Nike announced Monday that together with its subsidiaries, it would provide $1.5 million and vocational training for workers who lost jobs at company suppliers in Honduras. The University of Wisconsin at Madison and Cornell University have moved to end lucrative relationships with Nike over the issue of the company's treatment of these workers. Nike has until now largely argued that it couldn't be held responsible for the actions of some of its subcontractors. A statement from Madison said that its "decision to end its licensing agreement with Nike over the treatment of Honduran factory workers has had a major, positive impact." A spokesman said that it was now possible the university could again negotiate contracts with Nike.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Trustees of the Connecticut State University System on Monday backed down on the size of raises for top administrators, bowing to pressure from Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who not only criticized the raises of 8-10 percent, but called for a change in system governance, The Hartford Courant reported. Until Monday, trustees said that the large raises -- now largely cut in half -- were needed to be competitive for top talent.
Rutgers University has declined a request from Gov. Chris Christie that the institution start growing medical marijuana under the provisions of a new state law, NewJersey.com reported. The law allows for the designation of several nonprofit groups to grow the pot, but the governor had hoped to centralize the operation at Rutgers. University officials said that they feared the impact of growing marijuana -- even at the request of the state -- on the institution's ability to obtain federal research grants.
The University of Texas at Austin last week unveiled a new bottled water - H2Orange -- in bottles shaped like the university's main tower -- as a way to raise money for scholarships. But on Friday, protesters held a rally to criticize the use of plastic instead of refillable aluminum bottles, News 8 reported. University officials said that the plastic being used can be recycled and that there are plans for reusable bottles in the future.
Centenary College, in New Jersey, is closing business programs it operates in Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan after finding rampant cheating among students there, The Star-Ledger reported. The college is also withholding degrees from 400 students at the programs -- giving them the choice of taking an exam to qualify for their degrees or receiving tuition refunds.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Friday called for the elimination of the central office of the Connecticut State University system. Governor Rell's statement followed earlier suggestions she made -- thus far rejected by the system's board -- to rescind raises of more than 8 percent for the system chancellor and presidents. University officials have defended the raises as "equity" measures needed to keep the system competitive. The governor's statement said: "Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why, in these difficult times, the trustees would approve salary increases of as much as 8 percent, 10 percent or 10.27 percent for people who are paid between $285,000 and $360,000 a year."
Trinity College, in Connecticut, is celebrating a significant increase in its alumni giving rate, encouraged by an anonymous donor. The Hartford Courant reported that the donor offered $5 million a year ago -- but only if the giving rate among living alumni hit at least 55 percent. The rate was 47 percent in 2008-9. Following a year of intense organizing, Trinity's rate is now just over 55 percent.
The University of Provence Aix-Marseille has called off a conference on Mediterranean literature after some participants said that they wouldn't interact with an Israeli author scheduled to appear, Haaretz and the Associated Press reported. The university's president, Jean-Paul Caverni, said that the institution would not "hold a conference with those who excluded dialogue."
British officials have decided to let BPP, a for-profit institution affiliated with the Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, call itself a "university college," a closely controlled and significant term in Britain, Financial Times reported. The new status will also see the British branch, which has focused on business programs, move into many other academic areas. David Willetts, universities and science minister, said that "what matters is the quality of the teaching experience, not the exact legal status of the institution."
The San Jose/Evergreen Community College District has agreed to pay $100,000 to June Sheldon, who lost her job as an adjunct biology instructor after students complained about her answer to a question about homosexuality and genetics. Some students accused her of making anti-gay statements, while she said she had provided factual answers that were not accurately described. Under the settlement, the district maintains it did nothing wrong, but it also will remove references to Sheldon having been dismissed from her file.