Israeli authorities on Monday granted full university status to the Ariel University Center, a higher education center on the West Bank whose future has become a hotly debated issue in Israeli academic and political circles, The Jerusalem Post reported. Advocates for Israeli settlements on the West Bank have pushed for the center to be given the same status as other Israeli universities. But many Israeli academics -- professors and administrators alike -- have opposed the idea. Some have argued that the move will link Israeli higher education to the government's policies supporting greater West Bank settlement -- policies that many Israel academics abhor. Other academics have offered more practical criticism, arguing that there isn't enough money for the country to support an eighth full-fledged university. An editorial in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the move undercut the independence of Israeli higher education.
Scientists in Spain have been holding protests all week over cuts to research budgets, Nature reported. Government spending on science has been cut by 39 percent since 2009. In Madrid, scientists released balloons to symbolize the departure of talent from the country.
A campaign to fund scholarships and fellowships for Syrian students and professors is well under way. The first grantees reflect on the situation they left behind and their hopes to help Syria rebuild.
Thousands of Hungarian students held rallies in Budapest last week to protest government plans to make most university students pay tuition, Reuters reported. Starting next year, the government plans to cut by two-thirds the number of students whose university education is subsidized by the government, forcing the others to pay tuition. Government officials say that they need to cut costs to deal with a national deficit, while students say that the government should be investing in the future leaders of the country.
Twelve British universities have created Futurelearn as a platform for MOOCs (massive open online courses) to be available free to anyone in the world, Times Higher Education reported. Courses will be offered by:
Sudan is seeing major student protests this week in the wake of the deaths of four students at Gezira University who participated in a protest over tuition rates, AFP reported. Protest organizers said that the four students were among participants in a peaceful protest that was disrupted by a pro-government student group. University officials said that the students drowned.
Cecilia Chang, who killed herself last month while on trial on multiple charges, had been a prominent administrator at St. John's University, in New York. An article in The New York Times examines her record in helping to bring millions of dollars of grants to the university, and also the charges she faced of fraud, embezzlement and of forcing international students to do personal work for her. The article also provides details about her grisly suicide.