Threats to Academic Freedom in Hong Kong?

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, The Washington 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. 

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Top Japanese Universities Make Major Admissions Shift

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.


Is the international branch campus phenomenon just a fad?

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Analysis of international branch campuses suggests that the trend isn't going away, but won't work for all institutions.

Three Indicted in Alleged Student Visa Scam

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. 

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President of KAUST says he won't criticize Saudi policies

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The president of Saudi Arabia’s flagship graduate research university has rejected calls for him to condemn restrictions on freedom of speech in the country.

Myanmar Police Beat Student Protesters With Batons

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.


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Israeli Court Orders U. of Haifa to Revise Protest Rules

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.


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Teaching Assistants on Strike at U. of Toronto

Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto went on strike last week, preventing some sections from being taught. The main point of disagreement is over compensation. The university and the union late last week each issued open letters outlining their views of the conflict.


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Russian Universities Are Behind on Student Stipends

More than 40 Russian universities -- including such leading institutions at Moscow State University -- have been missing deadlines on stipend payments to students since the start of the year, The Moscow Times reported. Some universities have blamed delays on "technical difficulties," while others have denied the delays. The Russian Education Ministry issued a statement that said that "the rectors of the universities that have violated students' rights and that are subordinate to the ministry will be held accountable."


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Rancho Santiago Faculty Decry Deal With Saudi Arabia

The Academic Senate of the Rancho Santiago Community College District has passed a resolution urging the district to end a $35 million consulting contract with the Saudi Arabian government, The Orange County Register reported. The resolution cites Saudi discrimination against women, Jews and others, and says that the college shouldn't be engaged in helping the Saudi government build education in a deeply discriminatory society. District leaders said they would be helping Saudi students and that the money they will be paid is similar to the funds going to other community colleges helping with such work.


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