McGill University has rejected the request of a Muslim female student to start women-only hours in the workout facilities on campus, CBC News reported. The request has prompted widespread campus debate in recent weeks. McGill's deputy provost for student life and learning, Ollivier Dyens, said, "We don't believe in the segregation of our services, we don't believe in separating some groups from others on campus. It's always been clear, McGill is secular and coed, and this is what we promote." McGill does have some hours for women only in the pool, but officials said that because people wear bathing suits, issues of modesty and privacy are greater there.
Protesters -- some students and many not -- have disrupted exams and blocked entrances at Lebanese University's Tripoli campus, The Daily Star reported. They object to two recent appointments of Christian academics to positions that they believe Sunni Muslims should hold. Students told the newspaper that most at the university do not believe that appointees should be judged by religious affiliation, but many in the country disagree.
An engineering professor at the University of Florida was arrested and is being detained in Abu Dhabi pending resolution of his case, The Gainesville Sunreported. John Schueller was arrested last week, reportedly after taking pictures of buildings in the United Arab Emirates capital, and was released on bail. He was in Abu Dhabi on university-approved travel to attend a conference on world hunger.
The Guardian profiles a Dutch student protest movement that has prompted debates in the Netherlands about the direction of higher education policy. The students are demanding a more democratic and transparent approach to higher education. The protests, which have included building occupations, have also prompted discussion about tactics that students are using.
Debate has intensified at the University of Cape Town over a campus statue of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes, The Guardian reported. Some students recently tossed excrement on the statue, amid a campaign to remove it. Rhodes donated the land on which the university is located, but he is considered by many to be a symbol of the apartheid system that denied basic human rights to black people in South Africa.
A New York University professor who has been critical of the treatment of migrant construction workers in the United Arab Emirates has been barred from the country, TheNew York Timesreported. Andrew Ross, professor of social and cultural analysis, was at New York’s Kennedy International Airport when he was prohibited by U.A.E. authorities from boarding a plane bound for Abu Dhabi, where N.Y.U. has a campus and where Ross had planned to spend his spring break continuing his research on labor conditions. The reason given was unspecified security concerns.
Scholars in Hong Kong are concerned that the Chinese government is attacking their academic freedom in the aftermath of last year’s pro-democracy protests, TheWashington Post reported. Concerned that the Chinese government is attempting to rein in critics, hundreds of academics have signed a petition raising concerns about “political intervention” in Hong Kong universities.
The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University -- two top institutions in Japan -- are making a major shift in admissions policies, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported. Traditionally admissions have been based solely on entrance exam scores and essays designed to test intelligence. But now each high school will be permitted to recommend one male and one female student, based on qualities that might not be apparent in the traditional system.