The Chinese real estate tycoon couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin recently announced a $15 million gift to Harvard University. The South China Morning Post reported that they have received criticism online from people asking why they didn't give the money to Chinese universities. The couple has pointed out that Harvard will use the funds to help poor students from China enroll there.
A Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California died Thursday after being attacked by at least three men a few blocks from campus, The Los Angeles Timesreported. Police said that Xinran Ji, an engineering student, was assaulted with a blunt object while walking home from a study group around 12:45 a.m.; he was able to make it to his nearby off-campus apartment, where he was subsequently found dead.
USC has experienced a series of violent incidents that have shaken up prospective and current students. In April of 2012, two Chinese graduate students were shot and killed while sitting in a parked car just west of campus, leading their parents to file a wrongful death suit alleging that the university had provided misleading information on safety. Six months after that, a gunman opened fire outside a Halloween party, wounding four people.
The university has since that time introduced a number of new measures aimed at improving safety, though TheLos Angeles Times noted that Thursday’s attack “once again exposed the limits of the university’s efforts outside school grounds.”
Technical University, in Munich, is planning to switch most master's degrees to English by 2020, The Local reported. Currently about one-third of such programs are in English. The university's president, Wolfgang Herrmann, said, "English is the lingua franca in academia and of the economy." But student leaders are skeptical of switching so many programs to English.
A U.S. Department of State database has been experiencing “significant performance issues, including outages" since last Saturday, resulting in delays for applicants for U.S. passports and visas, the Associated Press reported. A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said that the problem is global and is not specific to any one country or visa category. Harf said the department is working to correct the problem.
British universities are less likely to admit ethnic minority applicants than they are white applicants, even when controlling for academic record, social background and other factors, Times Higher Education reported. The finding was from a study done by the London School of Economics and Political Science. The disadvantage is most evident for Pakistani applicants.
The American Anthropological Association is the latest disciplinary association to decide to consider the role it should play in discussing and/or taking a stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The association's president is announcing to members that leaders of the group want to promote "a conversation" about these issues, particularly given the expertise of many anthropologists in the Middle East. Monica Heller, the president, also noted in a letter to members in the forthcoming Anthropology News that she was aware that such discussions in other disciplinary associations have been "divisive," and that anthropologists should be able to have a "respectful exchange" on the topic. There will be a special forum at the association's annual meeting in December, and perhaps special sessions. The association is also considering the appointment of a task force. Heller's letter stresses that while association leaders are not preempting moves by others to take various steps, the association is not at this time taking a stand on a boycott of Israel.
Heller's letter is based on a larger article she wrote with other AAA leaders that appeared in an earlier issue of Anthropology News.
The anthropology blog Savage Minds has run a series of posts in recent weeks in which two Ph.D. candidates in anthropology have, under a pseudonym, argued that the association should endorse a boycott. The first post is here.
A couple who made their fortunes in founding the Chinese real estate company SOHO China are setting up a $100 million fund to send low-income Chinese students to elite universities abroad, an initiative they launched on Tuesday by signing a $15 million gift agreement with Harvard University, The Wall Street Journalreported. Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi are looking to set up similar endowments at other universities in the U.S. and elsewhere.