Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 3:00am

The former Rutgers University professor of philosophy found guilty last month of sexually assaulting a disabled man is seeking to throw out her conviction, the Associated Press reported. Anna Stubblefield filed a motion seeking either an acquittal or a new trial based the notion that there was insufficient evidence to prove she knew that her victim could not offer consent. The victim, known as DJ, is a 34-year-old man with cerebral palsy. His family and state evaluators say he has the intellectual capacity of a young child, but Stubblefield said the two fell in love as they worked together using a controversial method called facilitated communication. That collaboration resulted in the 2011 publication of a peer-reviewed article in Disability Studies Quarterly, with DJ listed as the primary author. The issue also features a pro-facilitated communication paper by Stubblefield. The journal recently announced that it’s paying “significant attention” to concerns raised by recent debate over the issue, but did not specify which articles are under review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Monday fired its athletics director, Mike Thomas, The Chicago Tribune reported. The Illinois athletics program has faced months of controversy over allegations that the former football coach mistreated some players. Thomas was not linked to the mistreatment, but he led the department at the time. “It’s time to put the distractions of these past months behind us and to put the focus back on the success of our athletics programs,” said Barbara Wilson, interim chancellor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Come on, put that work aside and have a little fun: play our Cartoon Caption Contest.

Click here to propose a brilliant caption for our current caption-less cartoon for November.

Or vote here for your favorite among the three nominated captions chosen by our panel of judges from last month's submissions.

And our Cartoon Caption Contest has its first undergraduate winner. Matt Reeps, a student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, came up with the winning caption for our September cartoon, at right: "Several months after implementation, the administration saw the new 'civility' policy as a great success." He will receive an Amazon gift certificate and a copy of the cartoon signed by Matthew Henry Hall. Congratulations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 3:00am

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is suspending certain rules to allow Nepali students who are experiencing economic hardship due to the April 25 earthquake to request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the academic year and reduce their course load while maintaining their status on the F-1 student visa. The notice of the changes was published Monday in the Federal Register.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 3:00am

Today on the Academic Minute, Miriam Solomon, professor of philosophy at Temple University, tells us how precision medicine may change the way certain diseases are treated. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 3:32am

UPDATE: The chancellor of the University of Missouri's flagship campus at Columbia will resign, the University of Missouri System's Board of Curators announced hours after the system's president amid intense student and other protests over racial tensions.

The governing board said that Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin would leave his position running the flagship and become the system's director for research facility development. Although most of the attention and criticism from minority students in recent weeks had focused on President Tim Wolfe, who resigned earlier Monday (see below), some faculty and staff members called for Loftin's resignation Monday.

The board's chairman, Donald Cupps, issued a forthright apology for the university's perceived inattention to the concerns expressed by students and others about the racism they perceive at the institution.

“To those who have suffered, I apologize on behalf of the university for being slow to respond to experiences that are unacceptable and offensive in our campus communities and in our society,” Cupps said in announcing the resignations. “Significant changes are required to move us forward. The board is committed to making those changes.”

Inside Higher Ed will have more on this situation tomorrow morning.


University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned Monday morning in response to ongoing racial tensions at the flagship campus, which is located in Columbia.

Students began calling for his resignation last week, culminating in black players on the football team promising to boycott games until Wolfe left campus. A graduate student also staged a hunger strike, saying it would last until Wolfe's resignation. The student, Jonathan Butler, announced shortly after Wolfe's resignation that he was ending his strike. And on Monday many faculty were encouraging students to walk out of their classes in protest of Wolfe's presidency. The Missouri Student Association formally called for his resignation on Monday.

Wolfe's detractors say he has not done enough to deal with racist incidents on campus.

“The frustration and anger that I see is clear, real, and I don't doubt it for a second,” Wolfe said at a press conference announcing his resignation. “I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred.”

Black students at the university have reported being on the receiving end of racial slurs. Many said that not enough was being done to recruit and retain black students. Students are also angry with Wolfe because when minority students approached his car during a homecoming parade, he declined to talk to them. Some say the car struck them. Wolfe has since apologized for the incident.

“Use my resignation to heal and start talking again,” Wolfe said during a brief address where he choked up several times. “Let’s move forward for a bright tomorrow.”

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 3:00am

The University of Colorado School of Medicine announced Friday that it is returning a $1 million grant from the Coca-Cola Corporation. The decision follows an August article by The New York Times that reported on Coke support for research suggesting that exercise, not diet, was the key to reducing obesity. Many scientific experts said that while exercise matters, Coke was trying to distort public discussions that might discourage consumption of many of its products.

Colorado's statement denied that research there has been compromised by the Coke money. "While the network [supported by the grant] continues to advocate for good health through a balance of healthy eating habits and exercise, the funding source has distracted attention from its worthwhile goal," the statement said.

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 4:15am

An article in The Wall Street Journal explores higher education as a lobbying force and find colleges have large and effective representation in Washington. Based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the article finds that higher education had 1,020 lobbyists in 2014, third among industries (after pharmaceuticals and electronics). In terms of effectiveness, the article notes the extent to which the Obama administration pulled back on its initial plans for rating colleges.

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 4:24am

Many faculty members questioned the decision of the board of the College of Charleston last year to appoint Glenn McConnell as president. Now faculty leaders are questioning McConnell's selection as provost, Brian McGee, The Post and Courier reported. Faculty leaders said they repeatedly asked for a chance for input into the provost choice, and were delayed and largely ignored. McGee has been serving as provost and was previously chair of communications. Professors question his role in two controversial tenure cases -- a subject he declined to discuss. McConnell defended the selection, praising McGee for his performance while serving as interim provost.

Monday, November 9, 2015 - 4:20am

Students and others are protesting the ouster of Dena Seidel as director of the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking, New Brunswick Today reported. Seidel is credited with building up the program but then being told to take a demotion or leave. She received a negative review, but her supporters said the wrong faculty group was selected to review her. A petition is circulating calling for a new review of why Seidel was forced out.


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