faculty

NLRB Office: Columbia Grad Union Vote Was Valid

A National Labor Relations Board office rejected Columbia University’s objections to a recent graduate employee union election Monday, recommending that United Auto Workers be certified as the students' collective bargaining representative. Columbia has challenged its graduate employees’ right to form a union at all, but also lodged specific complaints with the NLRB about the December election. Those included that UAW employees were too close to one of the polling sites on election day. The local NLRB office decided, however, that the mere presence of union agents within the vicinity of an election, absent evidence of coercion or other objectionable conduct, does not warrant throwing out the results.

The local office also found uncompelling Columbia’s claim that the election was invalid since voters did not have to show identification, in part because the university only presented evidence that four ballots may have been affected. Votes supported unionization by a much bigger margin, with 1,602 in favor and 623 against. Columbia has until later this month to file exceptions to the decision. The Columbia graduate student union, which includes teaching and research assistants, on Twitter called the decision an affirmation of its “historic election.” Graduate students at private institutions have long faced legal challenges in seeking collective bargaining, but a major national NLRB decision last year in favor of Columbia graduate students who hoped to organize paved the way for such unions.

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Academic Minute: Nonbelievers in America

Today in the Academic Minute, Washington University in St. Louis's Leigh Schmidt discusses nonbelievers in America. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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Ex-Emory Professor Will Do Time for Using Campus Wi-Fi to Download Child Pornography

A former professor of epidemiology at Emory University was sentenced to six years and six months in federal prison and must pay a $15,000 fine for downloading at least 8,000 images of child pornography using the campus Wi-Fi, AJC.com reported. The professor, Kevin M. Sullivan, pleaded guilty to downloading the images in December, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Sullivan downloaded thousands of files depicting the sexual abuse of children,” Horn said. “He attempted to cover his tracks by using his personal computer on the internet system at Emory to download the images.”

Officials were tipped off to Sullivan’s activities in 2014, when Swiss law enforcement officers seized a server hosting the illegal content. Emory’s information technology department helped determine that it was Sullivan who accessed the images from campus. He was arrested in 2015, after agents found child pornography on his personal laptop and external hard drive in his office. He will be on seven years supervised release after prison.

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Report: Trump Budget Will Kill Sea Grant Funds

President Trump's budget proposal will seek to eliminate the Sea Grant Program, which supports coastal research at 33 universities, The Washington Post reported. Eliminating the program would be part of a 17 percent cut for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is a major supporter of environmental research.

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Tips for a successful group interview (essay)

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Job interviews with groups of people are quite different than one-on-ones with individuals, and you never quite know what will happen. Saundra Loffredo gives some helpful advice.

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Advice Newsletter publication date: 
Thursday, July 13, 2017
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Perfecting Your Panel Interview Game

Seminole State Student Arrested in Gun Incident

A student at Seminole State College was arrested Thursday after he threatened to hurt himself with a gun and argued with an instructor, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The incident started when the student told a professor that he was tired of life, pulled up his shirt and pulled out a handgun. The instructor grabbed the gun and threw it out the window, and the student and instructor scuffled. When the student left to find the gun, the instructor called security officials, who arrested the student.

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Cal State Fullerton faculty union disputes allegations that an instructor struck a Republican student

Cal State Fullerton faculty union says instructor was suspended for allegedly hitting a student at a pro-Trump rally -- despite a lack of evidence. Professor's allies say he was the one who was attacked.

Higher ed must do more to help grad students with babies (essay)

Academics must rid themselves of outdated gendered and racialized perceptions of working parents, argues Whitney N. Laster Pirtle.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017
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Helping victims of sexual violence on campuses to speak out

Sexual Violence on Campus

It is more important than ever that we in higher education work to make space for survivors to tell their stories, writes Eric Anthony Grollman.

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Lawmaker Pushing 'Partisan Balance' Fabricated Education Credentials

An Iowa lawmaker pushing for “partisan balance” in faculty hiring doesn’t have a business degree from “Forbco Management school,” as he claimed on a government website, NBC News reported. And Forbco isn’t a management school at all, but rather a company that operated a Sizzler steak house franchise. He doesn’t have a degree from the University of California, Riverside, either, despite saying he majored in “astro-physics, geo-physics and mathematics” there.

Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican, made waves last month when he proposed that no professor or instructor be hired by an Iowa public institution if his or her most recent party affiliation would “cause the percentage of the faculty belonging to one political party to exceed by 10 percent” the percentage of the faculty belonging to the other dominant party. The bill was seen by many as an attempt to limit the number of Democrats hired, since academics tend to lean to the political left.

With notoriety came scrutiny, and some began to question Chelgren’s credentials. In a telephone interview with NBC, Chelgren was reportedly vague about Forbco, saying it was near Los Angeles and that he got his business degree “around ’88 or ’89. It's going back a ways, so I don't remember.” The “business degree” reference has since been removed from Chelgren’s Iowa Senate page.

“This was a management course he took when he worked for Sizzler, kind of like Hamburger University at McDonald's,” Ed Failor, a spokesperson for the Iowa State Republicans, told NBC. “He got a certificate.” A Riverside spokesperson said Chelgren attended and studied physics there in the early 1990s, but he did not graduate.

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