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.
Federal immigration agents have indicted three individuals in connection to an investigation into a network of four schools in the Los Angeles area accused of admitting foreign nationals who were not bona fide students and never had any intention of taking classes. The four schools involved in the alleged "pay-to-stay" (in the U.S.) scam -- Prodee University/Neo-America Language School, Walter Jay M.D. Institute, An Educational Center and the American College of Forensic Studies, all located in Los Angeles's Koreatown, and Likie Fashion and Technology College, located in Alhambra, Calif. -- took in an estimated $6 million per year in fraudulent tuition payments. The owner of the schools, Hee Sun Shim, and two others who assisted in their management, Hyung Chan Moon and Eun Young Choi, have been charged with conspiring to commit immigration fraud and the use or possession of an immigration document procured by fraud. Shim also faces charges of money laundering.
Police in Myanmar are cracking down on student protests, beating participants with batons, the BBC reported. The students have been protesting a new education law, which they say limits academic freedom. The students say that the law centralizes power over universities when individual universities should have more of a say. Students also want the right to form student unions and to study ethnic minority languages.
Israel's Supreme Court has ordered the University of Haifa to revise rules that permit the university to "halt" public events such as protests for a "limited time," Haaretz reported. Even with the "limited time" caveat of the rule, the measure is a violation of free speech rights, the Supreme Court ruled. The dispute dates to the university's use of the rule to halt protests in a two-week period in 2012 when Israeli forces were fighting with Palestinian forces in Gaza. The action by the university followed two peaceful protests on campus, one opposed to Israel's military action at the time, and the other in support of Israeli soldiers.