Roxane Gay (right) says she rewrote the talk she gave at Saint Louis University last week to focus on abortion rights -- as a protest against a last-minute "reminder" that she shouldn't talk about abortion. Gay, a feminist writer and an associate professor of English at Purdue University, says that her speaking agent received a notice the morning of her talk, saying that the university, as a Jesuit institution, didn't want her speaking about the "pro-choice agenda." Her response was to rewrite her speech to focus on a pro-choice agenda, and to talk about the importance with which she views abortion rights.
She says she thought about calling off the talk, but instead gave the new version to take a stand against censorship. "My temper flared immediately. I don’t like vague threats of censorship. I hate the word 'agenda' when it is used as a blunt instrument, when it is used to imply that one with a so-called agenda is up to no good. I am a deeply flawed person, but I pride myself on being concerned with the greater good, and seeking out goodness in myself and others. I thought about canceling my appearance, but then I reconsidered because really, what would that accomplish?" she wrote.
Adjunct faulty members at St. Charles Community College, in Missouri, voted Thursday to unionize and to be represented by Service Employees International Union, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The vote was 108-61.
Larycia Hawkins, who left the faculty of Wheaton College of Illinois over a controversy on her statements on God, has accepted a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture of the University of Virginia. At Virginia, she will study the relationship between races and religions. Hawkins and Wheaton reached a deal for her to leave after the college started a process to fire her. Hawkins wore a hijab during Advent as a sign of solidarity with Muslims, and her explanation of her action -- that she believed Christians and Muslims worship a common God -- was inconsistent with Wheaton's beliefs, officials said. (Many faculty members disagreed that her statements were problematic.)
Congress typically approves measures to name local post offices after people connected to a given locality. But as The Washington Postnoted, nine House Republicans voted against a measure to name a post office in Winston-Salem, N.C., for Maya Angelou, the poet who lived there for many years while teaching at Wake Forest University. The lawmakers said they objected to Angelou's writings in the '60s, which included sympathetic words for Fidel Castro and Malcolm X.
Valparaiso University Law School is offering buyouts to tenured faculty members and those with multiyear contracts due to a sharp decline in student applications and enrollment since 2010. “To put the law school and our students in the best position to succeed, we are taking steps to meet the challenges facing legal education,” Nicole Niemi, university spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The purpose is to align the size of the faculty with the expected future law school enrollment.”
The university attributes its numbers to broader issues facing law schools, including mounting student debt, the shifting job market for those with law degrees, increased competition among law schools for highly qualified applicants and declining bar passage rates. Valparaiso has 21 tenured law professors and six contract law professors, and an incoming fall law class of 133 students, the Post-Tribunereported. Previously incoming classes numbered about 150 or 160 students, according to the Post-Tribune. Buyouts will be finalized by the end of the month.
Concealed-handgun license holders may carry guns into classrooms and faculty and administrative offices at the University of Houston, according to a draft policy released Tuesday by an on-campus working group. The policy prohibits guns in most residence halls, sporting venues, disciplinary hearings, and health and mental health facilities. The University of Texas at Austin’s campus carry policy, released last month, also allows guns into classrooms, despite many faculty members’ concerns about in-class safety. Houston’s policy is striking, given that its Faculty Senate last month circulated recommendations about how to teach under campus carry that many said had serious implications for academic freedom and free speech. But the policy isn’t surprising, given that Texas’s new law allowing for concealed weapons in campus buildings is clear that guns can’t be banned outright from most areas.
The law takes effect this summer for public universities and next summer for public colleges. Private institutions may opt out of the law, and virtually all have. Students for Concealed Carry, a national advocacy group, said in a statement that it largely approved of Houston's draft policy but took issue with the establishment of exclusion zones in areas used for day cares and school activities, "including areas frequently used by minor children." The task force "seems to have operated under the assumption that licensed concealed carry cannot be allowed anywhere children are likely to be present," the group said. "This was clearly never the intent of the Texas Legislature, which saw fit to allow licensed concealed carry in movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, grocery stores, restaurants, all state museums, all public libraries and even the Texas Capitol."