Kennesaw State University, under fire for removing an art installation because it would not have been "celebratory" at the opening of a new museum, on Wednesday issued a new statement about its views on the issue. The art that was removed dealt with a woman whose land the university obtained and whose writing have led many to call her an apologist for lynching. The art installation did not focus solely on this issue, but included it among many parts of the woman's story.
The new university statement said: "The exhibit does not exist in a vacuum; it is connected to a sensitive controversy in Kennesaw State’s recent past, which remains extremely raw for many university constituents.Given that the opening of the Zuckerman Museum of Art was intended to be a celebration of new space dedicated to the arts, withdrawing the exhibition was a difficult decision that we knew would not be well received – and one which was unfortunate due to the administration’s late knowledge of the subject matter. This was the result of communications breakdowns in our internal processes, which are being addressed." The statement added that the university is "holding conversations with the artist to explore re-instating" the artwork, "accompanied by related programming."
The artist is Ruth Stanford, associate professor of sculpture at Georgia State University. She said Wednesday that the university called her to talk about restoring the installation "with context," but has yet to provide details on what that means.
Johnson O. Akinleye, associate vice chancellor for academic programs at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, has been named provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at North Carolina Central University.
Pennsylvania State University on Tuesday announced plans to auction off some of its intellectual property. Like most research universities, Penn State holds patent rights on many inventions, and many of these patents haven't been taken to market in a meaningful way with new products or services. Penn State believes that its auction is the first of its kind and could provide the university with revenue and allow more patents to be used to their fullest potential.
Lawrence Mitchell, who is facing complaints of harassment, has resigned as law dean at Case Western Reserve University,The Plain Dealer reported. Mitchell and the university were sued by a professor who said that he faced retaliation when reporting complaints that Mitchell has harassed women at the law school. Mitchell has denied the allegations, but said that "I have concluded that I cannot return to my job as dean with the same energy and enthusiasm that characterized my earlier service." He will continue on the law faculty.
The National Coalition Against Censorship -- which includes numerous academic groups -- has written to Kennesaw State University to demand the restoration of an installation that administrators ordered removed from an exhibit last week. The installation was about land once owned by Corra Harris (1869-1935), who was a prominent author and whose homestead the university accepted as a gift to preserve in 2009 -- over the objections of some faculty members. Part of the installation dealt with a racist letter Harris wrote -- a letter that launched her careers and that has had her identified ever since as an apologist for lynching. The university said that the installation was ordered removed from an exhibit in the new art museum at Kennesaw State because the work was "not aligned with the celebratory atmosphere of the museum’s opening."
The letter from the National Coalition Against Censorship says in part: "The removal of Ruth Stanford's [the artist's] work is not only a missed educational opportunity, it also raises serious constitutional concerns. As a public educational institution, Kennesaw State has an obligation under the First Amendment not to discriminate against particular ideas, no matter how controversial they might be."
A spokeswoman for the university said that she did not know of a response from the institution.
Austin College partners with graduate schools to show liberal arts grads have clear paths to success. Undergraduates will get perks including internships, early decision admission and dual degree credit.
The board of the University of West Alabama has placed President Richard Holland on leave, and voted not to renew his contract, The Tuscaloosa News reported. The move came just after Holland asked the board to investigate whether a trustee inappropriately sought to influence the board's review of his performance, the News reported. According to Holland, the trustee worked with two senior administrators to identify people who view the president negatively -- so that those individuals' views would be included in the performance review. The trustee declined to comment.
More California State University campuses are adopting or proposing "student success fees" of $200 to $500 per semester to add sections, counseling and other services that promote degree completion, The Los Angeles Times reported. The campuses say that they need the funds, noting that the relatively good budget year they are having doesn't come close to making up for the cuts of previous years. But students and others say that these fees are paying for expenses that tuition is supposed to cover, and that the fees run counter to pledges to the state about minimizing tuition increases.