Manhattan College on Wednesday issued a statement denouncing a ruling Monday by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board that the institution was not religious enough to be exempt from federal laws on collective bargaining. The NLRB ruling -- which Manhattan's statement suggested will be appealed -- gives the go-ahead for adjuncts at Manhattan to unionize, finding that the college's relationship with its employees is essentially secular. Brennan O’Donnell, president of the Roman Catholic college, said in Manhattan's statement that “the analysis clearly and unfortunately demonstrates the NLRB’s lack of understanding of the identity of Manhattan College as a 21st-century Catholic college whose mission requires engagement with the broader culture of American society and higher education. Apparently the union and the government mistake our intellectual openness and welcoming spiritual environment, which we consider to be strengths of the Catholic intellectual tradition, as weaknesses. The ruling suggests that the Regional NLRB believes that the primary hallmarks of an authentic Catholic college or university are exclusionary hiring, a proselytizing atmosphere, and dogmatic inflexibility in the curriculum.” Union groups have praised the NLRB ruling.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In today’s Academic Minute, Elise Lemire of the State University of New York at Purchase College examines how freed slaves shaped a town at the center of the American Revolution and American literature. Find out more about The Academic Minute here. (To download this podcast directly, please click here.)
The Alliance Defense Fund on Tuesday charged Vanderbilt University Medical Center with violating a law that prevents federally funds from going to institutions that discriminate against applicants who do not want to assist in abortions. The dispute stems from Vanderbilt's Nurse Residency Program in the Women’s Health Track application (pdf), which says nurses “will be expected to care for women undergoing termination of pregnancy.” It continues: “If you feel you cannot provide care to women during this type of event, we encourage you to apply to a different track of the Nurse Residency Program to explore opportunities that may best fit your skills and career goals.”
In a statement released this morning, Vanderbilt University Medical Center North’s director of communications John Howser said that the allegations “have arisen due to a misunderstanding.” In a separate e-mail, he clarified the intention of the application: “The applicant must acknowledge … that he or she understands they may be asked to care for these patients at some point during their care. However, this DOES NOT mean the applicant will be required to participate in performing terminations as a requirement for training, but may be called upon to provide assistance at some point in the continuum of care.” Howser says that as of now, Vanderbilt University Medical Center cannot comment on whether it will change the language of the Nurse Residency application. Matt Bowman, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, responded, "Their description of the letter contradicts the letter itself. They're denying."
Yale failed to withhold taxes for the medical benefits for partners that its employees with same-sex partners receive from the university -- and as a result those employees are being hit with larger withholding totals now, The New York Times reported. The university said that 61 employees were affected.
Taiwan, which last year announced that its universities could admit students from China, has barred those students from certain academic programs, CNA reported. The Chinese students will be barred from police and military academies, and departments that engage in confidential research or surveys. The Chinese students will also be barred from research and educational programs involving the military or military-related technology.
A study being released today by the American Enterprise Institute found that, in a sample of parents asked to choose between two public colleges on the basis of their own knowledge and accurate information provided about graduation rates, the parents did care about graduation rates. Providing information about graduation rates increased by 15 percentage points the chance that the parents would prefer the institution with better rates, the study found. The significance of the finding, the report says, is that one way to help more Americans earn degrees is to encourage the enrollment of more students at institutions with better graduation rates than others.
Seton Hall University on Tuesday named A. Gabriel Esteban, provost and interim president, to the position of president. Seton Hall, a Roman Catholic University, originally tried to select a priest as its president, and re-opened its search last year to include lay candidates after pressure from faculty members who were not happy with the original finalists. Esteban, who is Catholic, told The Star-Ledger that he expected no change in the university's Catholic mission as a result of his appointment.
Board members at Montreal's Concordia University, after two weeks of silence, acknowledged Monday that they had forced out their second president in three years, saying that Judith Woodsworth did not fit with the university's ambitious plans, the National Post reported. Concordia announced in late December that Woodsworth was leaving for personal reasons, but were forced to concede -- after she went public with charges that she had been forced out -- that they had paid her $700,000 to leave. Woodsworth, president since 2008, replaced Claude Lajeunesse, who also had a run-in with the Board of Governors, the Post reported.