An ex-professor of anatomy at New York Institute of Technology who was accused of videotaping students in a campus bathroom with a hidden camera was found dead in his apartment late last week in an apparent suicide, the New York Daily News reported. Jackie Conrad, the professor, had been arrested a week earlier on unlawful surveillance charges, after a woman using the bathroom saw a pen with a blinking light sticking out from a ceiling tile and reported it to authorities. Conrad admitted to placing the camera, according to a criminal complaint. The university said that Conrad was no longer an employee after his arrest.
Bentley University’s adjunct faculty union reached a tentative contract agreement with the institution just three days before a planned protest over stalled negotiations. The four-year deal includes increases in per-class pay, more consistency in teaching assignments from semester to semester, a professional development fund and assurances of academic freedom. The contract describes an additional process for reporting workplace conflicts and violations.
“We are pleased to have this settled so we can all move forward,” the university said in a statement. Bentley adjuncts are affiliated with Service Employees International Union and had been planning a protest for Monday to coincide with the 40th anniversary celebration of the university's Center for Business Ethics. Campus adjuncts voted to form a union in early 2015 and said negotiations were taking too long.
“Negotiations like these are never easy, but both faculty and the administration remained committed to the process,” said Summar Sparks, a bargaining team leader and adjunct professor in expository writing, said in a separate statement. “After Friday’s marathon mediation session, I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that we can bring back to our colleagues for a vote.”
A faculty report about the climate at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley describes a pervasive “culture of fear” exacerbated by poor campus communication, according to The Monitor. The 23-page report, produced by the campus Faculty Senate, outlines the enduring difficulties of merging Texas’s former Pan-American and Brownsville campuses, including a “number of major issues that interfered with the ability of faculty and staff to perform their responsibilities efficiently.” Rio Grande Valley enrolled its first students in fall 2015.
Among concerns raised are a lack of administrative communication with faculty, staff and students, compensation, and impeded efficiency. “I’m not aware of any culture of fear,” President Guy Bailey told The Monitor,attributing faculty worries to the ongoing transition from two institutions to one.
“The first semester was fraught with significant glitches such as payroll errors, flawed advising processes and commencement exercises that were lacking in both pomp and circumstance,” reads the report, which also alleges that department chairs have in some cases suppressed discussion of potentially contentious subjects. “The second semester was smoother on the surface; however, major issues continued to permeate the campuses, which need to be addressed if [Rio Grande Valley] is to flourish and succeed.”
General Assembly, the largest coding and skills boot-camp provider, has laid off 50 employees, which is roughly 7 percent of the New York City-based company's work force, The Wall Street Journalreported last week. Jake Schwartz, the company's CEO and cofounder, told the newspaper that the layoffs were to make sure “we are completely self-sustainable and ready to control our own destiny for as long as it takes.”
Access to venture capital recently has tightened for many start-ups, the WSJ reported. General Assembly reportedly brought in $70 million in revenue last year. The company plans to make an announcement soon about new strategic investments, Schwartz said, while it seeks to continue growing a relatively new corporate training program.
Students may no longer apply to the Master’s International program with ties to the Peace Corps on any campus, The Keene Sentinelreported. The corps reportedly has outgrown its goals for the program and will be retiring it. Master’s International was created to pair graduate students “holding advanced sector-specific training and skills with relevant Peace Corps volunteer opportunities,” Emily Webb, corps spokesperson, told the Sentinel. Now, however, she said, the corps is attracting “remarkable numbers of highly qualified [applicants] and has created in-country trainings for volunteers that are far more robust and focused than they were in 1987,” when Master’s International began.
The corps has partnered with more than 90 U.S. academic institutions as part of the program, allowing students to pair their master’s degrees with relevant service. The program’s end won’t affect currently enrolled students or those who enroll by September.
The board of the Vermont State Colleges on Thursday approved a concept proposal to combine the administrations of Johnson State College and Lyndon State College, The Burlington Free Press reported. A more detailed proposal may now be presented in September to carry out the idea. Officials stressed that the two state colleges would maintain separate identities.
More than 30 presidents of historically black colleges on Wednesday issued a joint letter calling for "peace and unity" after the shootings of black men and of police officers in several cities. The presidents pledged to organize a symposium on gun violence and to raise awareness about "the debilitating impact of trauma on the lives of those who have been exposed to loss as a result of gun violence."
"HBCUs, by virtue of their special place in this nation, have always understood the hard work and sacrifices that must be made in order for America to live up to its ideals," says the letter. "From the moment that our doors first opened in 1842, the roles that our institutions have played were never narrowly confined to educating the men and women who sat in our classes and walked our campuses. Instead, ours was a much broader and more vital mission. We were charged with providing a light in the darkness for a people who had been constitutionally bound to the dark. Our very creation, existence and persistence were and always have been a duality of collaboration and protest. In this respect, America’s HBCUs were the birthplace of the idea that black lives matter to our country."
Columbia U announces major pay increases for graduate student workers ahead of a major NLRB decision on their union eligibility. The would-be union is happy but says collective bargaining is still the way forward.