A tenured art professor at the University of Georgia has been terminated for allegedly having sex in a public place with a student on a study abroad program he was leading in Costa Rica, the Augusta Chroniclereported. A faculty panel had split on the appropriate sanctions for James Barsness, with two recommending revocation of tenure and three arguing for less serious sanctions, citing Barsness's strong record of teaching and research, undisclosed medical issues, and his evident remorse. But former UGA President Michael Adams overrode the panel's recommendation, writing in a May 13 letter to Barsness that “Upon review I have determined that public sex with a student under one’s direction and control in a UGA program merits termination. It is my judgment that the charges were sustained and that your employment relationship with UGA, including tenure, should be terminated as of this date.” The Board of Regents upheld Adams’s judgment at its meeting on Wednesday. Barsness could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kasetsart University has abandoned the use of hats -- in which pieces of paper attached to the head prevent students' eyes from wandering -- designed to prevent cheating, The Bangkok Post reported. Students designed the hats, but officials said that they abandoned the idea after widespread discussion of them on social media.
The Israeli government plans to provide scholarships to students who post pro-Israel messages on social media sites as part of a new online public diplomacy campaign. Haaretz reported that the Prime Minister’s office has joined with the National Union of Israeli Students to create “covert units” at each of Israel’s seven universities, each to be headed by a senior student coordinator who will receive a full scholarship; other students who are involved will receive smaller scholarships. The Prime Minister’s office has allocated about $777,000 for scholarships in the upcoming academic year.
International scholarly groups raise concerns about the long sentences handed down to six Turkish academics and former university rectors caught up in a massive terrorism-related trial widely condemned as unjust.
Medical schools in Eastern Europe are seeing increases in the number of foreign students enrolling, particularly in programs taught in English, The New York Times reported. The programs are less expensive than those in the United States and are easier to get into.
Israeli universities for the first time are being allowed to offer some faculty members individual contracts -- with salaries 30 percent higher than the norm -- instead of having all professors covered by collective agreements, Haaretz reported. The goal of the initiative is to recruit back to Israel star faculty members who have left for universities abroad, typically in the United States, where top faculty members earn more than they do in Israel.
France is considering a proposal from its High Council for Integration that Muslim headscarves be banned at universities, Reuters reported. A ban is already in place in schools and many French leaders place a high priority on promoting secularism in public institutions. Muslim groups are speaking out against the proposal. "This is one more step in the legal stigmatization of Muslims,” said a statement from the March 15 Liberty Committee, a Muslim group opposed to the proposed ban. "The separation of church and state cannot be reduced, as some want it to be, to an arsenal of laws against Muslims."
The University of Oslo has rejected the application of Anders Behring Breivik, a mass killer, to study political science, AFP reported. Breivik, a right wing extremist, is in jail for his 2011 attacks that killed 77. Norway encourages prisoners to seek education (typically through distance programs) and Breivik's prison had no problem with his applying to enroll remotely. But word of the application set off a debate at the university, with some faculty members saying that they would refuse to teach him. The university said that it evaluated the application under normal procedures and rejected Breivik because he had not finished his high school degree.