Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 17, 2017

Officials at LaGrange College probably thought they had pulled off a coup in getting U.S. Representative John Lewis (at right), a close ally of Martin Luther King Jr. and a civil rights hero in his own right, to speak on campus this month to honor Martin Luther King Day. But the college has been forced to defend the choice when some alumni objected to bringing in someone who is engaged in public argument with President-elect Donald Trump.

The Ledger-Enquirer reported that the college in Georgia released a sampling of critical messages it has received. Said one, “Why would you have someone who calls into question the legitimacy of President-elect Trump at our college? Bad move no matter what he has done in his lifetime to have him speak to the students. We think you should reconsider!” Another said, “I am so very disappointed in the news that John Lewis will speak at LaGrange College on MLK Day. There are so many more appropriate individuals/speakers who could have been selected to present this message on this day. I can only hope that the choices made by the school leadership will improve in the future.”

LaGrange is standing behind the invitation and issued a statement to that effect. A spokeswoman for the college said that most of the small number who have objected were alumni enrolled in the 1960s.

January 17, 2017

The board of Morehouse College has decided not to renew the contract of John Wilson as president, and he will leave after four years in office. The college’s press release praised Wilson. But The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that his tenure has been controversial, with criticism of budget cuts and tuition increases that Wilson said were needed due to financial problems.

January 17, 2017

Three suicide bombers attacked the University of Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria on Monday, killing a university professor and a child, as well as the bombers themselves, the Associated Press reported. Official estimates of the number of people wounded range from 15 to 17. One explosion reportedly targeted a mosque where professors had gathered for early-morning prayers. A second blast occurred when police shot a 12-year-old girl wearing a suicide vest, setting off an explosion. The university has blamed the attack on the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

January 17, 2017

Today on the Academic Minute, David Courtwright, professor of history at the University of North Florida, discusses an earlier epidemic and what we can learn from it. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

January 17, 2017

The University of Mumbai is planning to create a campus in the United States, The Indian Express reported. Officials said that they hoped to work with prominent Indian immigrants to the United States and perhaps to create joint degrees with American universities.

January 16, 2017

A concern of many black students and faculty members is how they are treated by local police officers. In 2015, Evanston, Ill., police suspected -- based on a call they received -- that Lawrence Crosby, a civil engineering Ph.D. student, was breaking into a car. It was his own car, but he said officers refused to let him offer proof of that fact, and multiple officers tackled him, while his hands were up. Crosby has sued, while the Evanston police have defended what happened. Last week, the department released recordings of the incident, and that has attracted more attention to the case and increased criticism of how Crosby was treated.

January 16, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos, the controversial Breitbart author and public speaker, was scheduled to speak at the University of California, Davis, Friday, but the event was called off amid protests against his appearance. Critics note his many anti-feminist and anti-multicultural statements and his tendency to make personal comments about students and faculty members who disagree with him.

While Yiannopoulos's appearances on campus are controversial to start with, he was to have added a special feature at Davis. He invited Martin Shkreli, the widely derided and indicted pharmaceutical executive, to join him. University officials said the Davis College Republicans, which sponsored the event, made the decision to call off the event as the protests escalated. Yiannopoulos, on Facebook, countered, saying the university made the decision. He also said there was considerable violence by the protesters, but the university denied this.

Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said in a statement that he was disappointed that the speech did not take place, regardless of what people think of the ideas being promoted. “I am deeply disappointed with the events of this evening,” said Hexter. “Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent. As I have stated repeatedly, a university is at its best when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.”

January 16, 2017

After five years of being in limbo, City College of San Francisco received news Friday that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has reaffirmed its accreditation for seven years, the college said.

The two-year institution's accreditation crisis began in 2012 when ACCJC sanctioned City College for a number of financial and administrative problems. Since then the accrediting commission has been in an ongoing fight with the City College faculty union over its own actions. ACCJC's attempt to revoke City College's accreditation in 2013 led to the commission facing a series of lawsuits and challenges from California's political leaders and the U.S. Department of Education. Since then, City College has been placed under so-called restoration status.

Last year, the Education Department gave the accreditor a year to meet federal standards, while California's two-year college system made the decision to repair the internal operations of the accreditor and transition the 113 colleges to a new accrediting agency.

"Today's announcement by the accrediting commission marks a new beginning for City College of San Francisco and its students after years of institutional improvement that has strengthened this great college," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the new California Community Colleges chancellor, in a statement. "San Francisco has a tremendous asset in City College, which provides quality teaching and learning for students who want to improve their lives and their community … My office looks forward to working with Chancellor Susan Lamb and the Board of Trustees to ensure that the college continues on a path to structural improvements and financial sustainability."

January 16, 2017

A 27-year-old Minnesota man who previously was convicted of domestic assault has been arrested in connection with the fatal beating of a University of Wisconsin-Stout student from Saudi Arabia last October, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Cullen M. Osburn, of Minneapolis, has been charged with murder and battery in the death of Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, who died from a brain injury following a beating outside a downtown Menomonie, Wis., pizza restaurant in the early-morning hours of Oct. 30. The death of Alnahdi, a junior who was studying business administration at UW-Stout, caused concerns about a possible bias-related motive, though police eventually said they'd found no evidence the incident was a hate crime.

The criminal complaint, published by the Journal Sentinel, does not establish a clear reason for the alleged altercation between Alnahdi and Osburn, who told an investigator that it "was not a result of anybody’s race," but did not elaborate. Osburn is not a student at UW-Stout.

January 16, 2017

More than 175 current and former deans of education have issued a statement of principles that they say should guide federal policy on public education. The document focuses on elementary and secondary education, but also touches on issues related to higher education. The four principles call on the federal government to:

  • "Uphold the role of public schools as a central institution in the strengthening of our democracy."
  • "Protect the human and civil rights of all children and youth, especially those from historically marginalized communities."
  • "Develop and implement policies, laws and reform initiatives by building on a democratic vision for public education and on sound educational research."
  • "Support and partner with colleges and schools of education to advance these goals."


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