British Universities Launch Campaign to Stay in E.U.

The British government is planning a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union, prompting leaders of British universities to start Universities for Europe to encourage British voters to keep the country in the E.U. British academic leaders fear a loss of E.U. funding for research, and also a lessening of the collaboration between academics in Britain and the rest of Europe. Julia Goodfellow, vice chancellor at the University of Kent and president elect of Universities UK, plans to give a speech today calling for universities to “stand up and be counted” in the referendum on the E.U., Times Higher Education reported.

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Scholar documents continuing inequalities in South African higher education


Study finds that class has joined race as a dividing line at universities.

Ireland Studies Gender Equity at Universities

The Higher Education Authority of Ireland has named a high-level commission to study the state of gender equity at Irish universities, The Irish Times reported. Data the authority released last year showed that only 19 percent of professors at universities in the country are women.

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New program at New Jersey's Kean U. will limit the number of state residents

A new program at a public university in New Jersey will have a cap on the number of state residents as institution looks overseas for students.

Elite Australian Universities Reject Report on Graduates' Salaries

The Group of Eight, which represents Australia's most prestigious research universities, is condemning a new government report that found that those who hold a master's or doctoral degree from one of its members earn on average 15 percent less than graduates of another group of smaller universities, Times Higher Education reported. While non-Group of Eight members are cheering the results, the Group of Eight issued this statement: “We absolutely question the veracity of the methodology adopted. When results are so very different from everything that has gone before, even when using the same survey data, surely some explanation is required, especially in a sector that lives and dies by the rigor of its research.”

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Palestinian Students Drop Out of Venezuelan Scholarship Program

About a third of the 119 students participating in a scholarship program that brings Palestinian students to medical school in Venezuela have dropped out, causing tensions in the Palestinian-Venezuelan relationship, the Associated Press reported. Students complained of a lack of rigor in the program.

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South African University Won't Charge Hitler-Praising Student

The University of the Witwatersrand, one of South Africa's top universities, announced Tuesday that it will not bring charges against Mcebo Dlamini, a former student leader who in April wrote on his Facebook page that he loved Hitler. The remark was followed by interviews in which Dlamini defended his admiration for the Nazi dictator, saying that he was a "leader" who "uplifted the spirit" of Germans and improved the country's economy. Jewish groups in South Africa called for the university to punish Dlamini, who lost his student government position the previous year for unrelated reasons. South Africa's Constitution exempts hate speech from the normal protections of free speech -- and many in the country said that praising Hitler was hate speech.

The university took a different view on the legal issue, while also criticizing the praise for Hitler. "On the basis of existing case evidence, the legal office found that Mr. Dlamini's utterances did not breach the exceptions to the Constitution regarding freedom of speech. There are grounds for him to be charged for failing to meet his fiduciary requirements as [student government] president. However, given the fact that he has already been removed from this capacity, the university does not deem it appropriate to charge him in this regard," said a statement from the university. "Obviously, the university still holds the view that Mr. Dlamini's remarks were abhorrent and not in standing with the values of this institution. The university remains embarrassed that one of its own could have made such comments. However, given its commitment to freedom of speech as espoused in the Constitution, the university is committed to providing a space for the free exchange of ideas, whether or not it agrees with those ideas."

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A look at how European nations create incentives for universities to promote good teaching


The incentives for universities vary by country.

New data show countries gaining and losing in European research competition


Scientists based in Britain win more grants than those of other countries. But Belgium, Germany, Israel and Switzerland have some boasting rights as well.

American College of Greece Faces Country's Turmoil

The American College of Greece, which offers an American-style and American-accredited education for 2,500 students in Athens, is allowing students to enroll without making a down payment that would normally be required, in light of the closure of banks and Greece's economic crisis. The vote Sunday by Greek citizens against a bailout plan that would have imposed new austerity measures may add to the economic chaos. About 84 percent of students are Greek nationals, so the lack of access to their funds and family funds is significant. Thimios Zaharopoulos, provost of the college, said via email that the continued closure of banks could create problems for the college and all parts of Greek society. The college's endowment, he said, is in the United States and so should not be directly affected by the crisis.

Zaharopoulos was optimistic about the long term. "ACG has been around for 140 years and has survived multiple disasters. It will survive this one as well," he said.

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