Quick Takes: Ark. Tech Allows Musical, Berkeley-Saudi Deal, Harvard Basketball Recruiting Questioned, Northwestern Dean Cleared, Paper Suspends Opinion Section, Duke Bars Sudan Holdings, No More Paper Cups, 20 New UK Universities, Australian Prostitutes
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on March 3, 2008 - 4:00am
Arkansas Tech University announced Friday that it would allow a student production of "Assassins" -- called off in the wake of the killings at Northern Illinois University -- to have four performances on the campus, starting March 13. The ban on the play, which administrators said was necessary because it contains gunshots, upset students, professors and artists at Arkansas Tech,  who said that the administration was overreacting. The administration is permitting prop weapons to be used, but other rules are being criticized as needlessly restrictive for a campus play. All tickets must be purchased in advance and audience members' bags will be searched.
The University of California at Berkeley and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in Saudi Arabia, are close to a collaboration agreement despite concerns of some Berkeley faculty members about Saudi Arabia's discrimination against any female, Jewish or gay faculty members or students who might want to participate, The San Jose Mercury News reported. A committee of the Academic Senate investigated those concerns and found them unjustified, the paper reported.
Harvard University has started recruiting men's basketball players whose academic records would previously have disqualified them, and may be engaging in recruiting tactics that may violate National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, The New York Times reported. While Harvard denied any wrongdoing, officials acknowledged that in the quest to win the Ivy League basketball championship, the university is recruiting athletes with lower academic profiles than those that were necessary in the past. This year -- without the new recruits -- Harvard will not claim the Ivy championship. Cornell University won that honor Saturday night by soundly defeating Harvard, 86-53. While Cornell is unlikely to be a favorite in the NCAA Division I tournament, it was the first team to be assured of a berth.
Daniel Linzer, provost of Northwestern University, has issued a memo expressing confidence in John Lavine as dean of the Medill School of Journalism, saying that there are no reasons to believe -- as some have charged -- that quotes for a column he wrote for an alumni publication were fabricated. Linzer's memo endorsed the findings of a panel he appointed. He wrote: "The committee unanimously concluded that although a record of the student statements that were quoted cannot be found, sufficient material does exist ... to demonstrate that sentiments similar to the quotes had been expressed by students. Thus, the committee found that there is ample evidence that the quotes were consistent with sentiment students expressed ... and no evidence to point to any likelihood that the quotes were fabricated. The committee further stated that the author of a piece like the 'Letter from the Dean' could not reasonably be expected to have retained for a year the notes or e-mails documenting the sources of quotations used in the letter..." It is not clear that this standard will be accepted. "It is a hard and fast rule in journalism that when quotation marks are used, they should reflect what a source actually said, not merely their quote-unquote sentiments," David Protess, a professor at Medill, told the Chicago Tribune. "If simply capturing the mood of unnamed sources is good enough to be used in quotation marks, then our standards as a journalism school are slipping."
Duke University announced Friday that it will bar endowment managers from making any investments in companies that do business with the government of Sudan. There are no such investments currently in Duke's portfolio.
The Culinary Institute of America will as of today stop using paper cups and lids at any student or staff dining facilities. Students and employees will be expected to carry travel mugs. The institute had been using more than 15,000 disposable cups a week.
The British government is today announcing a "university challenge" in which up to 20 towns -- many of them in areas of high unemployment -- will be selected to be the sites of new universities, The Guardian reported. Some of the new campuses will be independent while others may have ties to existing universities.
In January, French educators were alarmed by reports of a rise in student prostitution as a means of paying for college. Now similar concerns are being raised in Australia. The Age reported Sunday that 40 percent of the female sex workers in Melbourne's brothels are enrolled in the city's universities. The general manager of Melbourne's largest brothel told the newspaper that university students often were his best employees because "they're career oriented and know exactly what they want to get out of the job." He added that when the students aren't with clients, "we allow them to get out their laptops and study in a spare room."