Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 3:00am

A recent Brown University graduate has sued a man she accused of rape in 2006, saying he is violating an agreement not to discuss the case, the Associated Press reported. The two reached an agreement under which he would leave Brown -- where he was then a student -- and not discuss the case. But he has done so by suing the woman, her father and the university, charging that he was unfairly pressured to leave over an untrue allegation, and that Brown's response was influenced by the fact that the woman's father is a donor.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 3:00am

Auburn University is planning to start a campus in China, in a partnership with Shanghai University, The Birmingham News reported. While plans are not final and still need further approvals, the idea is to offer engineering degrees from both universities.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Texas at Austin announced late Monday that it would pass up a lucrative invitation to join the Pacific-10 Conference and remain in the Big 12 Conference. The decision, which surprised many commentators who had predicted just hours earlier that Texas' move to the Pac-10 was "imminent," reportedly came after the Big 12's commissioner, Dan Beebe, made a last-ditch proposal that would more than double the revenues that each member of the league derives annually and let individual members (notably Texas) create their own independent television networks for their teams. (As has been the case throughout the latest round of conference shenanigans, Orangebloods.com, an online publication that covers the University of Texas' sports programs, had the most detailed and accurate information about the goings-on.) The Big 12 had been all but left for dead after the University of Nebraska left for the Big Ten Conference and the University of Colorado at Boulder bolted for the Pac-10. But the additional money that Beebe's plan would carve out for the colleges -- perhaps more than the intense pressure placed on them by lawmakers in Texas and Kansas university leaders who would have been left behind in a severely weakened Big 12 -- appears to have helped persuade UT to stay in the Big 12 and keep the Midwestern league alive.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Catholic University of America has selected John Garvey, the dean of Boston College's law school, as its next president, choosing him over the other finalist, H. James Towey, the controversial president of Pennsylvania's Saint Vincent College. The selection of Garvey, which was reported by The Washington Post and confirmed early Tuesday by a university spokesman, would make him the third lay president at Catholic, with the last serving from 1978 to 1982. Garvey taught law at the Universities of Kentucky, Michigan and Notre Dame before going to Boston College, where he has been a popular and well-respected dean. Sources confirmed that Towey -- who headed President George W. Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and has had a rocky tenure, marked by significant conflict with the faculty, at Saint Vincent -- was the other finalist.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Waterloo said Monday that it would suspend its football team from competition in the 2010-11 academic year because of rampant steroid use by team members. The university's statement said that it had ordered teamwide drug testing after reports that police were investigating a player for trafficking in steroids. Canwest News Service reported that as many as nine players tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs. An official of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the country's college sports governing body, called the situation "the most significant doping issue" in its history.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Education has written a letter notifying colleges that the copyright provisions attached last fall to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 will take effect in July. The provisions, meant to help curb illegal sharing of copyrighted material such as music files on campus networks, require institutions to educate their students on what constitutes illegal sharing; deter them from engaging in such sharing; and develop plans to “offer alternatives to illegal downloading.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 3:00am

Oxford University Press has issued a revised press release about the results of one of its programs involving open access publishing. The earlier release suggested a broad scholarly hesitancy to use open access and the revised announcement shows that the data were from one program. Supporters of open access were frustrated by the initial release (and angry at Inside Higher Ed for summarizing it, as comments here show). The revised release may be found here.

Monday, June 14, 2010 - 3:00am

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which consists of 14 state universities, may convert some degrees to shared programs offered by faculty members at multiple campuses, rather than trying to provide full degrees at individual campuses, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The fields being considered are French, German, Spanish and physics.

Monday, June 14, 2010 - 3:00am

A student organization is urging Stanford University to use its power as a stockholder to back proxy votes that would require companies to investigate the sources of the minerals they use, The New York Times reported. The student group opposes the use of "conflict minerals," which are harvested in some countries when armed groups force villagers into mining them. If Stanford adopts standards on such proxy votes, it would be the first American university to take such a stance.

Monday, June 14, 2010 - 3:00am

Legal threats and negotiations delayed for three years the publication of an article -- that finally appeared last week -- by the American Psychological Association, The New York Times reported. The article in question offers a critique of the rating scaled used by courts to determine if someone is a psychopath, and the Times reviews the various articles about whether the article or its treatment raise questions about fairness, accuracy and academic freedom.

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