Scholars, scholars everywhere and no professor to pick. Cornell University took heat last fall for posting an unusually vague job ad for a professor showing “outstanding promise” in “some area” of the humanities or social sciences, with special consideration of “members of underrepresented groups, those who have faced economic hardship, are first-generation college graduates, or work on topics related to these issues.” Critics took to Twitter, simultaneously making fun of the ad and wondering if it was a hoax (it wasn’t).
One applicant has now been told the search that applied to an exceptionally broad pool of scholars has yielded no hires. The university, meanwhile, says the search has, in fact, resulted in a hire.
“I’m writing to inform you that our search did not yield a successful candidate to match our specific research needs,” reads an email sent to one applicant Tuesday by the office of the dean at College of Arts and Sciences. “We received many qualified applicants from our pool and we surely passed by some talented individuals. We wish you well in your future endeavors.”
The applicant, who did not want to be identified in any way due to an ongoing job search, called the decision disappointing. “Who knows if they’ll run the search again, or even if they’ll break it up into a series of smaller, more specific searches …. I think elite institutions are in a very privileged position: in a shrinking market, many seem to be able to run failed searches without any repercussions.”
Karen Kelsky, an academic job consultant who runs the blog The Professor Is In, still jokes about the original job listing and didn’t express surprise that the search may have been unsuccessful. “It was a preposterous ad that said something like ‘We want a scholar in any of 25 disciplines.’ There is simply no way to create a short list when the criteria are removed entirely from any kind of clear departmental, disciplinary or programmatic context. It’s comparing apples, oranges, sliced ham and … garden shears.”
Cornell, meanwhile, says the search did lead to a hire. John J. Carberry, spokesman, said in a brief statement Wednesday evening that he couldn’t confirm the rejected applicant’s statement because “this ad did result in a successful hire for the college.” No additional details were immediately available.
Adjuncts at Seattle University seeking recognition of their Service Employees International Union-affiliated union are planning to fast on Thursday. The adjuncts held a union election nearly two years ago, but the university has filed a series of appeals saying its religious affiliation puts it outside the National Labor Relations Board's jurisdiction. The votes remain uncounted.
"We voted nearly two years ago and the [university] administration continues to deny us," Ben Stork, a film studies instructor, said in a statement. "We cannot eat well unless we have a seat at the table." The university did not provide immediate comment on the protest. Seattle is one of many religious institutions that have opposed adjunct unions on religious grounds in recent years.
Graduate students and concerned alumni at the University of California at Los Angeles continue to organize against the planned return to campus of a history professor accused of serial sexual harassment, this time with a petition. The document, which had garnered more than 1,600 signatures as of Tuesday evening, asks Janet Napolitano, university system president, and the Board of Regents for the University of California to intervene in campus-level disciplinary proceedings against the professor, Gabriel Piterberg. Despite the severity of the allegations against him, Piterberg was given a one-term suspension and fined $3,000. He also agreed to various behavioral adjustments, such as not meeting with students with the door closed, causing many to question why he is being allowed back on campus at all.
“We, the undersigned, make clear that sexual harassment has no place at our university nor in the [university] system, and that we fully support the survivors of harassment across campuses,” reads the petition. “We are now forced to turn to you and the regents because the behavior and response from UCLA’s administration has broken our trust in their ability to fully respond to sexual violence on campus. We ask that you intervene in dismissing Piterberg from the university in order to show there is no tolerance for sexual harassment and gender violence of any kind at UCLA. We urge you to protect students and faculty from further harm by holding a vote to secure his dismissal, based on his violations of the sexual harassment policies in the Faculty Code of Conduct.”
The document also accuses the University of California System of uneven treatment of sexual harassers and suggests that Piterberg should be forced to resign or be fired, as in other recent sexual harassment cases on other campuses.
Piterberg, who is due back on campus this summer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A university system spokesperson said his office doesn't comment on pending litigation, referring to a lawsuit filed against the university by two graduate students over its handling of the Piterberg case.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has agreed to settlements with seven former women's basketball players and with its former football coach, the university announced Tuesday. The two cases are unrelated, though both were factors in several university officials stepping down or being fired last year.
The settlement with the women's basketball players is in response to a lawsuit filed against the university, in which the players alleged they were mistreated and racially discriminated against by coaching staff. The proposed settlement will award the players $375,000, split between the seven of them. The university admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. “We’re sorry that these students’ experiences at Illinois did not meet our high expectations,” Barbara Wilson, the university's interim chancellor, said in a statement. “This agreement reflects our genuine hope that they are able to progress to successful careers and lives.”
In a separate settlement, the university will pay its former football coach, Tim Beckman, $250,000. Beckman was fired last year after an investigation by the university found that he mistreated and abused his players, deterring them from reporting injuries and pressuring them to continue playing when hurt. The university said in a statement that it agreed to the settlement only to avoid "costly litigation," and that it stood by its decision to fire the coach.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with CBS Sports and Turner that will extend the broadcast rights for its Division I men's basketball tournament another eight years and that will award the association and its members $8.8 billion. The previous 14-year deal, priced at $10.8 billion, was to last through 2024. The new deal extends the agreement to 2032 and will net the NCAA $1.1 billion per year.
In 2011, ESPN extended its contract with the NCAA to broadcast the women's basketball tournament and other championship games. That 13-year deal was reportedly worth $500 million.
The Hartwick College faculty voted no confidence Monday in President Margaret Drugovich, The Daily Star reported. Many professors have been angry since the summer, when Drugovich eliminated 18 nonfaculty positions. Some faculty members, however, reached out to the newspaper to express support for their president, saying she was leading the college through difficult times. The board chair also released a statement saying that the board has "complete confidence" in the president.
Two graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley are accusing the institution of giving their faculty harasser a slap on the wrist. Kathleen Gutierrez and Erin Bennett are considering suing the institution for failing to do enough to stop Blake Wentworth, assistant professor of South and Southeast Asian studies, from sexually harassing them, according to The Guardian. Wentworth allegedly made sexual comments, the women said, and while a university investigation determined that he made “unwanted sexual advances,” the professor has reportedly received no formal discipline. Several other women have filed additional complaints.
The news comes after two other similar cases at Berkeley this academic year involving another professor and a dean. Last week, Berkeley released hundreds of pages of investigation records involving 19 employees found guilty of misconduct by the university's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination, 11 of whom resigned or were terminated, The Guardian reported -- but no tenured professor was fired for sexual harassment. Wentworth denied the allegations to the newspaper and said he was being “railroaded.” The university said disciplinary proceedings in his case are pending, according to The Guardian.