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Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

The student government of the Durban University of Technology, in South Africa, has called on the institution to expel Jewish students, although some quotes from student leaders suggest that Jewish students who support the Palestinian cause could remain, The Daily News reported. Mqondisi Duma, secretary of the student government, said, "We had a meeting and analyzed international politics. We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.” A statement from Ahmed C. Bawa, vice chancellor of the university, denounced the student government's request. He called the request "outrageous, preposterous and a deep violation of our National Constitution and every human rights principle."


Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

About a third (32 percent) of women professors, administrators and other staff say they lack confidence when it comes to financial planning for retirement, compared to 19 percent of men working in higher education, says a new report from Fidelity Investments. According to a survey of some 700 professionals, about half of whom were professors, more women than men attribute that confidence gap to lack of time for financial planning (45 vs. 33 percent, respectively). Thirty-nine percent of women say they haven't done research about their retirement options, and 34 percent say they don't have enough experience in planning for retirement to feel confident. One-third say they don't know who to talk to in order to get the best advice. 

At the same time, women overwhelmingly (94 percent) want to learn more about financial planning. Sixty-three percent prefer to do so by meeting with a financial professional and 44 percent prefer to research planning options online. More than half of women surveyed -- 56 percent -- don't take advantage of employer-provided guidance, but 86 percent of those women who haven't taken advantage of campus resources said they would do so if: their institutions offered classes during work hours or on-site experts to walk through retirement plan options (31 percent); they were entering a "new life stage" (29 percent); or there was more "awareness" of the type of guidance that was being offered (27 percent).

Alexandra Taussig, a senior vice president at Fidelity, said in a statement that she was encouraged that a majority of women academics are eager to learn more about their retirement options. To build on that momentum, she said, "Women should make sure they are fully involved in their finances and take advantage of their workplace guidance, which most higher education employers provide."

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

Fritz Erickson's investiture as president of Northern Michigan University featured such traditional moments as an inaugural speech and the board chair presenting the chain of the office. But the ceremony started with a video showing a more innovative way to arrive on the scene.



Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

Eastern Kentucky University had heightened security on campus Wednesday and allowed faculty members to call off or reschedule classes due to a threat. The threat took the form of graffiti on a bathroom stall door last week that said, “Bringing gun to here 2-11-15 Dead Students." Despite fears, campus activities took place as scheduled, and without incident.


Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

New rules that make it more difficult for international students to gain permanent residency in Canada are raising concerns about a potentially dampening effect on recruitment, The Globe and Mail reported. Rules that came into effect in January no longer give international student applicants with Canadian work experience a leg up in the application process and instead lump them in with other skilled workers seeking permanent residency status.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

Middle East studies scholars are protesting the decision of the Bahraini government to revoke the citizenship of 72 individuals, including that of Masaud Jahromi, a professor of telecommunications engineering at Ahlia University.  

A letter from the Middle East Studies Association’s Committee on Academic Freedom describes the decision to revoke the Bahrain-born Jahromi’s citizenship as “arbitrary and thus a violation of customary international law.”

“We strongly suspect, in fact, that the revocation of Dr. Jahromi’s citizenship is political in nature, related to his past advocacy for greater democracy and respect for civil rights in your country,” continues the letter, which notes that Jahromi was arrested and detained for multiple months in 2011, the year of the Arab Spring. Amnesty International has also expressed concern about the Bahraini government’s decision to denaturalize citizens without affording them due process, as has the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The government has said that the 72 individuals are being punished for various “illegal acts,” which range from espionage and terrorism-related charges to allegations of “defaming the image of the regime” and "defaming brotherly countries." The government's statement does not specify which individuals allegedly committed which acts. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, a pharmacologist at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses research on Parkinson's disease. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 3:00am

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week released results from a survey it commissioned of faculty attitudes, with a particular focus on courseware that can "personalize" learning. FTI Consulting conducted the survey, receiving roughly 4,000 responses.

Daniel Greenstein, the foundation's director of postsecondary success, summarized the findings in a written statement. He said the survey found that a significant number of faculty members are "open to using courseware and other innovations to improve their students' success." The report also described specific obstacles faculty face in "evolving their practice," he said, and detailed what colleges can do to reduce or eliminate those obstacles.

“It’s vital to better understand the views of faculty and what supports they say they need to continue to advance student outcomes,” Greenstein said of the survey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 3:33am

Three people, including students at University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University, were shot and killed near UNC's Chapel Hill campus Tuesday. The university sent out a number of safety alerts throughout the evening, though police and UNC offered little detail into the nature of the shootings. "We are sensitive to the impact an incident of this nature has on campus and in the community," the university stated. "We understand you want to know the facts as quickly as possible. At the same time, we must respect the job our Chapel Hill police have as they investigate this crime."

Police released the names of the victims early Wednesday, and charged 46-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks with first degree murder. The victims were identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, a UNC dentistry student; Yusor Mohammad, Barakat's wife and a prospective UNC student; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, a student at NC State. All three victims are believed to have been Muslim, fueling speculation that the students may have been targeted for their religion and prompting a number of Twitter users, frustrated at what they believe to be a lack of media coverage, to begin tweeting out the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter. Hicks identifies as an atheist, and is vocally anti-religion.

In a statement Wednesday, police said they believe "the crime was motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking," but that they are investigating whether religion played a role in the killing. “We understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case," Chris Blue, chief of the Chapel Hill Police Department, said. "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these young people who lost their lives so needlessly."

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 3:00am

The College of Charleston was partially evacuated Tuesday following a bomb threat that turned out to unfounded.

A caller reported two bombs on campus, one in a residence hall and one in the student center, according to local media. Students were evacuated from those buildings and classes held in the surrounding area were canceled for the afternoon. 

Police announced about 4:30 p.m. that the campus had been cleared and no bombs were found. But that followed a lot of confusion earlier in the day. The college sent out an alert that a bomb had been found, then sent an alert a few minutes later saying that police were still searching the campus. The college said the false alert was caused by a college dispatcher who misunderstood the police department's codes.

Students and faculty on social media also were upset by the college’s communication of the bomb threat, criticizing the college’s emergency protocol and delayed decision to cancel classes. One student posted: “Has anyone figured out how to stay sheltered and go to class at the same time? I’m dying to know.” Here’s a collection of reactions posted to social media and compiled by The Post and Courier


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