Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 25, 2013

The Harvard Ichthus, a student-run journal of Christian thought, on Saturday apologized for publishing an essay last week that said Jews brought suffering upon themselves for killing Jesus. The anonymous author of the piece claimed to be Jewish (although he urged all Jews to become Christians). The article has since been removed from the site but Talking Points Memo published excerpts, such as this one: "We, the Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we richly deserved all of the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years." The apology in the journal said that editors should have been more careful about monitoring what was being published. "[W]e apologize for publishing offensive content on our blog. While this does not excuse the post of responsibility, it was not the intent of the writer, nor the Ichthus, to present a piece that is anti-Semitic in nature or in interpretation. The writer holds nothing but love for his heritage and feels very deeply for the welfare of the Jewish people. The blog was not intended to communicate animosity, but concern and a sincere desire to communicate the necessity of salvation through Jesus Christ alone."

 

November 25, 2013

Syracuse University became the second American university, after Brandeis University, to sever its ties with Al-Quds University after a Nov. 5 protest on the Palestinian campus in which demonstrators used the traditional Nazi salute and honored "martyred" suicide bombers. Saying that the university "does not condone hatred or intolerance in any way," Syracuse announced that it would suspend the relationship between Al-Quds and its Institute for National Security and Terrorism. Meanwhile, Bard College said that it would continue its partnership with Al-Quds, which includes a joint master of arts in teaching program and a liberal arts college.

In a statement, Bard said that immediately following the protest, Al-Quds contacted the college “and provided an unequivocal denunciation of that protest, a clear condemnation that has since been repeated publicly, as recently as yesterday, by the university’s president, Sari Nusseibeh. Suggestions that the university administration condoned the actions of a very small group of students within a university of 12,000 are simply inaccurate.”

“The incident and the ensuing controversy demonstrate that it is more important than ever to maintain our educational partnership with Al Quds," the college said.

In severing ties with Al-Quds, Brandeis cited not only the Nov. 5 protest but also the administration’s “unacceptable and inflammatory” response to it. In a statement, Al-Quds espoused values of equality and mutual respect but also criticized “vilification campaigns by Jewish extremists” who “spare no effort to exploit some rare but nonetheless damaging events or scenes which occur on the campus of Al Quds University…. These occurrences allow some people to capitalize on events in ways that misrepresent the university as promoting inhumane, anti-Semitic, fascist, and Nazi ideologies. Without these ideologies, there would not have been the massacre of the Jewish people in Europe; without the massacre, there would not have been the enduring Palestinian catastrophe.”
 

November 22, 2013

Wellesley College’s Freedom Project plans to issue an invitation to Xia Yeliang to be a visiting fellow, Thomas Cushman, the director of the project and a professor of sociology, announced on Thursday. More than 130 Wellesley faculty members have signed an open letter in support of Xia, a professor of economics at Peking University who was dismissed in October in what’s been widely viewed as retribution for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government. (Peking University objects to this characterization, and has said that Xia’s contract was not renewed because his teaching and research records were sub-par.)

In a statement, Wellesley confirmed that though an invitation has not yet been extended, the college is moving forward with the possible appointment of Xia as a visiting fellow. "While the circumstances of Professor Xia's contract non-renewal with Peking University and his academic record may be in dispute, his credentials as an advocate of academic freedom and human rights are solid," the statement says. "It is Xia's experience as a practitioner of dissent that fits well with the work of the Freedom Project." (This article has been updated from an earlier version to include Wellesley's statement.)

Wellesley faculty voted earlier this month to proceed with the college's institutional partnership with Peking despite the academic freedom concerns raised by Xia’s termination. 

November 22, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Andrew Timming of the University of St Andrews discusses how visible tattoos can influence the outcome of a job interview. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

November 22, 2013

U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas this week introduced federal legislation that would require high-revenue sports programs to guarantee scholarship athletes the opportunity to finish their education on academic scholarships if they are cut from their team, provided they maintain their academic standing. Currently, athletic scholarships are renewable on an annual basis and can be revoked at the end of the season; for instance, if an athlete performs poorly, is injured or doesn’t vibe with a new coach. The Collegiate Student-Athlete Protection Act would also require colleges to teach athletes about concussions, life skills and finance strategies, and to cover insurance deductibles and health care premiums for low-income athletes.

November 22, 2013

The BACCHUS Network, a university collaboration that focuses on health and safety issues including alcohol and drug abuse and other high-risk behaviors, will merge on Jan. 1 with NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the organizations announced Thursday. "This merger between NASPA and BACCHUS significantly expands the range of resources available to student affairs professionals working in the health and wellness area," NASPA President Kevin Kruger said in a statement. "For 38 years, The BACCHUS Network has been providing networking, educational and programming opportunities to college peer health educators and their advisors on a national and regional level. We are thrilled to have all of this available to NASPA members.”

November 22, 2013

Policy leaders stressed Thursday that the best way to strengthen relations between the U.S. and China is one person at a time, starting with a concentrated effort to increase the number of American students studying in China.

At a conference sponsored by the 100,000 Strong Foundation, the financial executive Stephen Schwarzman described the Schwarzman Scholars program, a $300 million scholarship program that will support 200 students annually who enroll in a yearlong master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The first class of scholars will begin in 2016. Of the 200 students, 45 percent will come from the U.S., 20 percent will come from China and 35 percent will come from other countries, Schwarzman said Thursday.

Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, said the scholarship program aims to give students experience beyond the classroom. The scholars will meet with Chinese leaders, travel widely throughout China and be mentored by leaders in their field of study. Learning a language “gives you a window into the culture,” Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said, but cultural literacy is equally important to foster diplomacy. And the “seeds of friendship,” trust and mutual respect are most likely to come from young students, said Vice Premier of China Liu Yangdong. 

The conference was sponsored by the 100,000 Strong Foundation, which is housed at American University. The foundation grew out of a 2010 U.S. State Department initiative to increase the number of Americans studying in China to 100,000. In the 2011-12 academic year, 14,887 American students studied in China, a 2 percent increase from the 2010-11 academic year, according to recent data. China was the fifth most popular destination for American students. The number of Chinese students studying in America increased from 194,029 in 2011-12 to 235,597 in 2012-13.

November 22, 2013

Colorado State University will replace its women's water polo team with a women's soccer team, after the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights said the university failed to offer enough women's athletic scholarships, the Coloradoan reported. The CSU-OCR resolution agreement, stemming from a 2012 lawsuit, should result in the university offering six additional women's scholarships and bring Colorado State into compliance with federal gender-equity requirements enforced under Title IX by September 2016.

November 22, 2013

Princeton University has been facing an unusual outbreak of meningitis cases in recent months. In recent days, two other campuses have reported meningitis cases. Monmouth University, like Princeton in New Jersey, has reported that an employee is "gravely ill," The Star-Ledger reported. Across the country, three students at the University of California at Santa Barbara are suffering from meningitis, the Associated Press reported. More than 300 students who had contacts with those who are ill have been given antibiotics.

 

November 22, 2013

The College of Staten Island lacked institutional control over its athletics department, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Thursday, after the college's former men's swimming coach facilitated the visa process for five international prospects, signed housing leases and provided free living space for a handful of athletes, and lied to NCAA investigators while encouraging athletes to do the same. According to the public infractions report released by the Division III Committee on Infractions the coach, who the NCAA also cited with violation of ethical rules, also arranged for reduced-cost lifeguard certification classes for three athletes.

Under the NCAA's most serious charge, the college will face four years' probation, a two-year postseason ban for the men's swimming team, and a vacation of all individual records of the six athletes during the time they were receiving improper benefits and thus were ineligible for competition. The coach also faces a four-year show cause order (meaning his penalties will still stand at another institution), and was forced to vacate his conference Coach of the Year awards from 2007-11.

Pages

Back to Top