Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 24, 2009

Responding to claims that police used excessive force to quell campus protests Friday, the University of California at Berkeley will conduct an investigation of the events, university officials announced Monday. The probe will be conducted by the Campus Police Review Board, which includes representatives of students, faculty and staff. The campus police department has already begun conducting its own internal review of the events, including the use of force, officials said. The protest began after 40 people, mostly Berkeley students, occupied a campus building in response to budget cuts and a 32 percent tuition hike recently approved by California’s Board of Regents. The daylong protest in the building drew hundreds more outside, who had confrontations with law enforcement that were widely covered by national media and broadcast on YouTube. Authorities arrested 41 people in connection with the protests.

November 24, 2009

A foundation charged by federal authorities with illegally providing assistance to Iran has also been making grants for years to universities, The New York Times reported. The grants -- to support study and teaching on Persian language and culture -- went to Columbia, Harvard, Portland State and Rutgers Universities.

November 24, 2009

The U.S. Education Department is investigating allegations that Virginia Military Institute -- which admitted women more than a decade ago only after a prolonged legal fight -- is discriminating against women today, the Associated Press reported. The allegations -- denied by VMI -- involve the environment at the institute, tenure policies, and rules against marriage and child-bearing by cadets. VMI officials say that they have cooperated fully with the investigation.

November 24, 2009

Students at the University of North Texas have voted down -- 58 to 42 percent -- a proposal to allow same-sex couples to run for spots in the homecoming court, The Dallas Morning News reported. Many colleges have had men win election as homecoming queens, women as kings, and transgender students in positions as well. At North Texas, students seeking these honors must run with a partner on a ticket, and that raised the issue to some of whether same-sex couples would be permitted, which will now not be the case.

November 24, 2009

Five adjuncts at Massachusetts community colleges have sued the state, saying that they meet the requirements for receiving health insurance from their institutions but are being denied coverage unfairly, The Boston Globe reported. The adjuncts -- backed by the faculty union for the community colleges -- hope to change the system for determining which instructors qualify for health insurance. State officials declined to comment on the suit.

November 23, 2009

Ninety-one percent of faculty members at California State University Stanislaus voted no confidence last week in President Ham Shirvani, The Modesto Bee reported. Faculty leaders stressed that frustration with the president extends beyond the current budget problems in the state. They said that there have been problems with financial management and lack of communication that predate the current crisis. A university vice president said that the vote wasn't a surprise, given how painful budget cuts have been. In Ohio last week, faculty members at Owens Community College voted no confidence in Paul Unger, the provost, The Toledo Blade reported that faculty leaders blame Unger for the loss of accreditation for the college's nursing program. College officials have apologized for the loss of accreditation.

November 23, 2009

Faculty members at Oberlin College voted last week to create an online and free archive to which they will add all work they publish in peer reviewed journals. The move, similar to those taken by faculties at several research universities, reflects support for the open access movement in which the paid subscription model for journals is being challenged. Sebastiaan Faber, professor of Hispanic studies and chair of the General Faculty Library Committee said in a statement: “The current system of journal publishing, which largely relies on subscriptions and licenses, limits access to research information in significant ways, particularly for students and faculty at smaller and less wealthy institutions, as well as for the general public. Access is also seriously limited around the world in countries with fewer resources.”

November 23, 2009

The board of the Utah College of Applied Technology has agreed to reconsider its recent presidential hire, admitting that the process in which he was hired broke state rules, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The board will re-interview Richard Brems and also the other finalist and reconsider the hire. The original decision was improper because the full board did not interview finalists and information about the finalists was not released to the public.

November 23, 2009

Are LeTourneau University undergraduates being robbed of credit for a prosthetic knee they invented? The university thinks so, according to The News-Journal. Time recently praised Stanford University's prosthetic knee as one of the best inventions of the year, and that honor led LeTourneau officials to investigate and to challenge the idea that this was truly a Stanford invention. Stanford officials told the newspaper that its design was unique.

November 23, 2009

Andrew Kniceley has resigned as chair of the Board of Governors of Fairmont State University, following an incident in which he yelled at an assistant football coach when Kniceley's son saw action in only three plays in a football game, The Charleston Gazette reported.

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