Today on the Academic Minute, Lisa Stowers, associate professor of molecular and cellular neuroscience at the Scripps Research Institute, describes how the brains of female mice can shut off male-detecting neurons. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Submitted by Jake New on October 16, 2015 - 3:00am
The University of Oregon's new "pioneer-themed" athletics uniforms celebrate a "history of genocidal violence, ethnic cleansing and exclusion of nonwhites," a coalition of Native faculty, staff and students said in an open letter this week. The uniforms, unveiled by Nike earlier this month, are inspired by the travels of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and feature the explorers and a map of the Oregon Trail.
The university said the uniforms are meant to honor the state's "maverick heritage" embodied by Lewis and Clark. The coalition, Native Strategic Initiatives, said the uniforms emphasize "white supremacy, a sense of divine obligation of free white men to take -- by force if necessary -- the land belonging to the nonwhite nations west of the Mississippi."
"Instead of condemning this process," the open letter states, "the celebration of Lewis and Clark valorizes it, papering over the ongoing consequences of colonization and indigenous traditions of 'exploration,' 'innovation,' 'free-thinking' and 'risk-taking' that existed in this place long before the expedition arrived at the Pacific coast."
The coalition urged the university and Nike to discontinue the uniforms and to recall related merchandise from stores.
The University of Missouri at Columbia will offer graduate student workers health insurance next year, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said this week, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. The news came after weeks of outcry from graduate students over the university’s announcement just days before classes started that it would cancel graduate student health insurance subsidies. The university blamed its choice on a new federal interpretation of the Affordable Care Act limiting how individual subsidies could be used to buy health insurance.
Mizzou -- unlike most universities, which have employer-sponsored health insurance plans -- offers graduate student workers individual subsidies to buy their own health insurance. A week after the August announcement, amid student protests and questions from faculty members about how they could recruit new graduate students under such circumstances, Mizzou put its decision on hold. Loftin’s announcement this week cements the university’s plan to continue to provide health insurance coverage in some form, at least through next year, but he was short on details about how the university would do it and still comply with the ACA. A university task force will make recommendations on how to do so by the end of next month.
The Huntington Library, a freestanding research institution in California, and the University of California at Riverside are starting a collaboration to hire faculty members in the humanities. The new assistant professors will each have full research fellowships at the Huntington, with the library covering their salaries for two years of their initial appointments. The library and the university say this is a way to add humanities professorships and to provide those who get the jobs with a path to advancing their careers.
David Kelly, a mathematics professor at Hampshire College who is getting ready to retire, has long shared his fascination with the number 17 with students. He loves to teach facts about the number, such as: "You can color all the (136) edges joining pairs of 16 points with three colors without having three of the edges forming a triangle be all the same color; with 17 (or more) points, there must be a monochromatic triangle." (For 16 other of his top 17 facts about 17, go here.)
So to honor Kelly upon his retirement, the college is changing all of its speed limit 15 signs to 17.