'Donnell, Manhattan's president, said, “We are disappointed, but not surprised, by the ruling. We continue to assert our position that the NLRB does not have the right to define what constitutes the Catholic identity and mission of the college.” Manhattan has the option to appeal the ruling. The college said in a statement that it's considering how it will respond.