Quick Takes: Another Scholar Barred From U.S., Latest on Irvine Scandal, Uninviting Summers, Paying Commission on Foreign Students, Unreported Lab Incidents, New Cartoon Furor, MassBay Tensions, Paperless Aid Applications, Katrina Recovery Funds

September 17, 2007
  • An assistant professor at Mills College is the latest foreign academic to be kept out of the United States for reasons no government official will discuss. Nalini Ghuman, a musicologist, studied and worked in the United States for a decade before being detained and turned back last year, after returning from a research trip, The New York Times reported. Ghuman is a British citizen and academic groups say that she is a respected scholar and artist. In more than a year of trying, Ghuman and her backers have been unable to get any answer about why she was blocked. The American Musicological Society is among the groups pushing for Ghuman to be able to return to her work at Mills.
  • More information is coming out about the political pressure that may have led Michael V. Drake, chancellor of the University of California at Irvine, to rescind an offer to Erwin Chemerinsky to become the first dean of Irvine's new law school. The Associated Press reported that a conservative political figure had been circulating e-mail prior to the withdrawal of the job offer, seeking strategies for preventing the job from going to Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor. Chemerinsky said Drake told him that his liberal political views would create problems for Irvine -- although Drake has since denied that politics had any role. A petition of professors and others, calling the university's handling of the job offer "rank amateurism" that endangers academic integrity, has gathered hundreds of signatures. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, reported that Irvine is trying to rehire Chemerinsky, although it is unclear if he is open to the idea.
  • Following objections from professors, the University of California Board of Regents has uninvited Lawrence H. Summers to dinner this Wednesday, The Davis Enterprise reported. Some faculty members said that the invitation to the former Harvard president was inappropriate in light of his statements about women and science.
  • It is illegal for colleges to pay commission on recruiting new students in the United States. But the law doesn't apply to branch campuses abroad and The Baltimore Sun reported on eyebrows being raised by the way the University of Maryland University College is paying commissions on students recruited to a new branch campus in Taipei. Under the arrangement, up to 25 percent of tuition is going to the recruiter. Maryland officials defended their practices, noting that other American universities do the same thing.
  • The University of Texas failed to report 10 out of 13 laboratory accidents for which federal reports were required, the Associated Press reported. Texas officials vowed to improve procedures. The university announced the missed reports after the Sunshine Project, which monitors potentially dangerous research, started its own inquiry.
  • Some professors at Central Connecticut State University are demanding the dismissal of Mark Rowan as editor of The Recorder, the student newspaper, because of a cartoon that appears to make reference to urinating on a Hispanic girl locked in a closet, The Hartford Courant reported. Some students are also protesting the cartoon, which can be found on the last page of this PDF of the newspaper's latest issue. Rowan has declined to say who drew the cartoon, but said that the artist was not connected to the university. Rowan told the Courant "I don't find it offensive" and said he believed most students agreed. In February, students at Central Connecticut State held several protests of protest an article in The Recorder, the student newspaper, called “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It.” The article described rape as a “magical experience” and said it was helpful to “ugly women.” The Courant quoted the student newspaper’s editors as saying that the article was intended as satire.
  • Six deans have been ousted and the faculty union is at odds with the president of Massachusetts Bay Community College, The Boston Globe reported. Carole Berotte Joseph has said that major changes are needed to deal with problems facing the college, but critics say her style has hindered progress.
  • Printed application forms for federal financial aid will no longer be routinely sent out, the U.S. Education Department has announced. Most applicants already apply online.
  • The U.S. Education Department last week announced an additional $30 million in aid to colleges and universities that were affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Twenty-two colleges and universities are receiving grants, and 21 of them are in the states where the two hurricanes did the most damage: Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. One other institution -- Miami Dade College -- is receiving a grant. An Education Department document said that Miami Dade's funds were to make up for enrollment losses that followed Hurricane Katrina.
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