A survey by The Guardian found cases in which British academics are being asked to withdraw from international research teams or to step down from leadership roles due to doubts about their future eligibility for European Union funding. Securing continued access to E.U. research funding in the event of a British exit from the union is a key priority for U.K. higher education following the June 23 referendum in favor of a Brexit.
Iranian news outlets have reported that a Canadian professor detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison has been indicted on unknown charges, according to the CBC. The Canadian minister of foreign affairs, Stéphane Dion, said in a statement to the CBC that consular officers are seeking to confirm reports that charges have been filed against Homa Hoodfar, an anthropologist at Montreal’s Concordia University.
Hoodfar, who holds Canadian, Iranian and Irish citizenship, has been detained since early June. Her academic research focuses on gender issues in Middle Eastern societies.
The president of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in Germany, announced plans to rewrite a 150 million euro (about $166 million) gift agreement that critics say gives a donor too much control over faculty appointments and publishing decisions at the university's Institute of Molecular Biology, Science reported. President Georg Krausch acknowledged that the agreement with the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation includes problematic language granting the foundation veto power over faculty hires -- which, he said, it never used -- and requiring the university to get the foundation's consent prior to the release of publications. Krausch said the university will work with the foundation to revise the language. A spokesperson for the foundation said it will continue to support basic research and give “maximum freedom” to researchers, and that it is waiting to hear what changes the university will propose.
A government audit of Scotland’s universities found that Scottish undergraduates are finding it “more difficult” to get into universities, the BBC reported. The number of applications has grown more quickly than the number of funded places available for students from Scotland and other European Union countries, who are entitled to free tuition. Applications have increased by 23 percent since 2010, while the number of admission offers by universities has increased by 9 percent. The percentage of Scottish applicants who failed to receive an offer from any Scottish university rose to 19 percent in 2015, up from 15 percent in 2010.
Several history and anthropology students at Queen’s University Belfast refused to shake the hand of the university president at their graduation ceremony to protest his comment that “society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth-century historian,” The Irish News reported.
The controversial comment from the president and vice chancellor, Patrick Johnston, appeared in the Belfast Telegraph in May. A longer version of the quote reads: “Society doesn't need a 21-year-old who is a sixth-century historian. It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyze things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who is a thinker and someone who has the potential to help society drive forward. I don't talk about producing graduates, I talk about producing citizens that have the potential for leadership in society.”
Johnston subsequently clarified his comments in a written statement in which he apologized for “any misunderstanding.”
“In the interview I wanted to stress that a university education is more than the study of any one subject and that the aim is to produce graduates who have the potential to become leaders within our society. History graduates at Queen’s are thinkers who have the capacity to help drive society forward,” he said.
The University of Papua New Guinea has ended the academic year early as a result of student protests that have led to violence, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The chancellor, Nicholas Mann, cited an atmosphere of “mob rule, intimidation, harassment and violence” in explaining the decision to end the academic year more than a semester early. Students began boycotting classes in early May to protest the prime minister's handling of corruption allegations. Police fired on and wounded student protestors in a widely reported incident June 8.
Italian police have charged a homeless man with aggravated murder in connection with the death of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, NBC News reported. Beau Solomon, a sophomore personal finance major, was last seen at a pub around 1 a.m. on Friday, just hours after his arrival in Rome for a summer program at John Cabot University. His body was found in the Tiber River on Monday. Thousands of dollars had reportedly been charged to his credit card.
Recent events at the University of Northern Iowa may illustrate the impact of changes in the Saudi government's rules on eligibility for a generous scholarship program that has boosted enrollment of students from Saudi Arabia at many American colleges and universities. The rules generally make it more difficult to win scholarships to programs or colleges that are not near the top of the rankings. Many have wondered what the impact would be on colleges that have welcomed Saudi scholarship students but who may not be eligible for the scholarships going forward.
The Des Moines Register reported that as of May, the University of Northern Iowa had received four applications from Saudi Arabia. At the same point last year, the university had received 94 applications. Saudi students are the top group among the university's foreign students, and account for $3.5 million in tuition revenue.