Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Students gathered at the University of Missouri at Columbia Monday night to discuss the ramifications of an incident in which cotton balls were scattered in front of the university's Black Culture Center, The Columbia Missourian reported. The cotton balls were seen by many as a reference to slavery and as "symbolic violence," according to participants at the meeting. Students at the meeting criticized the university for not doing enough to advance diversity. Some suggested that the Black Culture Center should be a stop on campus tours. Others suggested a diversity course requirement. And some criticized the university for not speaking out quickly enough or forcefully enough about last week's incident. A statement from Brady Deaton, the chancellor, called the scattering of cotton balls in front of the center a "disheartening and inexcusable act" and "despicable" and he pledged that university police were working to identify those responsible.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The State University of New York at Binghamton, still dealing with fallout from a basketball scandal, announced Monday night that its team will not participate in the America East tournament this year, The Press & Sun-Bulletin reported. A statement from Lois DeFleur, president, cited "controversy currently surrounding the program" and "possible distractions."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

The National Institutes of Health on Monday appointed a senior official at the Association of American Universities to head its legislative affairs office. Pat White, who as vice president for federal relations at the research university group has been a well-respected analyst of biomedical research and science funding, will become the biomedical research agency's associate director for legislative policy and analysis, where he will lead the office that tracks and analyzes legislation related to the agency's work.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

Weeks after his unsportsmanlike outburst brought scorn upon his team, Baset Chaudry, the senior captain of Trinity College’s men’s squash team, will not play in this weekend’s national singles championship. Chaudry, who shoved a Yale University freshman following the deciding match in last month’s team championship game, voluntarily withdrew from the upcoming tournament amid immense pressure to do so. He is the defending singles champion. Kenneth Chan, the Yale freshman who egged on Chaudry during their match, also has withdrawn from the tournament. A statement from the College Squash Association, the sport’s governing body, called the move “an appropriate action and an acknowledgment that sportsmanship is at the foundation of the sport of squash.” Acknowledging the barrage of bad press the sport has garnered since video of Chaudry and Chan’s on-court conflict spread on the Internet, the statement added, “one match should not cloud the 2009/10 season.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

A survey of 200 Stanford University undergraduates found that almost one-third worry about becoming addicted to their iPhones and fear becoming "one of those iPhone people," The San Jose Mercury News reported. Twenty-five percent said that their iPhones "seemed like an extension of their brain or their being," the newspaper said.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:00am

An anonymous student -- identified only as a minority woman -- has admitted to accidentally leaving a noose in a library at the University of California at San Diego last week, an incident that inflamed already tense race relations and set off new protests at the institution, the Los Angeles Times reported. The student said that the noose was "a stupid mistake" and not intended as a racial comment. The student wrote an apology that ran in the campus newspaper, whose editor said that a "reliable" source had confirmed the letter's authenticity. According to the student, she and some friends had been playing with some rope, making a lasso and a noose, and she took the rope to the library, left it above a desk and forgot it was there. "As a minority student who sympathizes with the students that have been affected by the recent issues on campus, I am distraught to know that I have unintentionally added to their pain," the student wrote.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The Medical College of Wisconsin has announced that it is ending the use of live pigs in laboratories in which first-year students are taught about the cardiovascular system, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The college has been criticized for the use of the live animals in the lab program. Officials of the medical school said that the change was part of broader shifts in the curriculum and was not a result of the criticism.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The American Political Science Association announced Friday that it will move its summer workshop for African scholars from Uganda to a yet-to-be-determined location elsewhere in Africa. The association planned the meeting well before the current debate there about legislation that would impose severe penalties -- including execution in some cases -- for gay acts. A statement issued by the association noted that "legal hostility" toward gay people is a problem in almost all African nations. But Uganda poses "unique" problems, the association said, in part because of the breadth of the proposed legislation, which covers some thought as well as behavior, the statement said. The association has been studying the issue and hoping that the legislation would be withdrawn or defeated, but at this point, plans need to be made, so the APSA decided to move the meeting. "We cannot commit today to send staff and scholars to work in Uganda safely on topics that include the study of sexual identity in politics, and we of course must not remove these topics from our agenda for the workshops," the statement said.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 3:00am

The American Psychological Association announced last week that it has toughened its ethics code to remove a loophole some feared could be used by psychologists to justify assisting the government in torture or other violations of human rights. Language in previous versions of the ethics code suggested that in some situations, it was appropriate for psychologists to rely on U.S. law in determining acceptable practice. Because the Bush administration issued various "findings" that attempted to justify torture or other actions in some circumstances, critics of the APA policy said that this created a loophole. As a result, the APA removed that language and amended its ethics code to state that violations of human rights are justified "under no circumstances." The issue is a sensitive one for the association because some of its members have complained that the association was not rigorous enough in banning activities undertaken by some social scientists on behalf of the Bush administration.

Monday, March 1, 2010 - 3:00am

Major protests over state budget cuts are planned throughout California this week, and tensions are rising over not only the fiscal situation, but other issues. On Friday, the University of California at San Diego saw another racial incident when a noose was found in the library, setting off a new round of rallies. Students were already angry over a party mocking black students and a television show that defended the party. On Saturday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger condemned “intolerable acts of racism and incivility” at the university. Late Thursday night, a protest at the University of California at Berkeley included the trashing of some campus buildings and some smashed windows of nearby businesses, The Oakland Tribune reported.

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