Quick Takes: Clifford Geertz Dies, Plagiarism Saga Continues at Southern Illinois, Evergreen Professors Unionize, What the College Grads Did, Racist Party Investigated at Hopkins

November 1, 2006
  • Clifford Geertz, a leading cultural anthropologist whose influence extended to many other disciplines, died Monday from complications following heart surgery. Geertz, 80, was professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, N.J., where his hiring in 1970 started what became the School of Social Science. Geertz's work has been particularly influential on questions of culture, religion (especially Islam), political structures, and village and family life. Savage Minds, an anthropology blog, has published a collection of links to Geertz resources. In 1999, Geertz discussed the intellectual path of his life in the Charles Homer Haskins Lecture for the American Council of Learned Societies. In a speech in which he paid credit to the GI Bill, his liberal arts education at Antioch College, and numerous mentors, he worried about whether current generations of adjuncts and graduate students would have the joys of intellectual life that he experienced. Of his life, he described this pattern: "A moment of confusion and uncertainty of direction, an unlooked-for opportunity dropped carelessly at my feet, a change of place, task, self, and intellectual ambience. A charmed life, in a charmed time. An errant career, mercurial, various, free, instructive, and not all that badly paid."
  • A faculty panel at Southern Illinois University has found that the chancellor of the Carbondale campus, Walter Wendler, used material from a strategic plan for Texas A&M University, where he was vice chancellor and coordinated work on the plan, for one at Southern Illinois, the Associated Press reported. The faculty panel both criticized Wendler for not being more careful about identifying the source of his work, and said that no finding in the report should be seen "as a judgment on Chancellor Wendler's character." Southern Illinois has faced a series of disputes over plagiarism -- with some charging that faculty members are punished for acts that are accepted when administrators do them. A new faculty panel is now expected to examine plagiarism policies, the AP said.
  • Faculty members at Evergreen State College have voted to unionize, labor officials announced Tuesday. The union will represent about 260 faculty members and is part of the United Faculty of Washington State, which is affiliated with both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Administrators told The Olympian that they were not taking a stand on the union vote.
  • By 2003, 10 years after they had graduated from college, 40 percent of bachelor's recipients in 1992-3 had enrolled in a master's, first professional, or doctoral program, according to " Where Are They Now? A Description of 1992-92 Bachelor's Degrees Recipients 10 Years Later," a report released Tuesday. The study, by the National Center for Education Statistics, looked a variety of demographic, educational, and employment characteristics, and surveyed graduates. The report also found that about three-fifths of the graduates viewed their undergraduate education as very important to their lives.
  • Johns Hopkins University suspended all activities of Sigma Chi fraternity after its "Halloween in the Hood" party, which featured a plastic skeleton, dressed in pirate garb, hanging in a noose. Dozens of black students held a protest of the party on Monday, The Baltimore Sun reported. The party invitation called Baltimore an "HIV pit" and invited attendees to wear "regional clothing," such as "hoochie hoops," the Sun reported.

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