In the latest "This Week" audio newscast, the Lumina Foundation's Zakiya Smith and Ralph Kuncl of the University of Redlands discuss divisions among public and private college leaders about limits of federal accountability in higher education, the wisdom of trying to rise in the U.S. News college rankings, and more.
Adjuncts at Seattle University at odds with the administrative over their bid to form a union announced victory Wednesday. The claim was largely symbolic, since the ballots from their recent vote have been impounded by the National Labor Relations Board, pending the university’s appeal of the bid on the grounds that the institution is Roman Catholic and therefore outside NLRB jurisdiction. In a news release, adjunct professor Louisa Edgerly asked the university to drop its appeal, “respect the democratic process, and allow the votes to be counted.” The said adjuncts are “very confident” they won the vote to organize in affiliation with the Service Employees International Union, which is organizing adjuncts in metro areas across the country. In the Seattle area, Pacific Lutheran University adjuncts also have had their votes impounded, pending the university’s appeal of an adjunct union bid, also on religious grounds. A Seattle University spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
More than 11,000 graduate student workers across the University of California System have reached a tentative four-year contract agreement between their union, the UC Student-Worker Union/United Auto Workers 2865, and the university, they announced Wednesday. Negotiations lasted a year, through two strikes and additional threats of strike, including a pending one that appears to have been averted with the deal. Graduate student workers announced earlier this year they had successfully bargained for language ensuring access to adequate lactation stations and gender-neutral bathrooms, but there were outstanding issues.
According to details of the contract released by the union, graduate student workers have negotiated for language ensuring mechanisms for feedback about workload intensity, as well as access for undocumented students to the same professional options available to all graduate students. Wages will increase about 16 percent spanning four years and the childcare subsidy is up from $600 per quarter to $900, with an increase in the maximum age of eligible children. Paid parental leave also is up for birth parents from four weeks to six weeks. In a statement, the union said it had reached “new terrain” for labor unions generally with the contract, including the provisions for undocumented students and gender-neutral bathrooms. The union, which is currently working off of an expired contract, plans on a vote to ratify the new contract within the next few weeks. In a statement, Dwaine B. Duckett, system vice president of human resources, said that both said "worked hard, and we’re pleased to have reached this tentative agreement." He added: “We’re even more pleased that our students will finish the school year without any more unnecessary disruptions, and will have the valued assistance of our academic student employees.”
The University of Texas at Austin took down dress code reminders that some found offensive in its School of Nursing Wednesday, but not before they made waves among students and on social media. The signs, which a university spokesman said were posted Tuesday by a well-meaning but ultimately misguided part-time staff member, told students not to wear "revealing clothing" that "distracts from the learning environment." Among a list of prohibited items were short skirts and "low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage." A student reportedly took a picture of one of the signs and sent it to Jezebel, which ran a critical post. "Remember, ladies! If you want to study to be a nurse at the University of Texas, you can't show too much of your midriff and thigh!" the post reads. "Because if your patient sees too much of your 'distracting' skin, he or she might forget to stop dying while you're trying to treat them or something." The piece was picked up by other blogs, including Feminist Philosophers.
J.B. Bird, university spokesman, said the signs were up for a total of 18 hours, and did not accurately reflect the college's dress code. Bird said the School of Nursing is the only part of the university that has a dress code, and that it exists not to police student apparel but to prepare future nurses for a profession that has a strict dress code, mainly for safety reasons. The school code applies to all nursing students, including the college's approximately 100 men, he said. On a university Tumblr account Wednesday, Gayle Timmerman, associate dean of academic affairs at the nursing school, said: "The signs we have taken down were not an accurate reflection of our policy. We’re not in the business of measuring skirt lengths. We are in the business of educating a new generation of nurses."
Kelly Cronin, the top fund-raiser in the University of Colorado System, is leaving the university after an investigation into why her assistant listened in on a private foundation board meeting, The Daily Camera reported. Officials said that there were a number of reasons she was leaving. But the departure -- less than a year after she started -- followed an investigation into why her assistant stayed on a conference call of the university's board after the board went into executive session. An investigation found no evidence Cronin asked the assistant to do so. But a spokesman for the university system said that the incident "damaged the relationship" between the university and the foundation board.
Joseph Saliba is stepping down as provost of the University of Dayton and returning to the faculty, WHIO News reported. The university characterized the shift as the end of a five-year term for the provost, but the move comes shortly after a faculty vote of no confidence in Saliba. Faculty have complained about a lack of commitment to shared governance.
Mark E. Arant, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, has been appointed as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern State University, in Oklahoma.
Susan Beatty, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University, in Oregon, has been chosen as provost of the Sage Colleges.
David Smith, former president of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, has agreed to pay $100,000 and to retire from the university by October 1,The Albany Times Union reported. He is paying the funds to settle complaints that he took consulting payments from businesses that had contracts with SUNY Upstate without authorization and in violation of SUNY rules. His various business ties came to light as Pennsylvania State University was apparently on the verge of naming him as the institution's next president.