Aleeha Dudley, who is a blind student, has sued Miami University in Ohio, charging it with violating her rights under federal laws to access to educational materials. With support from the National Federation for the Blind, Dudley's suit charges the university with, among other things, failing to provide her books in Braille and with using course management tools that do not give her access to information (as other tools would). Her suit says that her grades suffer as a result, and the federation says that her difficulties are similar to those faced by many blind students. Miami officials have declined to comment on the specifics of the suit, but have denied wrongdoing.
With Utah unexpectedly at the center of a new fight over state bans on same-sex marriage, articles inThe New York Times and elsewhere have explored how the state is trying to defend its ban. One unexpected argument is to cite Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling upholding the right of public colleges to consider race in admissions. "Society has long recognized that diversity in education brings a host of benefits to students," says Utah's brief to the Supreme Court, citing Grutter. "If that is true in education, why not in parenting? At a minimum, the state and its people could rationally conclude that gender diversity -- i.e. complementarity -- in parenting is likely to be beneficial to children. And the state and its people could therefore rationally decide to encourage such diversity by limiting the coveted status of 'marriage' to man-woman unions." If this argument should go anywhere, it could present interesting challenges for Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia (a fan of gay marriage bans who dislikes the Grutter decision) and Ruth Bader Gisburg (a fan of the Grutter decision who dislikes gay marriage bans).
The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a federal complaint alleging that Lehigh University failed to respond to race-related harassment on campus, the institution confirmed Thursday. The complaint, first reported by The Morning Call, was filed by a 1977 Lehigh graduate who says the university did not report vandalism of a multi-cultural residence hall as a hate crime. Instead, the complaint says, officials classified the November 2013 incident in which the house was allegedly egged and spray-painted with racial slurs as criminal mischief, which is not required to be reported under the Clery Act.
Lehigh said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate” with the investigation, “and will work with OCR to achieve our goal of making Lehigh a more diverse and inclusive community. Lehigh has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion and, with strong engagement by students, faculty, staff and the administration, has accelerated our efforts with a number of initiatives underway.”
A student's request at York University in Canada has set off a debate over conflicting rights, The Globe and Mail reported. The student is male and enrolled in an online course, and he has objected to a requirement for a group work project that would require him to meet in person with some students, including female students. He says a public meeting with women would violate his religious beliefs. The professor wants to reject the request, saying that to grant it would endorse a biased view of women. But the university says that the professor should grant the request out of deference to religious beliefs. The student's religion has not been identified.
A new study in Academic Medicine notes the differing career options being used by men and women on medical school faculties -- at a time that women making up an increasing share of medical school students. Of traditional tenure track programs (in which professors engage in teaching, research and patient care) only 20 percent of medical schools report that there are more women than men in this category. But of medical schools offering a clinician-educator track (in which faculty focus only on patient care and teaching), 77 percent report having more women than men. A key issue, however, is that those on the tenure track are more likely than those on the clinician track to be promoted, the study finds.
M. Christopher Brown II resigned Thursday, effective immediately, as president of Alcorn State University. The Associated Press reported that the resignation came amid an investigation into the university's purchasing practices, and that the investigation has already led to the resignations of two other senior officials. Brown has been president of the historically black institution in Mississippi since 2010 and he earned a reputation as having an ambitious agenda to increase enrollment and to elevate the prominence of the university in the state. He did not respond to an email seeking his comment on his resignation.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, and Democratic legislative leaders have reached an agreement that should pave the way for the state's public colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to students who lack the legal documentation to reside in the United States, The New York Times reported. Christie appeared last year -- when running for re-election -- to back the idea, but he has been ambivalent of late, leaving many to wonder if he could support the bill. Under the compromise, the governor has said he will sign the bill as long as it is amended to deny state financial aid to the undocumented students.
Maranatha Baptist University has started the process of changing its mascot and team name away from "Crusaders," The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Matt Davis, the university's executive vice president, said that there have not been controversies over the name, but that the university wants to avoid one. "In light of our global outreach and a more-advanced understanding of how things could be perceived, we want to avoid that," he said.