Quick Takes: Iowa Faulted in Sex Assault Case, Overdue Degrees for Freedom Riders, Rules for Retiree Hires, Next Frontier of Print on Demand, CUNY's Science Boost

September 19, 2008
  • An outside investigator has found that the University of Iowa failed to protect a female student who brought sexual assault charges against two football players, The Des Moines Register reported. The investigator's report was presented to the Iowa Board of Regents Thursday. The university was criticized in particular for failing to protect the woman from harassment by other athletes after she brought the charges. The report found that she faced physical threats and shouts. At Iowa, the case has prompted considerable discussion about how the university handles complaints about athletes.
  • Tennessee State University was finally able to confer degrees (4 of them posthumously) Thursday on 14 Freedom Riders who were jailed and then expelled from the university decades ago for their roles in a landmark moment in the civil rights movement. The degrees set off a controversy when the state's Board of Regents initially rejected the plan this spring, with some members questioning why so many should be awarded at once, or why a single act should be deemed worthy of a degree. An outcry followed, with civil rights leaders, historians and educators noting a special obligation to these individuals who were denied the right to earn degrees because of their work against segregation. The board then reversed itself, paving the way for Thursday's ceremony. The Tennesseean quoted Melvin Johnson, president of the university, explaining why he fought so hard to honor these individuals: "These degrees serve to remind this generation of a time when young people were willing to risk their reputations, careers, freedom and lives for a higher cause,"
  • The University of California Board of Regents on Thursday adopted new rules limiting the rehiring of retired employees. The Contra Costa Times reported that the rules now require "exigent circumstances," which would need to be documented. The newspaper set off legislative anger over such rehirings when it reported about the police chief at the Berkeley campus, Victoria Harrison, taking a large payout from her retirement fund upon theoretically retiring, and then being hired back to work in the same position without the university having searched for a replacement.
  • The University of Michigan has become the first university to install in its library a new type of print-on-demand machine that will produce books in five to seven minutes. The university will allow anyone in the library to select books from an online archive (featuring only works on which there are not copyright issues) and to order a printed version for around $10.
  • The City University of New York announced final approval Thursday of enhancements to its graduate programs in the sciences. The plan involves new fellowships for doctoral students in the sciences. In addition, City College and Hunter College will now jointly award doctoral degrees in the sciences with the Graduate Center of CUNY. The move is seen as one that will bolster science programs at both colleges.
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