Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have legalized firearms at all public colleges and universities in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “If the intent of [the bill] is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result,” Deal said in a veto notice published along with an executive order asking the state higher education system to submit a report on campus security measures by the end of the summer.
The vetoed campus-carry bill would have prohibited guns in dormitories, athletic events and fraternity and sorority houses but allowed them everywhere else, including classrooms. The National Rifle Association immediately said it disagreed with the governor’s decision, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Monday voted no confidence in Ray Cross, president of the University of Wisconsin System, and in the system's Board of Regents. The vote follows the board's rejections of proposals made by faculty groups that they said would protect academic freedom in new system policies on tenure and the elimination of faculty jobs.
Among the statements in the resolution of no confidence: "[A] primary function of the university, to aid our students in the development of the critical-thinking skills they will bring to bear on their personal experiences and the challenges faced by human society, is impaired when the authority for the educational direction of the university may be wielded to suppress instruction in areas that are deemed risky or controversial" and "The erosion of active shared governance in conjunction with budget cuts diminishes access, affordability and educational resources for our students, as well as support for scholarship and its associated economic benefits, as well as outreach and services to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin, and harms the quality of our university."
Cross released a statement in which he said that he wants to work closely with faculty members, but that he also has to "work in partnership" with state leaders. "This state and its people are counting on us, working together, to help improve and expand quality of life and economic prosperity. I will continue working with faculty at UW-Madison and other institutions and partners throughout the state to advance the UW System for the good of all of Wisconsin," he said. The system also released a statement from the board chair affirming support for Cross.
John McAdams, a controversial blogger, is suing Marquette University for suspending him over statements on his blog, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. His suit notes that he faces a loss of tenure if he doesn't apologize for statements on his blog -- and he argues that this is a violation of the university's rules and his right to free expression. Marquette said it expected to be vindicated once all details of the dispute are public.
Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today “Innovation in Teaching,” our latest print-on-demand compilation of articles. This compilation is free, and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Tuesday, May 24, at 2 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.
Part- and full-time faculty members at the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles voted 54-7 to form a union affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, they announced Friday. Many instructors are working filmmakers and members of other industry unions. The conservatory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cynthia Clark is suing the University of Texas at Arlington, charging that she lost her job as a lecturer after her diagnosis of liver cancer, The Star-Telegram reported. Clark tried to get courses assigned to her after she was hospitalized but describes being turned down for positions and losing her health insurance, despite having taught for years, winning rave reviews. She had started at the university as an adjunct and rose to the rank of senior lecturer. The university said it does not comment on litigation.
George Mason University’s plan to rename its law school after Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice, is once again under fire. But this time the criticism is more substantive than the unfortunate acronym resulting from the Antonin Scalia School of Law, ASSOL (that controversy ended in a tweaking -- while the official name will remain the same, the school will be referred to as the Antonin Scalia Law School). The university’s Faculty Senate on Wednesday voted 21-13 to approve a resolution calling into question Scalia’s legacy on decisions involving historically marginalized groups -- echoing similar discussions at Georgetown University in the wake of Scalia’s death -- and the $30 million in funding behind the name change, $10 million of which comes from the conservative Charles Koch Foundation.
“The senate recognizes that the gifts provide $30 million in scholarship support for law students and memorialize Justice Scalia’s many years of public service and his intellectual contributions to jurisprudence,” reads the resolution. At the same time, it says, the senate finds problematic “the celebration of a Supreme Court justice who made numerous public offensive comments about various groups -- including people of color, women and [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer] individuals -- which this university has appropriately gone to some lengths to embrace as valued parts of the university community.” Also troubling to the senate, according to the resolution, is “the reinforcement of the external branding of the university as a conservative institution rather than an unaligned body that is a comfortable home for individuals with a variety of viewpoints.”
The faculty resolution accuses university leaders of not being forthcoming about the terms of the funding agreement and how George Mason will financially honor those terms after the initial funding period expires. The resolution urges the George Mason’s Board of Visitors and administration to “underscore the university’s support for civil discourse that bridges the great diversity present” on campus and “highlight to external audiences that the university is not aligned with any single ideological position and is a friendly home to faculty, staff, students and others with diverse points of view,” among other things. The resolution also calls on George Mason to “explain more fully the university’s plan to manage its responsibility for future funding of new law school faculty and centers without detriment to other units in the university” and “commit to honest, open communication with faculty and other university stakeholders.”
A university spokesperson did not provide immediate comment. Suzanne Slayden, a professor of chemistry and Faculty Senate parliamentarian and chair of the body’s Academic Policies Committee, said the day’s resolution did not formally oppose the Scalia name, but that such proposals will be introduced at the senate’s next meeting.
Dozens of faculty and staff members already have signed a separate letter condemning the decision to make Scalia synonymous with George Mason’s law school. “The values that Scalia affirmed from the bench do not reflect the values of our campus community,” the letter says. “Further, the renaming decision was made without regard for faculty, staff and student input and consent.”