Anger Over Poem and Apology at Sonoma State

Faculty members at Sonoma State University have written a letter to President Judy Sakaki, objecting to her apology for a poem that a student read at commencement, The Press Democrat reported. The poem was about violence faced by black people and included both criticism of President Trump and the use of expletives. Some parents and others objected to the poem and wrote to Sakaki. She apologized to them and called the reading of the poem at commencement "a mistake."

The faculty letter says that Sakaki's apology undercuts the principles of free expression. “Such public expression is a key role of universities in a democracy, and we found that the use of a certain profanity and the subject matter, including police violence on communities of color, did not exceed the boundaries of safe expression, nor constitute ‘hate speech’ as accused by one of a few critics,” the letter said.

Sakaki has declined to comment on the poem or her apology.

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Instructor who says she brought adjunct union to Barnard no longer employed there

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Barnard English instructor of 17 years, who helped bring a union to campus, no longer has a job there, and she blames the contract for allowing it.

NLRB Orders USC to Negotiate With Adjunct Union

In a unanimous decision, the National Labor Relations Board this week ordered the University of Southern California to recognize and engage in collective bargaining with the non-tenure-track faculty union at its Roski School of Art and Design. The union election was certified in early 2016, but the university has continuously argued that adjuncts there are managers based on their participation in committees and shared governance, and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining.

That's based on a long-standing legal precedent against tenure-track faculty unions at private institutions established in a 1980 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving Yeshiva University. In that case, the court found that tenure-track faculty members are managers and therefore not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. A more recent NLRB decision involving an adjunct faculty union bid at Pacific Lutheran University opened the door to potential exceptions to that notion, finding that faculty members have to have "actual" say in university affairs to be excluded from collective bargaining, rather than mere "paper authority."

USC said it has appealed the decision to a federal court. “We believe the NLRB is not following the Supreme Court’s Yeshiva decision recognizing faculty’s role in university management,” Michael Quick, provost, said in a statement. “We continue to defend the principle that at USC, non-tenure-track faculty are partners with tenured faculty in our robust shared governance system.” The bargaining unit is affiliated with Service Employees International Union.

William Herbert, executive director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College of the City University of New York, said the university's appeal could eventually set the stage for a court to determine whether adjuncts can be found to be managerial under Yeshiva.

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Colleges award tenure

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Brandeis University

  • Jerónimo Arellano, Romance studies
  • Aparna Baskaran, physics
  • Olivier Bernardi, mathematics
  • Joel Christensen, classical studies
  • Xing Hang, history
  • Sebastian Kadener, biology
  • Jennifer S. Marušić, philosophy
  • Avital Rodal, biology
  • Anna Scherbina, business
  • Raphael Schoenle, economics
  • Stephen D. Van Hooser, biology

Clarkson University

Court Sides With Former Harris-Stowe Professor Who Says She Was Fired for Being White

A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals this week affirmed a 2015 jury verdict that awarded $4.85 million to Beverly Wilkins, a former instructor of education at historically black Harris-Stowe State University who claimed she was fired because she is white, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Wilkins accused an administrator of failing to follow a reduction-in-force policy by terminating her over black faculty members with less seniority, and of deleting related, incriminating emails. The university, which has previously blamed state budget cuts for the termination, said in a statement that it’s reviewing the ruling.

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Academic ‘Mansplaining’ 101

“Let her speak, please!” That’s what a member of the audience yelled at last weekend’s World Science Festival in New York during a panel on "Pondering the Imponderables: The Biggest Questions of Cosmology." Video of the incident has since gone viral, with many calling it a prime example of "mansplaining" and general sexism.

Veronika Hubeny, a professor of physics at the University of California, Davis, was the only woman on the panel, moderated by the philosopher Jim Holt. She didn’t get much of a chance to speak during the first hour of the discussion, and when she finally did begin to talk, Holt cut her off several times and described some of her own theories for her -- hence the “mansplaining" charges. An audience member finally asked him to let Hubeny speak, to applause and cheers. (That audience member, an actress and disability rights activist, has since said on social media that she spoke up because no other scientist had.) Holt said he was getting heckled but apologized for talking "too much."

As video of the panel began to circulate online, Hubeny reportedly addressed it in a Facebook comment, saying, “If you allow yourself to enjoy the beautiful things that really matter, if you don’t let social or peer pressure dissuade you from pursuing a field which appeals to you, then no pettiness or childishness or boorishness that you encounter can harm you so much. Please understand that I’m not trying to say that sexism in science is a myth. It is real and we should all aspire to diminish it. But I am trying to say that it need not pose as much of an impediment as you might fear and that you might be in more control over its influence yourself than you might think.”

The exchange starts at about one hour into the video below.

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Trial and Error: Teaching online students to be online students

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, fully online students enrolled in the master's of education administration degree program said they felt isolated and didn't know how to use the library and other services. The online Student Success Center is changing that.

Notre Dame offers its first graduate online program

Notre Dame to launch its first online master’s. University joins growing number of institutions opting to outsource online course
development on fee-for-service basis.

A new online bachelor's degree in ... anthropology?

Newest online program at Western Illinois is a rarity. Effort was born of professors' scrappiness and desire to bring the critical-thinking discipline to students who can't come to the campus in the cornfields.

U of Utah's efforts to reduce textbook costs

University of Utah faculty members balked at the idea of moving to open educational resources, so a team that includes library and bookstore employees is promoting 13 options -- including OER. 


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