The Service Women's Action Network sent a proposed executive order to the White House Monday, urging President Obama to create protections against gender discrimination at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and the Military Academy at West Point. Unlike other higher education institutions, military service academics are exempt from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which -- among other protections -- mandates that colleges quickly and competently investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual assault. The proposed executive action would explicitly bar gender and sex discrimination and empower the U.S. Department of Defense to enforce the order in a way similar to how the Department of Education enforces Title IX.
The prevalent argument now is that military academies are different enough from colleges that it doesn't make sense to apply a law meant for civilian institutions. Cadets, like all members of the armed services, are already subject to the uniform code of military justice. As the code is the foundation of military law, academy cadets can face much harsher punishments than typical college students. Colleges can suspend or expel a student they believe committed a sexual assault. Academy cadets can be court-martialed. But victims' advocates say there are few sanctions for academies that mishandle cases of sexual assault.
"Currently, victims of sex discrimination at service academies can complain only to their commanding officers and service academies’ administrations by appealing up the chain of command, and cannot seek relief outside of the military system," SWAN said in a statement. "This process provides no option to challenge discriminatory academy policies or a school’s inadequate procedures to address sexual assault and harassment reports. The lack of protections for cadets and midshipmen contrasts sharply with the array of sex discrimination prohibitions that protect civilian students, including Title IX, which does not apply to the service academies."
Geoff Chatas, who had announced he was leaving the top financial position at Ohio State University, won't be leaving after all, Northeast Ohio Media Group reported. Chatas had announced that he had accepted a position with QIC, an investment company. After he changed his mind and decided to stay at Ohio State, Northeast Ohio Media Group posed questions about what would appear to some to be the potential for conflict of interest -- Chatas is the Ohio State official who negotiated a 50-year agreement with QIC over management of the university's parking facilities. University officials denied that there was any conflict of interest and said that Chatas hadn't been expected to manage the parking deal. He now won't be going to QIC and instead signed a three-year contract to stay at Ohio State, with a base annual salary of $683,153.
A report being released today by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology examines the lost opportunities for science and for U.S. competitiveness vs. other nations due to inadequate federal support for basic research. "The Future Postponed: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit" explores a range of scientific issues and illustrates how funding has become more difficult to find.
"Basic research is often misunderstood, because it often seems to have no immediate payoff. Yet it was just such federally funded research into the fundamental working of cells, intensified beginning with the 'War on Cancer' in 1971, that led over time to a growing arsenal of sophisticated new anticancer therapies -- 19 new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two years. Do we want similar progress on Alzheimer’s, which already affects five million Americans, more than any single form of cancer? Then we should expand research in neurobiology, brain chemistry and the science of aging," the report says. "The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is a reminder of how vulnerable we are to a wider pandemic of emergent viral diseases, because of a lack of research on their biology; an even greater public health threat looms from the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria right here at home, which, because commercial incentives are lacking, only expanded university-based research into new types of antibiotics can address."
The University of Florida and Emory University are investigating claims that members from their Zeta Beta Tau fraternity chapters insulted and spat on disabled veterans and ripped American flags off their cars during a spring formal last week. The veterans were at the same resort in Panama City Beach for an event called the Warrior Beach Retreat, The Gainesville Sun reported, when the fraternity members allegedly began accosting them.
“The incidents and behavior you and others have described [in letters and phone calls] and the offense to the wounded warriors and other guests are unacceptable,” Kent Fuchs, Florida's president, wrote in an email to the founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat. “We are pursuing an investigation of the matter to learn more about the involvement of University of Florida students and whether disciplinary action will be needed.”
Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Thursday, providing an update on the White House's It's On Us sexual assault awareness campaign and urging college students -- especially young men -- to intervene when they witness gender and dating violence. More than 300 campuses have participated in the It's On Us initiative, the White House announced ahead of Biden's visit, and 75 nonprofit groups, entertainment companies and Greek letter organizations have now committed to supporting the campaign in some fashion. "No means no, and no exceptions," Biden said. "It's not only grounds for discipline and expulsion. You should go to jail if you engage in that activity."