Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

January 9, 2015

Dartmouth College has charged 64 students -- many of them athletes -- with cheating in a sports ethics course, the Valley News reported. According to the course's instructor, Randall Balmer, dozens of students frequently did not attend the class, and instead handed their clickers to other students who then used the devices to respond to questions during in-class assignments. The course was originally created, Balmer said, to help college athletes who struggled with Dartmouth coursework. The university declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm the number of students facing potential punishment, which could include "suspension or separation."

Though less common within the Ivy League, the incident is the latest in a string of academic scandals involving athletes at selective institutions. A report released in October detailed a decades-long pattern of academic fraud at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where 3,100 students enrolled and passed classes they never attended

January 9, 2015

A federal appeals court has decided it won't rehear a case on whether or not Georgia State University's e-reserves violate publishers' copyright, setting up the possibility for a Supreme Court showdown over fair use. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications, which sued the university in 2008, won a partial victory last October, but nevertheless asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to rehear the case, known as Cambridge v. Patton. The court denied the request on Jan. 2, meaning the publishers' next move may be an appeal to the Supreme Court.

January 9, 2015

A National Labor Relations Board ruling in December could make it easier for adjuncts at religious colleges and for faculty members generally at private colleges and universities to unionize. The ruling came in an adjunct unionization bid at Pacific Lutheran University, and the ruling permitted the votes there to be counted. The university announced Thursday that 30 adjuncts had voted for representation by the Service Employees International Union, and 54 had voted against. However, there are 38 challenged ballots. The university had been expected to go to court to appeal the NLRB ruling, but it is unclear if it would do so if it defeats the union bid.

The next edition of "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, will feature a discussion of the NLRB ruling. Sign up here to be notified of new "This Week" podcasts.

 

January 9, 2015

An adjunct professor of sociology at several New Jersey institutions denied allegations of racism this week, after a someone claiming to be a former student reported the instructor for sharing racially insensitive material on Facebook, according to the South Jersey Times. "I feel terrible," Nancy Reeves told the newspaper, saying she had only reposted some 20 images from the “Mexican Word of the Day” page because they were “plays on words.” The posts, some of which show an unattractive man in a sombrero, parody dictionary entries making fun of Mexican accents, such as: “Asbestos. I did jur [sic] lawn asbestos I could."

The Times reported that an anonymous person claiming to be a “humiliated and offended former student” of Reeves’s sent copies of the instructor’s posts to several media outlets and several colleges where she works, expressing concern that Reeves’s racial attitudes might affect her grading. Reeves said she was “blindsided” and that she wished that if “someone were that upset they would've come to me first.” She denied ever basing a grade on anything other than tests, papers, class discussion participation and attendance. A former student of Reeves’s interview by the Times who did not give his name said Reeves was not a racist.

Joe Cardona, a spokesman for Rowan University, where Reeves works, said administrators don't condone the posts' language and were looking into the student complaint. Dan Hanson, a Widener University spokesman, said the institution doesn't approve of "racism of any nature," and would take appropriate action after learning more about the case. Andrea Stanton, a spokeswoman for Rowan College at Gloucester County, said it had received an anonymous complaint and forwarded it to the office of equity and diversity for investigation. Reeves told the Times she’s already unfriended many friends on Facebook who were former students and said she would not friend students in the future. She could not immediately be reached for additional comment.

January 9, 2015

Elsevier is inviting the research community to help the publisher build an open-access journal covering all disciplines, scheduled to launch later this year. As part of the new journal, the publisher will also build "an online interface that provides authors with a step-by-step, quick and intuitive submission process," Sara Grimme, Elsevier's publishing and product director, wrote in a blog post. Claudia Lupp, whose resume includes stints with Nature and the open-access journal Nature Communications, will serve as editor-in-chief, the publisher said.

January 9, 2015

A University of Oregon student is suing the university and its men's basketball coach, alleging that they knowingly recruited a basketball player who had previously been accused of sexual assault and suspended from Providence College. That player, Brandon Austin, was one of three members of the Oregon basketball team who were accused of sexually assaulting the female student last year. All three were suspended for up to 10 years, or for as long as it takes for the female student to graduate. The three athletes were not charged, Oregon Live reports, though the district attorney acknowledged that the Eugene Police Department's investigation concluded that there was "no doubt the incidents occurred."

The suit also alleges that the University of Oregon scrubbed the players' transcripts of any references to sexual misconduct, making it easier for them to transfer to play elsewhere. Austin was able transfer again, this time to Northwest Florida State College, where he is now a member of the basketball team. Steve DeMeo, Northwest Florida State's head basketball coach, has acknowledged Austin's previous suspensions, saying at the time of the transfer that "the college has decided to give this young man an opportunity to continue his education."

January 9, 2015

An instructor at a Nova Scotia university resigned his position Thursday after admitting to having had a sexual relationship with a student he met during an online course, MetroNews reported. Michael Kydd, who teaches business part time at Mount Saint Vincent University, in Halifax, acknowledged at a news conference that the relationship -- which he described as consensual -- violated the university's code of conduct. He said he met the 38-year-old student while teaching a distance education course. Kydd said he was separated from his wife at the time, but called the relationship a "serious error in judgment."

January 9, 2015

North Dakota legislators introduced a bill Thursday that would let accused students be represented by a lawyer in campus judicial hearings, InForum reported. The legislation would grant students in disciplinary hearings that did not involve academic misconduct the right to pay for their own representative; student organizations would have a similar right. The legislators said they were motivated in part by a high-profile 2010 case in which a student was barred from campus for three years after being accused of sexual assault by a fellow student, who was later charged with falsifying a report to law enforcement, according to InForum. The penalties against the accused student were ultimately lifted.

January 9, 2015

A website formed to crowdfund payments to former college athletes has begun collecting live contributions, despite attempts from colleges and conferences to shut it down, CBS Sports reported. The website, FanPay, has received under $1,000 in anonymous donations so far, but its owner insists that it is compliance with National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, despite warnings from dozens of colleges this fall (in cease-and-desist letters) that the promised donations could render the athletes ineligible for further collegiate competition.

January 9, 2015

Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday announced a $118 million gift from an alumnus, Samuel Tak Lee, to create a real estate entrepreneurship lab that will promote social responsibility among entrepreneurs and academics in the real estate profession worldwide, with a focus on China. The gift will fund fellowships to attract students; will support research on sustainable real estate development and global urbanization; and will make the lab’s curriculum available online to learners worldwide via the MOOC provider MITx.

 

 

Pages

Back to Top