Faculty members question lack of black representation on Los Angeles community college board

Some faculty members at Los Angeles community colleges question the lack of black leaders on the district's board and among their presidents.

Turtle Research Group Takes Back Award After Complaints Against Researcher

The Herpetologists’ League rescinded its Distinguished Herpetologist award to Dick Vogt, a professor at the Brazilian Institute for Amazon Research, last week after he showed photos that some attendees at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Rochester, N.Y., found offensive. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that Vogt showed photos of "scantily clad female students" doing field research during his award acceptance talk on turtles. The women in the photos were wearing bathing suits, but conference organizers were concerned enough to add blue boxes to cover parts of the women's bodies. A day after his talk, on Friday, the league rescinded Vogt’s award and apologized for the "offensive content" in his slides.

Emily Taylor, a herpetologist from California Polytechnic State University, said she and 14 of her students were at Vogt's lecture. Showing inappropriate slides "is something he's been doing for 20 years … There's a big difference between what he does and just (pictures of) students in normal field garb," Taylor told The Democrat and Chronicle.

Henry Mushinsky, conference committee chairman, reportedly said that "some of the photos people thought were a little too revealing, so we decided to sort of block them out a bit. The whole idea was to try to minimize anyone feeling uncomfortable." Wearing bathing suits is common for scientists working in water, he said, but the photos Vogt showed were not typical documentary images. "In my humble opinion it’s unfortunate he got selected to give this plenary," he said, noting that his organization and others involved in the conference are currently writing codes of conduct for participants.

Vogt reportedly declined comment but gave another public address at the conference, on the vocalizations of sea turtles. Some on Twitter complained that Vogt made sexual references to animal reproduction during the talk, which had little to do with the topic. Others alleged past inappropriate behavior on his part, such as talking about sex to a female scientist and auctioning off a thong swimsuit.

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Johns Hopkins Professor Attacked in Germany

German police allegedly beat an Israeli-born professor of philosophy at Johns Hopkins University last week after he was attacked by another man for wearing a yarmulke in the city of Bonn. The Jerusalem Post reported that the professor, Yitzhak Melamed, was assaulted by a German-Palestinian man who knocked the yarmulke from his head and yelled insults at him, including, “No Jew in Germany!” In the midst of the fight, German police reportedly confused Melamed with the attacker and punched him multiple times in the face.

Ursula Brohl-Sowa, the head of the Bonn police, reportedly called it “a horrible and regrettable misunderstanding.” Melamed posted an account on the incident on Facebook, saying that he was in Germany on Wednesday to give a lecture at Bonn University. He was touring the city with a colleague when a man approached him and asked him if he was Jewish. “I started saying that I have sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians and deeply regret the current depressing state of Islamic-Jewish relations,” when the man starting cursing and following him, Melamed wrote.

The man allegedly grabbed Melamed’s yarmulke and tried to throw it away it away as the professor repeatedly put it back on his head. The man lunged at Melamed again and again, he said, until the police arrived some 20 minutes after his colleague called them. The attacker allegedly ran away as the police approached, so Melamed followed him. But the police ignored the attacker and ran toward Melamed instead, he said.

“I didn’t have much time to wonder, as almost immediately four or five policemen with heavy guard jumped over me (two from the front, and two or three from the back),” he wrote. “They pushed my head into the ground, and then while I was totally incapacitated and barely able to breathe (not to mention move a finger), they started punching my face. After a few dozen punches, I started shouting in English that I was the wrong person. They put handcuffs on my hands, behind my back, and after a few dozen additional punches to my face while I am shouting that I’m the wrong person, they finally moved from my back. I was now able to breathe."

Melamed said the police eventually caught the other man, but that he was warned by the first responders, “Don’t get in trouble with the German police!” Melamed said he told the officers, “I am no longer afraid of the German police. The German police murdered my grandfather. They murdered my grandmother. They murdered my uncle, and they murdered my aunt. All in one day in September 1942.” Melamed was asked to give testimony at the police station, where he eventually received an apology and filed a complaint, he said. One of the police officers allegedly tried arguing that Melamed had "touched his hand" during the altercation, forcing him to respond, but the professor called that a “flat lie.”

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A woman university leader in Ecuador discusses struggle against sexism in Latin American academe


Leader of a university in Ecuador -- first woman to hold the post there -- discusses the culture she is trying to change.

Enrollment, completion troubles for students in lower socioeconomic classes

Minority students, and those who come from lower socioeconomic status, struggle to enroll in college and graduate, federal data show.

The Status of Low-Income Students at Selective Colleges

A study published by the American Enterprise Institute Wednesday suggests that the proportion of low-income students at selective colleges is edging up, not decreasing, as some other recent studies have suggested. Instead, the paper argues, the group that has been most squeezed out of selective private and public colleges in the last decade has been those students in the middle socioeconomic quartiles.

But the impression most readers of the study are likely to be left with is that students from the top quartile continue to dominate enrollments at the 200 most selective colleges and universities. In 2015-16, the latest year for which AEI had data from the Education Department's National Postsecondary Student Aid Survey, 54.2 percent of undergraduates at those colleges were from the top 25 percent of the socioeconomic ladder, while the remaining students were split fairly equally from the other three quartiles.

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Emotional support from families makes a difference for low-income students

Family emotional support for low-income first-year students is free, and a new study shows that it has a greater impact on student outcomes than family financial support.

Authors discuss new book on how colleges can diversify their faculties

Authors discuss their new book that suggests most colleges can do more to diversify their faculties.

San Francisco State finds evidence that ethnic studies students do better

San Francisco State University students graduate at higher rates when they pass ethnic studies courses, but not everyone agrees on what this means.

The Trump administration hasn't ended affirmative action, but it's moving in that direction (opinion)

The Trump administration hasn't made it impossible for colleges to consider race in admissions, but it appears to be moving in that direction, writes Jim Jump.


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