An economics scholar at the University of Cambridge attended a faculty meeting naked last week in protest of the British vote to leave the European Union, theIndependent and the Telegraph reported. Victoria Bateman, a lecturer and fellow in economics, had the words “Brexit leaves Britain naked” written on her stomach and breasts. She reportedly sat through the two-hour economics faculty meeting without colleagues mentioning her nudity.
Bateman did not immediately return an Inside Higher Ed message seeking comment on Monday.
Citizens of European Union countries who are currently enrolled in U.K. universities and those planning on entering in the fall will receive the loans and grants for which they are eligible for the duration of their courses of study, the Student Loans Company announced Monday. Last week’s vote in favor of Britain exiting the European Union has raised uncertainties about the status of current and future E.U. students, who currently pay domestic student tuition rates and are eligible for the same student loans as British students.
The American Anthropological Association has issued a statement censuring the Israeli government for what it describes as “policies and practices that threaten academic freedom and the human rights of Palestinian and Israeli scholars.”
Specifically, the association is seeking changes to Israeli policies that it says result in the following: "restricted freedom of movement for Palestinian academics and foreign academics going to the West Bank and Gaza," "restricted access to publications among libraries at West Bank and Gaza universities," "disparities in internet access that restrict academic pursuits at West Bank and Gaza universities," "unjust denial of full accreditation for Al-Quds University" (a Palestinian institution in the West Bank), "unjust denial of freedom of expression to Palestinian and dissenting Jewish faculty and students at Israeli universities," "unjust denial of freedom to Palestinian students for gathering and action," and "undue delays of salary payments to West Bank and Gaza university faculty."
Academic leaders, scholarly societies and student groups sent out a flurry of statements on Friday reacting to the British vote to exit the European Union, which many in higher education oppose and worry could harm research and inhibit the movement of students and scholars to and from the U.K.
Statements from the British Academy, which represents scholars in the humanities and the social sciences, and the Royal Society, which represents scientists, stressed the importance of mobility and the need to maintain financial support for research, which benefits from E.U. funding sources.
In various statements, U.K. university leaders -- about 100 of whom had signed an open letter prior to the vote opposing a leaving the E.U. -- affirmed their institutions' international outlooks and sought to assure current European students and staff that they are welcome and wanted. They also stressed that major changes are not expected to happen overnight: the process of Britain negotiating the terms of a withdrawal from the E.U. is expected to take at least two years.
In one such statement, Michael Arthur, the president and provost of University College London, wrote, “This morning, I have reassured UCL staff and students that, barring unilateral action from the U.K. government, the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the immigration status of current and prospective E.U. students and staff, nor to the U.K. university sector’s participation in E.U. programs such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+," programs for research funding and student exchange, respectively.
The National Union of Students expressed disappointment in the vote outcome. Pre-election polling from YouGov showed that young people overwhelmingly supported Britain remaining in the E.U. -- among 18- to 29-year-olds, 73 percent supported remaining in the union -- and in the university towns of Cambridge and Oxford, more than 70 percent of voters favored remaining, according to local election results reported by the BBC.
“This is clearly not the result that many young people wanted or voted for, but most important now is to ensure that students and young people are involved in the decisions that have to be made that will shape their future,” Megan Dunn, the national president of the student union, said. “We have urgent questions about how the vote to leave will affect students, particularly E.U. students in the U.K. and U.K. students studying in the E.U., and call on the government to offer clear assurances to them about their situation.”
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Friday announced a $400 million gift that will more than double the size of its endowment. The university believes the gift, from the estate of Howard and Lottie Marcus, formerly of California, may be the largest ever bequest to an Israeli academic institution.
According to the university’s announcement, the Marcuses fled Nazi Germany in 1930s and lost most of their family members in the Holocaust. They met after immigrating to the U.S., where Howard worked as a dentist and Lottie as a secretary at a Wall Street firm. They made their fortune by investing early in what later became Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company chaired by Warren Buffett.
The Marcuses first encountered Ben-Gurion in 1997, after which they began supporting research in water, desalination and desert studies. Ben-Gurion President Rivka Carmi described the couple as "rare and special people" and as "Holocaust survivors who lived a simple and humble life and joined their fate and their legacy to that of the state of Israel."
Another Supreme Court ruling Thursday had much more direct relevance to higher education, but the justices also let stand a federal appeals court decision that blocked President Obama's 2014 executive actions protecting some adults who reside in the United States illegally. The court's 4-to-4 deadlock meant that the court upheld the state of Texas' successful challenge to the president's plan to expand his earlier "deferred action" rules that protected from deportation many young people brought to the country by their parents.
Among other things, the 2014 actions sought to expand the deferred action program by making deportation protections last for three years instead of two and allowing more young immigrants to qualify for the status. The orders would also “expand and extend the use” of a program that provides temporary work authorization to international students for 12 to 29 months postgraduation.
In comments Thursday, President Obama sought to reassure the hundreds of thousands of young people who benefited from the original deferred action program that Thursday's decision did not affect them. "These are students, they’re teachers, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers. They’re Americans in every way but on paper. And fortunately, today’s decision does not affect this policy. It does not affect the existing DREAMers," he said, referring to individuals covered by the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
A British academic in Turkey accused of making propaganda for a terrorist organization was acquitted on Thursday, the Hurriyet Daily Newsreported.
Chris Stephenson, a lecturer in computer science at Istanbul Bilgi University, was taken into custody March 15 in front of an Istanbul courthouse for allegedly possessing a Nevruz, or Kurdish New Year, leaflet printed by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party. Stephenson was released the following day. He had gone to the courthouse to show support for three Turkish academics who’d been detained in connection with their support for a petition opposing the military campaign against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey.