international

Poland Probes Princeton Professor's Holocaust Claims

Poland’s right-wing government has extended an investigation into a Princeton University-based Holocaust scholar who made the controversial claim that Poles killed more Jews than Germans during World War II, the Associated Press reported.

Polish prosecutors are investigating whether Jan Tomasz Gross publicly insulted Poland, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. A prosecutor recently ordered the extension of the investigation into Gross, a Polish-American, until April, overruling a lower-ranked prosecutor who recommended that the case be dropped.

A Jewish human rights group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described the investigation into Gross as “alarming,” saying it “bears all the hallmarks of a political witch hunt.”

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Egypt Bans Papers That Insult 'Friendly' Countries

Egypt’s minister of higher education recently directed private universities to review all research papers and dissertations to make sure they do not include “direct or indirect insult to societies or individuals belonging to any brotherly or friendly countries,” the Cairo-based Mada Masr reported.

In the directive published Oct. 15, the minister of higher education, Ashraf al-Shihy, wrote, “I hope that this obligation will include every stage of preparing the thesis, from the study and the research at its inception, ending with its declaration and official publishing approval.” Mada Masr reported that a spokesman for the minister and the head of the country's Council of Private Universities were not available for comment.

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ACT Moves Testing in South Korea to Single Site

ACT is closing all of its 32 existing test centers in South Korea for the remainder of the academic year and shifting all testing in the country to a single site to be monitored directly by ACT staff from the U.S. in response to what the nonprofit college entrance test provider described as “repeated test material breaches” in the country.

“We can no longer continue to let the criminal actions of a few unscrupulous individuals undermine the efforts of hardworking, honest students,” Suzana Delanghe, ACT’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “Moving to a single testing venue directly monitored by ACT staff members will allow ACT to have greater oversight on the testing process, improving test security and fairness.”

The December administration of the ACT in South Korea will be at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul. ACT said locations for test dates in 2017 will be announced by Jan. 31.

ACT canceled its June administration of the ACT at 56 test centers in South Korea and Hong Kong due to what it called a “verified” report that some people had obtained test materials prior to the test.

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Assailant, Motive Sought in Killing of Saudi Student

The University of Wisconsin Stout announced a $15,000 reward, funded by private donations and the university foundation, for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the fatal beating of a student from Saudi Arabia. The Council for American-Islamic Relations has pledged another $5,000 reward.

Hussain Saeed Alnahdi (at right), a junior from Saudi Arabia majoring in business administration, died Monday from injuries he sustained in an assault that occurred shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday near a pizza restaurant in downtown Menomonie, Wis., according to a statement from the university. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the police chief for the city of Menomonie said in a Wednesday press conference that authorities have not identified a suspect or motive for the assault, but have not ruled out the possibility it was a hate crime.

About 1,000 people attended a memorial service for Alnahdi at the university Thursday evening.

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Situation Facing Turkish Universities Called 'Dire'

The European University Association on Monday issued a statement stating its support for Turkish higher education following on what it described as “further infringements on university autonomy and academic freedom” reflected in new decrees holding that university rectors will no longer be elected by academics, but rather appointed by Turkey’s president from a group of three candidates proposed by the country’s Council of Higher Education.

The association also noted with concern the news that another 1,267 academics have been dismissed from their positions.

Both developments are outlined in an article Sunday in the Hurriyet Daily News, which states that the dismissals were justified by the government on the grounds that the individuals affected were affiliated with terrorist organizations or groups.

Since a failed coup attempt in July, Turkey has ordered the closure of 15 private universities, forced the resignation of all of the country’s 1,577 university deans -- many of whom have since been restored to their positions, according to information learned by the EUA -- and dismissed thousands of academic staff. Some have been detained.

“It is not our role to get involved in political issues,” Rolf Tarrach, the association’s president, said, “but it is our role to understand and discuss their consequences for the universities, and we are afraid that they are very dire.”

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Indian university buys Long Island campus, cancels other proposed purchases under regulatory scrutiny

Under scrutiny from regulators in Massachusetts, where it hoped to acquire a campus, Amity University focuses its plans for U.S. expansion on just-purchased campus on Long Island.

U.S. Issues Final Guidance on Pathway Programs

The Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program published new final policy guidance Friday on pathway programs, defined as programs that include a mix of remedial English language course work and credit-bearing classes for international students who are unable to meet English proficiency requirements for regular admission. The guidance states that SEVP must certify the pathway program before the institution can issue immigration documents to prospective students for the program, and that the petitioning institution offering the pathway program must be institutionally or programmatically accredited. SEVP-certified institutions with existing pathway programs have one year to comply with the new requirements.

The department also issued new interim final guidance Friday on procedures and requirements for unaccredited institutions that are seeking certification to admit international students. The interim guidance is open for public comment through Dec. 12.

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Report from Scholars at Risk tracks global attacks on students and scholars

Report from Scholars at Risk analyzes more than 150 instances of attacks on higher education, including campus attacks, targeted killings, prosecutions and violence against student protestors.

Universities Canada Approves Antibias Requirement

Members of the Universities Canada association voted Wednesday in favor of a new criterion for membership related to nondiscrimination.

The new criterion approved by more than two-thirds of members present at the association’s fall meeting states: “With respect to all institutional policies and practices, the institution affirms its commitment to equal treatment of all persons without discrimination, on the basis of race, religious beliefs, color, gender, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, family status, sex, and sexual orientation, or other grounds identified in applicable human rights law.”

Prospective Universities Canada members must immediately meet the new criterion, while existing members have until 2020 to make any changes necessary to meet it.

Helen Murphy, a spokeswoman for Universities Canada, said the addition of the criterion was not prompted “by any one incident or issue. Rather, the board believes that this new criterion reflects the views and principles of a majority of our members and Canadians. The decision of our membership demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion by Canada’s universities.”

A statement on the association’s website prior to the vote said that, if the criterion were to be adopted, “member institutions could not have policies, processes or codes of conduct that discriminate based on ‘protected grounds’ -- for example, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or color.” It further noted, however, that “the intention is not to restrict member institutions from hiring protocols aligned with their specific university mission. For example, it would not restrict a Francophone institution from hiring French-speaking faculty and staff, or a faith-based institution from hiring faculty and staff who are part of their faith community.”

But what about other policies, such as language in a “community covenant” at Trinity Western University, a Christian university in British Columbia, that stipulates that members of the university community will voluntarily abstain from, among other things, “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”?

Asked about this specific policy, Murphy of Universities Canada deferred to the association's board: “With respect to any specific university policy, it will be the role of our Board of Directors to apply the institutional review policy in any case raised and make a recommendation, if necessary, to the membership. Any recommendation to remove an institution from membership would require approval by two-thirds of members present for a vote,” she said.

In a statement, Trinity Western’s president said he believes the university is in compliance with the new membership criterion. “We’ve been aware of the possibility of a bylaw change for some time,” Bob Kuhn, the president, said in a written statement. “Trinity Western University has always had a clear commitment to complying with all applicable human rights laws. Universities Canada’s new bylaw is informed by these laws, which make allowances for faith-based and other specialized institutions. We believe we comply with the new bylaw, and we will remain a valued member of Universities Canada as we have for more than 32 years.”

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Some Egyptian SAT Scores Canceled

The scores of an unspecified “subset” of Egyptian students who sat for the October SAT have been canceled “based on evidence that a test preparation organization illegally obtained and shared the test content before the administration,” said the College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT.

“We've done our best to limit the number of students whose scores were canceled,” Jaslee Carayol, a spokeswoman for the College Board, said via email. “Without the cooperation of the test-prep organization, we were unable to determine which students had access to the test materials, so we had to cancel the scores of all students who may have seen them. Therefore, score cancellation alone should not reflect on the integrity of any individual student. Any scores that institutions do receive from applicants in Egypt are valid and accurate.”

Carayol declined to say how many students' scores were canceled, saying that the College Board “cannot share further details because making certain details public could compromise our prevention and detection processes.”

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