Quick Takes: $850,000 Awarded in Harassment Suit, Newspaper Adviser Regains Job, Governor Attacks Harvard for Khatami Invite, Bias Seen in British Salaries, Academic Purge Sought in Iran

September 6, 2006
  • A jury has ordered the St. Louis Community College District to pay $850,000 to a woman found to have been harassed by a former campus police officer while she was serving as a secretary in the district's police office. According to an account in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,  the officer had been making advances that the woman rebuffed and one day approached her, closed  the office door, held a gun to her head, and said "If I can't have you, no one can." He pulled the trigger, but there were no bullets. He testified in the trial that the gun incident was a joke and college officials said that they responded appropriately after the woman filed a complaint. The Post-Dispatch said that college officials warned the jury that a high award would hurt the college district's students. District officials plan an appeal.
  • The board of Ocean County College has reinstated Karen Bosley, a journalism professor, to her position advising the student newspaper at the New Jersey college. Bosley lost that position amid disputes over the paper's critical coverage of the college administration, but a federal judge in July issued a preliminary injunction blocking the dismissal, pending her legal challenge to it. The Society for Professional Journalists, one of many groups backing Bosley, praised her reinstatement but called for more assurances of press freedom at the college.
  • Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican considering a presidential bid, has denounced Harvard University for inviting Mohammed Khatami, the former president of Iran, to speak at the John F. Kennedy School of Government on Sunday, the day before the fifth anniversary of 9/11. In a statement, Romney called Harvard's invitation "a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists." He also denied a request from the U.S. State Department for security help with the visit. The Kennedy School released a statement to The Boston Globe defending the invitation. "We can understand and often share his disagreement with the positions of Khatami," the statement said, but "the school nonethless believes that active and open dialogue are a critical part of effective education and policy."
  • A survey of the salaries of science departments at British universities suggests that bias plays a role in the pay gap between male and female professors, The Guardian reported. The study -- by an economics professor at the University of East Anglia -- found that much of the gap could be explained by age, length of tenure, academic specialties and other factors that need not reflect bias. But the study found that 23 percent of the gap had no such explanation, raising the issue of possible bias.
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, is calling for a purge of secular or liberal professors in the country's universities, The New York Times reported.
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