Higher Education Quick Takes
More than two years after the National Institutes of Health said it would sharply reduce the role of chimpanzees in its research efforts, the biomedical research agency went further Wednesday, announcing that it would close its remaining colony of 50 chimps and end federal research involving the primates. The statement from Director Francis S. Collins said that studies involving other nonhuman primates would continue to be "valued, supported and conducted by the NIH."
Professors trade stories about students who invent ailments as excuses not to complete course requirements. A photo going viral Wednesday shows a student meeting a deadline for taking an online test -- even while experiencing real pain. Tommitrise Collins finished an exam for her psychology course at Middle Georgia State University while in labor at the hospital and shortly before having a healthy baby girl. Shanell Brinkley-Chapman, her sister, took the photo and posted it to Facebook, writing: "This is what you call strong priorities. Contractions three minutes apart and still takes her psychology test! You are going to be a great mom, baby sis!"
The White House and the U.S. Department of State are hosting college administrators and student leaders today for a meeting on climate change, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The goal of the meeting is to call for action on climate change, including for a strong agreement at a meeting the United Nations is hosting in Paris in a couple weeks.
"Participating colleges and universities will have already signed a White House Act on Climate Pledge (working title) demonstrating their commitment to carrying out their own sustainability goals and supporting strong action on climate change by world leaders," the association said.
Matthieu Giroud (right), a geographer who was associate professor at Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, was among those killed in Friday night's terrorist attacks in Paris. His research focused on the social effects of gentrification. More details on his life and career may be found here.
Washington College has remained closed this week while state and federal law enforcement agencies search for a missing student who may be armed. Authorities have filed an arrest warrant for the student, Jacob Marberger, on four weapons-related charges, The Washington Post reported. Marberger, a former student government leader, was suspended for allegedly displaying a firearm on the Maryland campus last month.
The college canceled classes on Monday and asked students and staff to seek shelter.
"There has been no evidence of a direct threat against individuals or the campus community as a whole, but the college and law enforcement ask everyone to be cautious and vigilant," the college said on its website.
Campus officials had announced that the campus would open Tuesday. But they reversed course on Tuesday morning, after receiving new information from law enforcement. On Tuesday afternoon the college announced it would remain closed on Wednesday. A small number of students remained on campus, the college said.
Yale President Peter Salovey announced Tuesday that the university will undertake a series of new efforts to promote an inclusive environment on campus. Among the steps he outlined: adding faculty positions on underrepresented groups and doubling the budgets for campus cultural centers that focus on various groups. He also pledged that he, "along with the vice presidents, deans, provosts and other members of the administration, will receive training on recognizing and combating racism and other forms of discrimination in the academy."
Guilford College professors have been promoting an Every Campus a Refuge program in which campuses such as Guilford will help refugees as they relocate to the United States. But North Carolina Representative John Blust, a Republican, is calling on the college to abandon the program. "My position is there's just too much risk to the safety of the community. The chance of a horrific incident happening will be greatly enhanced if we allow people to come from Syria and relocate here in this community -- let alone North Carolina," Blust told Fox 8 News. Guilford is standing by the program.
The University of Montana on Tuesday announced plans to cut 201 full-time positions -- 52 of them faculty slots -- to deal with enrollment declines, NBC News Montana reported. Some positions may be currently vacant. Many professors say the cuts appear likely to disproportionately impact liberal arts programs, although other programs face cuts, too. Among the liberal arts departments slated for cuts: anthropology, English, geography, liberal studies, art and political science, as well as graduate programs in foreign languages.
The University of Louisville has suspended Deborah Dietzler as director of alumni affairs after allegations surfaced that, in a similar position at the University of Georgia, she used taxpayer funds to pay for trips to run marathons, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported. An audit at Georgia found that Dietzler, after signing up to run marathons in several cities, had her staff set up meetings in those cities so she could bill the university for her travel. Dietzler's lawyer said that she “strongly denies any suggestion or claim that she intentionally violated any rule or policy at” Georgia.