The University of Memphis has agreed to let a lesbian couple (one of whose members is a senior at the university) and their children get a family pass to use the recreation center, reversing an earlier denial of the pass, The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The two women were originally told that they needed some proof of their relationship so they registered as domestic partners in Eureka Springs, Ark., but the university said that didn't count -- and Tennessee law bars the recognition of same-sex couples. Amid criticism of the policy, the university has now agreed to provide the family passes to any family that can show it is living as a family unit, regardless of legal marriage status.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Stanley Ikenberry, who returned to his old job as president of the University of Illinois when when institution found itself between presidents due to a scandal over politically influenced admissions decisions, has called off a plan by the university to honor him with a $100,000 statute, the Chicago Tribune reported. Plans for the statue were set and an artist selected, but when the Tribune started looking into the statue, Ikenberry killed the project. The university is facing deep budget cuts and a spokesman said that Ikenberry "didn't want to generate any ill will toward the university or put the university in an embarrassing situation."
BP has announced three grants for a total of $25 million for research on ecological issues related to the environment disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:
- $5 million to Louisiana State University.
- $10 million to the Florida Institute of Oceanography, at the University of South Florida.
- $10 million to the Northern Gulf Institute, a consortium led by Mississippi State University.
The high degree of remedial work that students take in college is evidence of failure of the education system, and higher education leaders and policy makers must undertake a much more systematic effort to solve the problem, the Education Commission of the States argues in a new report. The paper, "Getting Past Go: Rebuilding the Remedial Education Bridge to College Success," helps begin a larger effort by the group to build a cohesive policy within and among states to build what are now often narrowly framed programs and innovations into wide-scale reforms. “We can no longer rely on incremental, institutionally based changes to remedial instruction, but instead must use policy to develop state and postsecondary system strategies that can be implemented, evaluated and continuously improved,” said Bruce Vandal, director of Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development at ECS.
Moshe Yanai, an Israeli billionaire, has donated more than $10 million to the Technion -- Israel Institute of Technology for awards to faculty members whom students consider to be nice, Israel National News reported. The awards will be given out for the next 20 years. Yanai released a statement on why he designated this use for the gift. "The Technion gave me an entry ticket to the world of computers and I owe it much of my success,” he said. “However, I remember the period of studies as difficult and demanding. I agree that the Technion must not compromise on anything less than excellence, but I am certain that much can be demanded of the student without this detracting from a pleasant study atmosphere."
The University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday released a report highly critical of its handling of a building takeover and related protests in November. The report finds that Berkeley officials were not prepared for the protests, that non-police leaders lacked key information they needed to make decisions, and that the administration did a poor job of communicating with students (especially those who were not involved in the building takeover). A statement from Robert J. Birgeneau, the chancellor, said: "We believe that the report’s finding should be sobering for us all; this was a difficult day for the entire community and there is no cause for anyone to find reasons for pride or pleasure in this document’s contents and conclusion. It portrays a situation of some confusion on the part of all parties: protesters, administration, and police and criticizes the administration and the police for not having foreseen and planned better, and for errors of implementation and failures of effective communication."
A University of California committee has found that the university system loses as much as $300 million a year by not being as assertive as other universities in recovering the indirect costs associated with research grants, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. University officials are pledging to go after that money, saying that doing so will free up funds for other purposes.
The Pac-10 Conference is about to have 12 members. It has invited the University of Utah to join, following an invitation this month of the University of Colorado at Boulder. With 12 teams, the conference could have a football championship game. By abandoning the Mountain West Conference, Utah will gain membership in a Bowl Championship Series conference, and will receive a much larger television payout.
Birmingham-Southern College may have to cut up to 20 percent of its budget because it recently discovered several years in which it awarded millions in financial aid beyond the institution's formulas, The Birmingham News reported. The article said that the formula called for the college to provide only the aid needed beyond federal Pell Grants, but that the aid office had been adding Pell Grants to students' need rather than subtracting it. Some high ranking officials have resigned as a result, the newspaper said.
Eastern Michigan University adjunct lecturers have voted overwhelmingly to unionize and to affiliate with the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. The union estimates that the 560 adjunct lecturers at the university teach over a third of all first-year classes at the university. Non-tenure-track faculty members have unionized in recent years at a number of Michigan public universities and drives are under way at Central Michigan and Ferris State Universities.