Faculty members at Rock Valley College voted Sunday night to reject a proposed deal that would have ended a strike that started last week and that has led the college to call off classes. The college issued a statement in which it said that "not only are we disappointed, but we believe this to be a tragic decision." The college said faculty members would have received raises that were meaningful in a time of tight budgets in Illinois. But faculty leaders said professors opposed the deal in large part because of provisions on health insurance. “The faculty was concerned about the increased costs through the board’s proposed health care plan,” said a statement from Michael Youngblood, Rock Valley College Faculty Association president and an economics professor. “The board cut off health insurance for professors since Wednesday, but the terms of the board’s proposal would mean overwhelming health care costs for many educators, particularly those with illnesses and special needs.” The association is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.
Every year, just before the real Nobel Prizes are announced, the Ig Nobels are announced in a spoof of the more famous awards. This year's Ig Nobel winners include researchers who studied how to partially unboil an egg, timed the bladder elimination duration of mammals, determined that every language has an equivalent of "huh?" and determined the body parts on which it most painful to be stung (nostril, upper lip and penis shaft).
The Faculty Senate at American University has passed a resolution affirming the importance of academic freedom and questioning the use of "trigger warnings" that alert students to books or other materials that may be offensive or upsetting to them. The resolution was not prompted by an incident at AU, but concerns -- especially among librarians -- that they might be asked in the future to provide such warnings.
"As laws and individual sensitivities may seek to restrict, label, warn or exclude specific content, the academy must stand firm as a place that is open to diverse ideas and free expression. These are standards and principles that American University will not compromise," the resolution says. "Faculty may advise students before exposing them to controversial readings and other materials that are part of their curricula. However, the Faculty Senate does not endorse offering 'trigger warnings' or otherwise labeling controversial material in such a way that students construe it as an option to 'opt out' of engaging with texts or concepts, or otherwise not participating in intellectual inquiries."
A Pennsylvania judge has granted an injunction to block the State System of Higher Education from starting background checks on all faculty members, Lancaster Online reported. The faculty union challenged a new policy to conduct background checks on all faculty members as a policy that must go through collective bargaining, and the injunction will allow time for a state labor board to review that challenge. The union says that it does not object to background checks as required by state law for some faculty members, such as those who work with children on a regular basis. But the union says that just because there are people younger than 18 on most campuses -- as the state system has noted -- that does not mean all professors should be covered by the background check policy.