The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have warned Philadelphia-area colleges of threats of violence made on social media to an unspecified college “near Philadelphia.” The threats are for today at 2 p.m. Several colleges have sent alerts to students and faculty members and -- while maintaining regular operations -- have added extra security for the day. Here are the notices sent out by Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Anna Stubblefield case captivated academics when news first broke. But with her conviction of sexual assault of an intellectually disabled man, scholars disagree as to significance of case for disability studies.
Some Chicago-area faculty members and students continued their efforts to get DePaul University to investigate the past of its dean of the College of Science and Health, based on allegations that he -- as past president of the American Psychological Association -- may have supported torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. More than 600 people have signed a petition calling for the ouster of Gerald Koocher as dean, and late last week, a group of activists held an on-campus news conference expressing their continued concerns.
“They had one goal in mind, and that was to make sure that psychologists could continue in Guantanamo,” Frank Summers, a professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University, said at the conference. M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor emeritus of law at DePaul, urged the university to independently investigate whether Koocher violated its code of ethics, saying that “an academic institution like DePaul based on its Vincentian values cannot allow for a member of its faculty be involved in such situations.”
The allegations against Koocher come from a recent independent review by the APA, which found that the association seemed to want to please the Pentagon rather than stick up for ethical standards -- and that the activities of key leaders of the association buttressed the argument for using interrogation techniques many consider to be torture. The report mentions Koocher by name numerous times but does not conclude that he personally supported torture of detainees. It does, however, conclude that APA leaders had reason to suspect that it had occurred.
DePaul did not return requests for comment. In July, upon release of the report, Koocher and another past president of the APA wrote a lengthy public response denying participation in or support of torture. “We want to state clearly and unambiguously: we do not now and never have supported the use of cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of prisoners or detainees,” they said. “We absolutely reject the notion that any ethical justification for torture exists, and confirm that any such behaviors never have been ethically acceptable. … We never colluded with government agencies or the military to craft APA policies in order to justify their goals or the illegal ‘enhanced interrogation’ practices promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush.”
This isn't the first time an academic psychologist’s career has been challenged by past involvement in detainee interrogation policies. Retired U.S. Army Col. Larry James’s 2013 bid to take a new administrative post at the University of Missouri at Columbia died after students protested his work at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at Guantanamo. James, however, said he helped fix a broken a broken system -- much of which is recounted in his book, Fixing Hell: An Army Psychologist Confronts Abu Ghraib.
Non-tenure-track instructors at Barnard College voted to form a union affiliated with United Auto Workers, they announced Friday. Some 207 faculty members were eligible to vote in the election; of those who voted, 114 were in favor and 11 were opposed. “We are encouraged by the college’s commitment to neutrality and look forward to negotiating long overdue improvements in our first contract,” Siobhan Burke, an instructor of dance, said in an announcement.
Barnard’s administration said in a statement, “We look forward to working productively with the union and thank all of our faculty for their efforts each and every day to provide the best-quality education to our students.”
A new book, Breaking Cardinal Rules, by a Louisville-based escort, Katina Powell, charges that a former University of Louisville director of basketball operations arranged for escorts to be provided to basketball recruits for several years, The Courier-Journal reported. The university is investigating the allegations and has reported on the situation to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Andre McGee, the former Louisville official, is now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, which has placed him on administrative leave. Scott Cox, McGee's lawyer, said that McGee knew Powell but denied the charges in the book.
Submitted by Paul Fain on October 5, 2015 - 3:00am
Education Management Corporation has laid off 115 faculty and staff members at its Art Institute campuses, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettereported. The for-profit chain has had slumping revenue and enrollments. In May it announced the closure of 15 of the 52 Art Institute locations. Then, in June, EDMC laid off 300 employees.
The company also announced Friday that it has become a public benefit corporation. That switch means the company remains for-profit but legally is allowed to focus more on activities that aren’t related to boosting its profit margin. The process requires companies to alter their governance structures. Another for-profit chain, Rasmussen College, made the same change last year.
Becker explained the decision in a written statement:
“Most of our operations are outside of the United States, where there are many barriers that inhibit participation in higher education. We committed ourselves to overcoming these barriers in order to expand access. For a long time, we didn't have an easy way to explain the idea of a for-profit company with such a deep commitment to benefiting society. In 2010, we took notice when the first state in the U.S. passed legislation creating the concept of a public benefit corporation, a new type of for-profit corporation with an expressed commitment to creating a material, positive impact on society. Our public benefit is firmly rooted in our belief that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit.”