Quick Takes: TA Strike Called Off at Cal State, Chatham Agrees to Improve Disabled Access, Santa Fe and New Mexico Highlands Talk Merger, Aid Delays at Tulsa Community College, Iran Trial Awaits Would-Be Penn Scholar, Report on Study Abroad Professionals

December 10, 2008
  • The union that represents 6,800 teaching assistants at the California State University System late Tuesday called off plans to strike today, agreeing instead to a mediation offer from Darrell Steinberg, president of the state's Senate. Just hours earlier, the union -- a United Auto Workers unit -- had pledged that a strike would start today, accusing the university system of not bargaining in good faith. The university says that a strike would have been illegal and that the union's demands are too expensive during a state budget crisis.
  • The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that it had found numerous violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act at Chatham University, and that the institution had agreed to a plan to fix the problems. Among the problems identified by the department: inaccessible entrances to buildings, steps in corridors leading to classrooms and other primary spaces, inaccessible counters, a lack of accessible seating in assembly areas, narrow doorways, the absence of directional signage, and inaccessible circulation paths throughout the campus.
  • The College of Santa Fe, fresh off the collapse of a deal to be taken over by Laureate Inc., is negotiating with New Mexico Highlands University to be merged into the four-year public institution by next fall, officials of both institutions said in a joint news release Tuesday. Institution officials said that the deal would result in Highlands refinancing Santa Fe's debt, but that decisions had yet to be made about such things as what they would charge students (presumably less than the private Santa Fe now charges) and how the liberal arts college's creative arts programs would change and/or be supplemented.
  • Up to 1,500 students at Tulsa Community College had to go most of the semester without their financial aid funds, due to a combination of delays and computer problems at a time of rising enrollment, The Tulsa World reported.
  • The University of Pennsylvania has announced that an Iranian legal scholar was recently released on bail, but is scheduled to go on trial in Iran on espionage charges. According to the university, Mehdi Zakerian, who specializes in human rights and was to be a visiting scholar at Penn's law school, was detained in August while he waited for a U.S. visa. "Our invitation to him remains open, and we are hopeful that we will be able to welcome Professor Zakerian to Philadelphia in the near future," Michael Fitts, Penn's law dean, said in a statement.
  • The Forum on Education Abroad recently published a report from its survey of workload and salaries among professionals in study abroad on its Web site. Among the findings, more than 50 percent of respondents described their offices as being understaffed considering their current caseloads, and more than 40 percent said they "may be on the threshold of not having enough staff to meet predicted growth."
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