Olga Perez Stable Cox, the professor of psychology who was secretly recorded telling her students that Donald Trump’s election was an “act of terrorism,” will accept Orange Coast College’s faculty member of the year award, but she won’t deliver the commencement speech that customarily comes with the nod, The Orange County Registerreported. A spokesperson for the college originally stated that Cox would not accept her colleagues’ nomination because she didn’t want to pull attention away from students at graduation, according to the Register, but the same spokesperson said Friday that she would accept the award.
Cox has become polarizing on campus and off since the video hit the internet last fall -- as has the college, which first said it would suspend the student who recorded Cox and then backtracked. A committee of 10 faculty members and administrators selected Cox as 2017’s full-time colleague of the year. Rob Schneiderman, president of Orange Coast’s American Federation of Teachers-affiliated faculty union, told the Register that Cox won’t be a commencement speaker because “she did not want to distract from the students” and that the choice was “consistent with her nature as a faculty member.” Joshua Recalde-Martinez, a leader with the campus College Republicans, which posted the video, said the decision “only serves to resurrect past tensions against both her and the College Republicans.”
Submitted by Emily Tate on March 27, 2017 - 3:00am
Faculty at Kentucky State University last week voted no confidence in the Board of Regents and its chairwoman, The State-Journalreported.
The board received 39 votes for no confidence and 36 for confidence, while the chairwoman, Karen Bearden, fared worse. Fifty faculty members voted no confidence in Bearden’s leadership, while 30 asserted their confidence.
The vote was first suggested in late February, when faculty voiced concerns over the board’s handling of the presidential search as well as issues with the budget, tenure, promotion and raises, according to The State-Journal.
In addition to the votes of no confidence, the Faculty Caucus of Color was also formed at Kentucky State last week. The group will seek to address the limited number of African-American faculty members at the historically black university, which has led to the “systematic and de facto alienation, marginalization and disempowerment within both the institution and the Faculty Senate’s shared governance and decision-making processes, protocols and mechanisms,” the interim president of the caucus said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Board of Regents said the board will use the vote of no confidence “as a catalyst for change.”
Submitted by Emily Tate on March 27, 2017 - 3:00am
An investigation at the University of California, Berkeley, found that its chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, broke university policy by accepting free memberships to the campus recreational sports facility, campus exercise equipment and meetings with a personal trainer, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The value of the benefits Dirks received inappropriately since becoming chancellor in 2013 amounted to just under $9,000. The gym membership fees and personal training were estimated at $4,990, and the elliptical exercise equipment he accepted was valued around $4,000, according to a report released Friday.
By accepting these fitness perks, Dirks violated UC ethics rules that prohibit university employees from using campus facilities and resources without special authorization.
The investigation was launched in April, but a university spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that Dirks corrected the issue by September, before the investigation was closed, by apologizing and paying back the money he owed.
Dirks announced plans for his resignation last fall. His term will end on June 30, and Carol T. Christ, the interim executive vice chancellor and provost at Berkeley, will become the new chancellor.
Republicans swept to power after years of complaints about the Obama administration's crackdown on for-profit colleges. But only tentative steps to roll back regulations have followed, and two major rules could be headed for a drawn-out negotiation process.
Tallahassee Community College wants to do away with its Faculty Senate now that the faculty is represented by a union, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Jim Murdaugh, college president, is reportedly disbanding the senate at the end of the month, despite objections from faculty members who say the senate and union have different functions. Murdaugh wrote in an email to faculty members earlier this month that they should think about creating some other representative body to handle issues not addressed in union contracts, such as academic affairs and curricula.
“Under Florida law, the college is now required to deal exclusively with the [union] on all matters relating to wages, hours and working conditions,” he wrote. “Inasmuch as the [union] is now the official voice of faculty on those matters, the continuation of Faculty Senate and the reassigned time afforded to and stipends paid to the chair and chair-elect are no longer necessary.”
The campus chapter of the United Faculty of Florida is affiliated with both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. Chapter president Jen Robinson, a professor of art history, told the Democrat that despite Murdaugh’s statement, many institutions operate with a union and a Faculty Senate. “You’re basically cutting off an avenue for any kind of academic discussion,” she said, noting the decision could have a disparate impact on part-time faculty members not included in the contract. “He’s taking away the voice of our adjuncts. I don’t know where they would go to address their issues.”
The University of Cincinnati placed its College of Law dean on administrative leave Wednesday shortly after she blamed deficit-closing efforts for upsetting faculty members who had been organizing against her leadership.
Dean Jennifer Bard was placed on leave after just 21 months on the job. Peter E. Landgren, Cincinnati’s provost and interim senior vice president for academic affairs, announced the move in an email addressed to the College of Law community, saying he is firming up a transition plan for the college. He said his decision followed a “thorough evaluative process,” according to the email, which was posted by TaxProf Blog.
Bard was surprised by the move and is reviewing her legal options, she said in a statement, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. She said the law school had improved its bar passage rates, fund-raising, reputation and number of applicants under her leadership.
The development comes shortly after efforts to seek Bard’s removal by a group of at least nine of the UC College of Law’s roughly 40 faculty members became public. The Cincinnati Business Courier obtained emails from the faculty members in which they discussed holding a vote of no confidence in Bard as early as November 2016. Bard signed a six-month plan to “restore mutual trust and respect” with the faculty in January.
Bard had said she upset a small group of faculty members while making progress in cutting a multimillion-dollar deficit at the College of Law, and that faculty members tried to stop her by taking advantage of a leadership vacuum created by interim leaders at the university. Controversial savings proposals included consolidating the UC law library into the university library system, requiring pre-travel approval and requiring the submission of travel receipts. Bard was hired to eliminate a deficit at the law school, she told the Business Courier in a statement this week.
Bard was hired to become the law school’s dean under a five-year contract in 2015. She had been special assistant to the provost for academic engagement at Texas Tech University, where she directed the university’s J.D./M.D. program and its health law concentration program.