Higher Education Quick Takes
A Michigan State University panel has found that Sharif Shakrani, a professor there, plagiarized in a 2010 analysis he wrote of school-consolidation plans in the state, The Grand Rapids Press reported. The panel also found three other instances of plagiarism by Shakrani, who declined to comment on the findings. His analysis has been heatedly debated in the state by people with various positions on school consolidation. A decision on any punishment of the professor is pending.
A University of Notre Dame investigation into the October death of a student worker during a football practice found the incident to be a "collective responsibility" for which no individual can be blamed, according to a report on the inquiry. Declan Sullivan died when the hydraulic lift from which he was videotaping the football team fell over in high winds, but the investigation concluded that no one can be blamed in the incident. "We did not find any individual who disregarded safety or was indifferent to safety. Consequently, there was not any individual discipline," Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, said. "Our conclusion is that it's a collective responsibility that must be deal with collectively as we move forward."
Three academics were on Monday named winners of Pulitzer Prizes in arts and letters. Kay Ryan, who teaches at the College of Marin, won the poetry prize for The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press). In a 2009 interview with Inside Higher Ed, Ryan discussed her work and her efforts on behalf of community colleges. Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, won the history prize for The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (W.W. Norton & Company). Siddhartha Mukherjee, an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University, won the general nonfiction prize for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner).
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona on Monday vetoed legislation that would have allowed individuals to carry guns on public routes through college and university campuses, The Arizona Daily Sun reported. The measure, which Brewer said she vetoed because it was "poorly written," was strongly opposed by most college officials in the state. It is one of several measures under consideration in various states around the country.
Representative Denny Rehberg, a Montana Republican who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over education programs, is clarifying his remarks comparing Pell Grants to welfare. In a radio interview this month, he made the comparison, prompting criticism in Montana, and this Facebook group. Rehberg, who is running for the Senate, still is making the comparison, but said he isn't necessarily comparing those who receive Pell Grants and welfare, but the programs themselves, The Huffington Post reported. In a new radio interview, he said that "the difficulty is, Pell Grants are an attempt to do the right thing, and that is to give the low-income student an opportunity to access higher education, and that's a good thing. And welfare was an attempt to help those most in need. The difficulty is, often times a program is so successful that it grows and grows and grows and grows."
Eighteen percent of freshmen admitted to the University of California system for the 2011-12 academic year are from outside the state, up from 14 percent this year, according to the annual report on admissions released by the university on Monday.
The University of San Francisco has announced an agreement to continue sponsorship of Upward Bound, a program that helps prepare low-income students for college. The university has sponsored the program for more than 40 years, but recently said it would evict the program because of space needs, setting off protests from some on and some off the campus. Under a new arrangement, faculty members at the university will play more of a role in the program, the university will provide classroom space, and some administrative functions will be moved off campus. But the university has pledged to continue sponsorship of the program.
Students at St. John's University in New York are protesting its refusal to recognize a gay-straight alliance, The New York Daily News reported. University officials said that they cannot recognize any group inconsistent with the Roman Catholic teachings of the institution. But students note that the university enrolls gay students, professes a strong commitment to diversity and recognizes Jewish and Muslim student groups, among many others.