Quick Takes: Chemerinsky Gets Irvine Deanship, Student Tasered at Florida, Hamilton Center Is Alive and Independent, Hunger Strike at Minnesota, Harvard's Green Pledge, Bats Displace Students, Higher Ed and Cancer

  • Erwin Chemerinsky, who was offered the job as the first law school dean at the University of California at Irvine and then saw the offer rescinded, has the offer back. Chemerinsky and Michael V.
  • September 18, 2007
  • Erwin Chemerinsky, who was offered the job as the first law school dean at the University of California at Irvine and then saw the offer rescinded, has the offer back. Chemerinsky and Michael V. Drake, Irvine's chancellor, issued a joint announcement Monday -- after days of intense criticism of Drake for taking back the earlier offer. The second offer came after Drake flew to North Carolina (Chemerinsky teaches law at Duke) for a lengthy meeting over the weekend. Chererinsky said last week that the offer had been revoked because his liberal writing about legal issues apparently worried Drake and some conservative supporters of Irvine. Professors at Irvine and elsewhere were outraged that the job offer had been rescinded for political reasons, and some pushed for Drake's ouster. In their joint statement, Chemerinsky and Drake said: "Our new law school will be founded on the bedrock principle of academic freedom. The chancellor reiterated his lifelong, unqualified commitment to academic freedom, which extends to every faculty member, including deans and other senior administrators." During a telephone press conference Monday, Chemerinsky said that he would never have agreed to any position that made him feel "muzzled" and that he would continue to write op-eds (the apparent source of conservative opposition to his appointment) although he also was mindful of the role he would have as dean. In several comments during the press conference, Drake suggested that the main problem in the last week was publicity. He talked about how the revoked job led to "more noise" than he expected, and said that the "public nature" of the discussions has been difficult.
  • A student who would not stop asking questions of Sen. John Kerry at the University of Florida was tasered by university police Monday, The Gainesville Sun reported. While accounts and video of the incident suggest that the student was refusing to give up the microphone, many in the audience said that the police went too far and that a taser was not needed. Police charged the student with disupting a public event and said that they would investigate the incident. The Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper, called the use of the taser "inexcusable and out of line." The use of a taser by campus policy set off a controversy last year at the University of California at Los Angeles.
  • The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization is alive and well -- just not connected to Hamilton College as organizers originally hoped. The institute was the brainchild of three Hamilton professors, who wanted to offer seminars, fellowships and other programs about Western thought and U.S. political history at the college. While the college initially approved the concept, the plans fell apart in a debate over control of the institute -- with college officials insisting that governance needed to be comparable to that of other institutes and organizers pushing for more autonomy. The organizers also said that they believed there was hostility from some liberal professors to their idea. The reconstituted institute has received some of the philanthropic support that was pledged to the center at the college. The main difference is that the new center, while located in the same locality as Hamilton College (Clinton, N.Y.), will offer programs for students from a range of colleges and local residents.
  • Eleven students at the University of Minnesota on Monday announced the start of a hunger strike to back clerical, technical and health care workers who have been on strike in a dispute over wages.
  • Harvard University and the environmental agency in Massachusetts annnounced an agreement Monday under which the university committed to ambitious goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions at a new science complex it is planning, The Boston Globe reported. However, the newspaper also reported that some environmental groups are criticizing the state for exempting Harvard from an environmental impact review.
  • More than 200 students at Texas Southern University have been forced to leave their dormitories because of an infestation of bats. KHOU News, which has video of some students trying to fend off bats with brooms, reported that health officials fear some students may have been exposed to rabies and may need shots as a result.
  • Another advantage for those who go to college: Research just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that those with a higher education are less likely than others to die from cancer.
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