Julia O’Sullivan, dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, is considering legal action against critics, many of them professors, who have been urging her removal, The Globe and Mail reported. Faculty members have criticized recent decisions on the budget and the elimination a bachelor's degree in education. O'Sullivan's lawyer said that she is being unfairly maligned for decisions made by her bosses. She “may be only a messenger and decisions have been made by the university and by government. The dean is charged with communicating those decisions. Public castigation at that level is offensive and could cause reputational damage,” said the lawyer.
James Ritchie, a male student, has resigned as women's officer of the student union at the University of Tasmania. Ritchie's recent election to that post set off a furor. He has said repeatedly that he is committed to fighting discrimination against women.
A petition calling for his removal states that support for women's equality isn't the only qualification for the position. "The role of women’s officer is more than just about ‘doing things’ for women students, it is also about representation. In what have historically been male-dominated institutions, with a persistently patriarchal culture, it is important that women’s rights, needs, interests and concerns in the university context are voiced through someone elected to directly represent them. In light of persisting social issues of gender inequality, discrimination and under-representation of women in positions of influence and power at university and beyond, we believe it is not much to ask that women students are ensured a dedicated student representative to not only represent their specific concerns as a student body, but also to simply carve out and ensure space for women in the Tasmanian University Union Student Representative Council," the petition says.
In his resignation statement, Ritchie criticized those who called for his ouster. "How can we as a society expect our men to stand up for women if they are mocked and insulted for trying to help the cause?" he wrote. "I challenge all those that have ridiculed me and asked me to resign, what are you going to do now? How are you going to ensure as a community we work to eradicate discrimination and injustice for women? This still takes place daily around the world. Surely a starting point cannot be hating those who are wanting to do good."
The council of the University of Cape Town announced Wednesday that it has voted to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from the campus. The vote followed years of criticism for keeping the statue. 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.
Kyushu University, in Japan, has ended a long taboo on discussing vivisections performed on American prisoners of war during World War II, The Japan Times reported. The experiments -- viewed by experts as extreme torture -- led to the convictions of 14 university employees in the war crimes trial that followed the war. But after that, the incidents were never discussed in public. Now, a new museum about medicine at the university includes information about the vivisections, as well as some patient records and medical devices.
A Massachusetts trial is providing details about allegations that Mark Zimny, a consultant, convinced a wealthy Hong Kong businessman to pay him more than $2 million to get the businessman's sons into Ivy League colleges, The Boston Globe reported. Zimny is facing wire fraud, bank fraud and other charges -- all of which he has denied. In the first stage of the trial, the Hong Kong businessman, Gerald Chow, has testified about how Zimny instructed him to send money that would be donated to prep schools that would then admit his sons, paving their way to the Ivy League. The relationship soured when Chow discovered the prep schools never received his donations. Zimny's lawyers said that the payments were to look after Chow's sons.
Laura Sumner, a Ph.D. student at Britain's University of Nottingham, is being forced to end a research trip to Russia amid charges that she was spying on the country, The Independent reported. She was forced to appear in court in Russia and accused of traveling on the wrong visa, and was ordered to leave the country. She is doing research on social identity among urban workers in 1917. University officials said that they have been in touch with Sumner and expect her to return soon to Britain.
Authorities say 147 people were killed in an attack by a violent Somali group on a university in Kenya Thursday morning, The New York Times reported. That number is much higher than were the initial reports. Christian students were the target at a university that educates both Muslim and Christian students. An article in Times Higher Education explores how universities in strife-torn parts of the world can be seen as easy targets for terrorist groups.
Gunmen linked to a violent group in Somalia attacked a university in Kenya early Thursday, CNN reported. The attack on Garissa University College left at least 30 hospitalized and authorities fear that hostages were taken. Fifteen people were reported killed.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers is warning that antiterrorism legislation under consideration in Canada could limit academic freedom. An analysis of the legislation notes, for example, that "advocating terrorism" could be a crime. The C.A.U.T. asks whether a professor talking about the reasons some antiapartheid groups used violence to force change in South Africa would be committing a criminal act. The association urges the adoption of an exemption to the law for statements and actions related to instruction and education.