Dortmund Technical University, in Germany, has closed its prayer room after disputes over the actions of Muslim students in the room, the Associated Press reported. Some Muslim students required Muslim women in the room to wear veils and to be seated separately from men during services. Such practices violate university rules on gender equity.
The University of Copenhagen announced that it is cutting more than 500 teaching, research, service and administrative jobs -- 7 percent of its total staff -- in response to government cuts to its budget. The university also said it would be reducing its Ph.D. student intake by 10 percent and is evaluating the financial viability of some of its medical science and small language programs.
Copenhagen announced last month that it would halt the intake of new students in 13 small language and area studies programs -- including Eskimology, Finnish and Turkish -- and close some of them (which ones to be determined) for good.
A senior Egyptian prosecutor said the body of a University of Cambridge student who disappeared in Cairo has been found with signs of torture, the BBC reported. Giulio Regeni, 28, was a Ph.D. student in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge and a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo. His research was on trade unions and labor rights, a sensitive subject in Egypt.
Regeni, an Italian national, was last seen on the night of Jan. 25, when he left home to meet a friend in central Cairo. His body was found beside a road on Wednesday. The cause of death has not yet been determined; his body had bruises, knife wounds and cigarette burns.
The Saudi government approved more restrictive eligibility rules for its foreign university scholarship program on Monday, Reuters and the Saudi Gazette reported. Details of the new rules are vague, but they would appear to make the scholarship program more academically elite. The Saudi government is facing a budget deficit due to low oil prices and is looking for ways to reduce state spending.
Saudi Arabia's foreign university scholarship program, started in 2005, has led to big increases in the number of Saudi students at U.S. universities. Nearly 60,000 Saudi students were enrolled at American colleges in 2014-15, making Saudi Arabia the fourth-largest country of origin for international students in the U.S.
A new alliance between Arizona State University, King’s College London and the University of New South Wales will focus on cross-border research on issues related to health, social justice, sustainability and innovation. At a launch event in London next week, the universities plan to announce the inaugural group of more than 60 “PLuS Alliance” fellows, who will come from across the three institutions and who will receive stipends to cover travel and other costs. A pool of money will be available for research projects. The universities plan to announce the first joint research initiatives, on sustainability, at next week’s event.
The College of William & Mary announced that one of its students "apparently" contracted the Zika virus while traveling in Central America during winter break. According to the university’s announcement, the student is expected to recover fully and there is no known health risk for others on campus.
The World Health Organization on Monday declared a public health emergency related to the spread of the Zika virus. Though the mosquito-borne virus usually causes mild symptoms, public health officials are concerned about a suspected causal link between infection during pregnancy and microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.
The University of Oxford has decided not to take down a statue of Cecil Rhodes at its Oriel College despite alumni threats to withdraw millions in donations, the college announced. The statue, like a plaque about Rhodes elsewhere on the campus, has been caught up in the debate that has swept campuses in Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere about honoring historical figures whose pasts included racist or other detrimental acts or statements.
Rhodes, the British imperialist whose bequest endowed the Rhodes Scholarships, has been at the center of the debate in Britain. In December, Oriel College officials said they had begun the process of removing the plaque honoring Rhodes and would review the status of the statue, describing the plaque's wording praising Rhodes as "inconsistent with our principles."
But in the announcement Thursday, Oriel officials said the "listening exercise" the college had undertaken in December had elicited an "enormous amount of input," overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the statue in place. "The college believes the recent debate has underlined that the continuing presence of these historical artifacts is an important reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism still felt today. By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate and be true to our educational mission."
British newspaper reports indicated that Oxford and Oriel have received threats to withdraw millions of dollars in gifts if the statue was removed, though the college's statement dismissed the idea that financial considerations were a factor.
Rhodes Must Fall, the student group leading the opposition, said in a statement on Facebook that the college's decision "breached the undertakings it gave to all students in its December statement. In December, Oriel said that the plaque's display was 'inconsistent with' the college's 'principles.' It seems that Oriel no longer believes this to be the case. This recent move is outrageous, dishonest and cynical. This is not over."