Submitted by Jake New on February 26, 2015 - 3:00am
Student presidents from 76 universities sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education this week opposing the Office for Civil Rights' recommendation that students should not be permitted to serve on panels adjudicating campus sexual assault cases.
"While we understand and support the good spirit of the recommendation -- to ensure well-trained and unbiased participation -- we strongly feel that it has significant unintended consequences," the letter reads. "Students provide valuable perspective as peers that faculty and staff cannot. They relate to the student experience directly and provide insight during questioning and discussion, enhancing the quality of hearings."
The letter, which was also sent to senators from 25 states, was written by Celia Wright, student president at Ohio State University. "A reasonable alternative would require adoption of baseline standards for training and confidentiality expectations for all members of conduct hearing boards," Wright wrote.
Submitted by Jake New on February 26, 2015 - 3:00am
A female student is suing the State University of New York at Stony Brook, saying that the university required her to "prosecute" and cross-examine the student she accused of assaulting her. The female student had to create exhibits, write an opening statement and pursue witness testimony, she told The Journal News. The preparation, she said, took 60 hours and the hearing lasted 5 hours. In the end, the accused student was found not responsible for sexual misconduct. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages and a court order banning the practice of requiring sexual assault victims to "prosecute their own cases and to cross-examine and be cross-examined by their assailants."
The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has urged colleges to not allow such a practice. Stony Brook is one of two SUNY institutions under pending Title IX investigations by the office. In October, months after the student's assault, all 64 SUNY campuses adopted a new systemwide sexual assault policy, including agreeing to use a uniform definition of consent and to provide victims with a bill of rights. The new policy does not mention whether students should be required to cross-examine their alleged attackers.
Chad Brown, provost and executive vice president of Zane State College, in Ohio, has been promoted to president there.
Andrew H. Card Jr., acting dean of the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, has been selected as president of Franklin Pierce University, in New Hampshire.
Western Nevada College announced Tuesday that it is eliminating its two intercollegiate teams, baseball and softball, The Record Courier reported. Officials said they could not justify the expense -- $400,000 a year for 50 students who played on the teams.
Submitted by Jake New on February 25, 2015 - 3:00am
Three percent of female college students responding to a new survey reported being sexually assaulted within their first four to six weeks of college. The survey, conducted by EverFi, an education company that specializes in sexual assault prevention training, included 530,000 students from more than 400 institutions. Nearly 10 percent of female respondents said they had been assaulted by their senior year, as had 4 percent of male students. Thirteen percent of female students in the survey said they had been assaulted prior to coming to college. The survey defined sexual assault as being "pressured or forced into sexual contact without consent."
The Justice Department estimates that 6.1 per 1,000 female students are sexually assaulted, and the oft-cited and oft-criticized National Institute of Justice Campus Sexual Assault Study puts that number at 1 in 5.
As part of National Adjunct Walkout Day today, many adjuncts -- along with some students and tenure-line faculty members -- will walk out of their classes or participate in other forms of protest on campuses across the U.S. and Canada. The idea was posed in the fall on social media to highlight adjuncts' working conditions, lack of job security and relatively low pay. Many adjuncts on unionized campuses are prohibited by their collective bargaining agreements or state laws from walking out, but many unions have pledged to support the effort through awareness campaigns, such as teach-ins. A list of actions is available here, and updates will be posted throughout the day on Twitter under #NAWD and on Facebook.
The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday joined a chorus of other organizations and academics that have criticized a controversial recommendation that the board of the University of North Carolina System shutter the Chapel Hill campus's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity. Critics of the decision have said that the board is playing politics and is targeting the center's director, Gene Nichol, a professor of law, for being an outspoken critic of policy makers who he says aren't doing enough to help the state's poor.
The AAUP's statement says in part that to be "true to their mission, public universities must serve all members of our society, the poor as well as the privileged. Externally funded centers must be free to sponsor curricular and extracurricular programs and provide services to the public across the broadest range of perspectives and approaches."
A Chapel Hill spokesman referred a request for comment to a campus message from Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Provost James W. Dean Jr., saying in part that "We recommended against this action, and are very disappointed with [the board's] decision. Since its inception in 2005, the center has focused dialogue, research and public attention on the many dimensions of poverty and economic hardship for people in North Carolina and beyond."
Adjuncts at Temple University on Monday kicked off National Adjunct Action Week with a pro-union march around campus. A sufficient number of adjuncts signed a petition to hold an election to form a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. But the university has challenged their bid on a number of points, including who should and should not be included in the bargaining unit, and the case is pending before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. About 75 adjuncts and their supporters walked across campus, holding pro-union signs and demanding that the university to allow them to set a union election date. Here's a Twitter image of the event:
Sharon Boyle, Temple’s associate vice president for human resources, said the university is concerned about adjuncts’ working conditions, and “didn’t need a march to pay attention to them.” She said the university already has raised adjuncts’ pay from $1,200 to $1,300 per credit hour (most courses are three or four), and that many of their concerns -- such as timelier course assignments and participation in shared governance -- need to be addressed by the full-time faculty. Ryan Eckes, an adjunct instructor of English at Temple, said adjuncts want better pay, benefits and job security, and need to be able to bargain collectively with the university to achieve them.
Although Monday’s march was specifically about the union bid, Eckes said it reflected the goals of adjuncts on other campuses and was timed to coincide with National Adjunct Action Week, an offshoot and extension of National Adjunct Walkout Day, which is planned for Wednesday. “Adjuncts are 70 percent of the faculty nationwide, and most students don’t even know what adjunct means,” he said. “We want to make the public aware of this situation in higher education.”