The University of South Carolina Upstate has been under attack by legislators lately over a book on gay themes that was assigned to freshmen and a scheduled appearance (since called off) of the comedy show “How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.” On Sunday, Chancellor Tom Moore published a short essay called "On Being a University," trying to put the events in context. He noted that the university offers a range of programs for all kinds of students -- for students with different academic majors, of different religious groups, for veterans and so forth. Moore wrote that, if one looks at the totality of the programs at the university, issues related to gay students and gay issues "definitely" do not dominate, and are only a small fraction of what is offered.
But he also defended the idea that these programs need to be part of the mix. "If public universities do not offer programs and conferences that deal with cultural dynamics related to LGBTQ and other societal issues, where will such programs occur? Wherever we stand on issues of gay rights and same-sex marriage, denying the presence and importance of these issues in contemporary American culture is tantamount to burying our heads in the sand," Moore wrote. "As a public university, we must engage important issues in our culture, even when doing so makes some uncomfortable."
The University of Oregon's Faculty Senate says it has approved a statement on academic freedom that is one of the strongest in the country, The Oregonian reported. The resolution followed months of contentious negotiation of an academic freedom statement to be included in the faculty union's contract. The collective bargaining agreement eventually was signed this year, and included what faculty members have described as a compromise between the union and the university regarding academic freedom and free speech.
The new Faculty Senate resolution goes beyond what is included in the contract, extending free-speech protections to students and non-faculty employees, as well as faculty members, for the purposes of teaching, research, shared governance and public service, "which shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal.” The full text of the statement is available here.
In an email, Michael Gottfredson, Oregon's president, said: “I look forward to closely reviewing the senate's latest version of the statement. Academic freedom is central to our mission and underlies everything we do as a university. I fully support the strongest policy possible to affirm and strengthen this freedom." Gottfredson has 60 days to either approve or reject the statement.
David Rosen announced his resignation Thursday as president of the Kendall College of Art and Design, amid student protests on his behalf, MLive reported. Rosen did not give a reason for leaving, after only two years in office, but said that he was doing so voluntarily. But students and other supporters believe he is being forced out, and they are demanding that he be retained. Kendall was founded in 1928 as a free standing art college, but the Grand Rapids institution became part of Ferris State University in 2000.
Indiana University announced Thursday that it will increase the minimum wage paid to university employees to $8.25 an hour, up from the current minimum of $7.25, the federal minimum wage. About 8,750 employees at Indiana campuses -- many of them students -- currently are paid minimum wage. "Indiana University depends on the hard work of many part-time and temporary employees on all our campuses, and this much-deserved pay increase is one way we can recognize their important contributions to the success of IU," said President Michael A. McRobbie. "Many of these employees also are students at IU, and increasing their pay is consistent with our commitment to student affordability and accessibility."
A University of Connecticut sorority has been suspended while it is being investigated for hazing not of women, but of men, The Hartford Courant reported. The newspaper reported that the Delta Zeta sorority was "accused of forcing men involved with a school fraternity to consume alcohol, eat dog treats, paint their bodies, wear women's thong underwear and take shots of alcohol off each other's bodies, among other things."