Quick Takes: Gifts to Education Up 9.8%, Anger on DePaul Tenure Cases, Alumni Fury at Antioch, Strike Looms in Pa., New Mex. State Settles With Muslims, Miss. Valley President Quits, Minn. and Wis. Resolve Dispute, Trent Rejects Sports Scholarships

June 25, 2007
  • Giving to educational organizations -- including colleges -- increased by 9.8 percent in 2006, to $40.98 billion, according to "Giving USA," an annual survey on philanthropy being released today. In total, charitable giving of all kinds is up 4.2 percent, to $295.02 billion. Of that total, 75.6 percent came from individuals, 7.8 percent from bequests, 12.4 percent from foundations, and 4.3 percent from corporations.
  • The Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors has written to DePaul University, formally protesting the recent tenure denials of Norman G. Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee. The letter focuses on the Finkelstein case, arguing that DePaul's consideration of "collegiality" related issues was contrary to AAUP guidelines and DePaul's rules. The letter goes on to question whether DePaul truly ignored the widely publicized national campaign against Finkelstein -- as the university said it did. Leo Welch, president of the Illinois chapter and a biology professor at Southwestern Illinois College, said that the letter to DePaul represented a stance taken by the state group, and was not part of the process by which the national AAUP investigates alleged violations of academic freedom. The Illinois conference acted on its own, he said, and the two professors involved did not request any action from the group. DePaul officials have repeatedly said that they handled the tenure cases consistent with their policies and a commitment to academic freedom.
  • Antioch College, which is slated for shutdown after the next academic year, held its reunion this weekend and many alumni emerged from meetings with the leaders of Antioch University more angry than ever about the closure plans, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported. Alumni and professors -- many of whom are deeply distrustful of the university's board and administration -- are trying to raise money independently and find ways to change the institution's governance. Details are on the Web site called Save Antioch.
  • Negotiations between the 14-campus Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and its faculty union are tense, with a strike viewed as possible as early as next week. Many faculty members are planning to pack up their offices today, so they have access to materials for their research or other projects they may want to work on during a strike. An article in The Sentinel reported on faculty members and their plans at Shippensburg University. The latest positions of the state system are available here. The views of the faculty union -- the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, which is not affiliated with any national union -- may be found on the union's Web site.
  • New Mexico State University has paid an undisclosed sum to four former players on the football team who say that they were dismissed from the squad because they are Muslim, The Las Cruces Sun-News reported. The settlement also stipulated that the university denies any wrongdoing or bias. The players said that the bias started when Hal Mumme, the head football coach, started having players say the Lord's Prayer after practice, and he noticed the Muslim players stayed off to the side and instead recited passages from the Koran. As a result of the suit, the prayer has been replaced by a moment of silence.
  • Lester C. Newman on Friday announced that he would retire as president of Mississippi Valley State University on July 15. Newman has been president for almost nine years -- and the last year has seen increasing faculty criticism of his management style, culminating in repeated calls for his resignation.
  • A longstanding tuition reciprocity deal between Minnesota and Wisconsin, which the former had been threatening to end, will survive, The Pioneer Press reported. The deal allows students from either state to pay their own in-state rates, and resulted in Wisconsin residents paying much less than Minnesota residents to attend the University of Minnesota. While a state payment was supposed to offset the difference, it has been going to the state's general fund. Under the agreement, the Wisconsin payment will go directly to the Minnesota institutions enrolling Wisconsin residents.
  • Ontario's universities voted last year to offer athletic scholarships for the first time, effective with the 2007-8 academic year. Only one of the province's 19 universities -- Trent University -- has decided to do without athletic scholarships. Meri Kim Oliver, director of student affairs at the university, told The Peterborough Examiner that creating the scholarships seem to be encouraging universities to pick a few sports to try to become strong in, which isn't consistent with Trent's view of "sport for all," and encouraging students who aren't on teams to play sports recreationally, while staying focused on academics. "We want to stick to our original mission," Oliver said.
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