Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 9, 2015

A booking agency that represents musician Jack White has reportedly blacklisted the University of Oklahoma after the student paper printed excerpts of White's contract ahead of a concert there last week. The Oklahoma Daily wrote two articles after obtaining the contract through the state's open records law. One article highlighted White's $80,000 fee while another, snarkier article detailed his tour rider, a document that included stipulations for a steak dinner, "aged salami with a sharp knife" and "FRESH HOME-MADE GUACAMOLE" for the band ("we want it chunky"). The rider also included a detailed recipe for the guacamole and a ban on bananas, stating that "this is a NO BANANA TOUR."

In response, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment -- the agency that booked White at the university and that also represents acts like the Foo Fighters, Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys -- told the university's Campus Activities Council that it will no longer book artists at Oklahoma until its "policy is modified not to disseminate private information," according to The Oklahoma Daily. William Morris Endeavor Entertainment did not return a request for comment. 

White's management, Monotone, Inc., released a statement Friday saying it and White have not blacklisted the university and clarifying that White did not write the rider himself. "We're not even sure he likes guacamole," Monotone stated. The company also referred to the actions of the student newspaper as "unfortunate, unprofessional and very unwelcoming."

"His contract wasn’t something we leaked," Emily Sharp, the newspaper's assistant arts editor, wrote on Wednesday, after White also called out the staff during the concert. "It is public information that any of you could request. Many newspapers show contracts of celebrities that come into town; this isn’t something The Daily did that’s out of the ordinary. It’s not a hidden document, and it’s not something we had to dig to get. It is available to the public."


February 9, 2015

Dennis J. Murray announced Saturday that he plans to step down as president of Marist College in June 2016. Murray has already served 36 years in the position -- an unusually lengthy tenure for a president these days.

February 9, 2015

In today's Academic Minute, Frank Frisch, a kinesiologist at Chapman University, discusses his research on workplace stress and degenerative disease. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


February 6, 2015

Two students at Providence College have been hospitalized with meningitis, The Providence Journal reported. Antibiotics are being provided to those who came into contact with the students. Guilford College also reported this week that a student was diagnosed with meningitis.


February 6, 2015

Several hundred protesters delayed by more than an hour the start of a speech Thursday of Marine Le Pen at the University of Oxford, The Guardian reported. Le Pen is leader of the National Front in France and regularly criticizes Muslims in her country. Authorities were forced for a time to close the doors to the Oxford Union. When she did speak, Le Pen did not shy away from the stances that led the protesters to call her a bigot (and worse).



February 6, 2015

Two people died Thursday in an apparent murder-suicide inside the University of South Carolina's Public Health Research Center. The university canceled all classes inside the new school of public health and sent out two alerts through its emergency messaging system. "Today, the USC family experienced a great tragedy," Harris Pastides, South Carolina's president, said in a statement, but he did not say if those involved in the shooting were students or faculty.  Earlier this week, two Tulane University students also died in a murder-suicide. In an e-mail to students Sunday, Michael Fitts, Tulane's president, described the past year as "extraordinarily difficult." At least four Tulane students have committed suicide since August.

In November, a University of South Carolina student was killed by her boyfriend, and in October, a San Francisco State University student was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend. Both killings were also murder-suicides.

February 6, 2015

Governor Scott Walker's effort to dramatically change the University of Wisconsin System’s mission was seemingly premeditated and hardly an accident, local newspaper reports suggested Thursday.

Walker faced intense criticism Wednesday for trying to remove key parts of the Wisconsin university system’s mission from state code, but he blamed the whole thing on a “drafting error.” A draft of the all-important state budget eliminated the university’s mission to “search for truth,” “improve the human condition” and “extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses.” The mission is known as the Wisconsin Idea.

But documents that show Walker administration officials gave “detailed, line-by-line instructions” about how to remove that very language, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Days before Walker released the draft, a University of Wisconsin official expressed concerns about the changes, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Walker on Thursday continued to blame the changes on happenstance, a version of events that would allow him to appear as if he was not retreating in the face of widespread criticism. “Clearly, changing the Wisconsin Idea serves no purpose,” he said in a statement. “That is why I made it clear on Wednesday that we would not change it in the budget. It is not a change of heart. It was a simple miscommunication during the natural back-and-forth of this process.”

February 6, 2015

The American Library Association on Thursday praised the Federal Communications Commission's new net neutrality proposal, a stark reversal from seven months ago, when the association and 10 other higher education groups teamed up to advocate against regulations they feared would allow companies to pay for access to an internet "fast lane." The F.C.C. this week proposed to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which agency chairman Tom Wheeler has said "will ban paid prioritization and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services."

February 6, 2015

February fun -- time for our Cartoon Caption Contest.

You can suggest a caption for the latest cartoon from Matthew Henry Hall, which you can find here.

Cast your vote here for your favorite for last month's cartoon from among the three captions selected by our panel of judges. Your vote will help choose this month's winner.

And congratulations are in order for Donald Larsson, a professor of English at Minnesota State University-Mankato. His caption for our December cartoon -- "We have reliable reports from male and female students that you see them when they're sleeping, you know when they're awake, and you've made threats about what might happen if they pout or cry!" -- was our readers' favorite from among the three finalists chosen by our panel of judges. He will receive an Amazon gift certificate and a signed copy of the cartoon. This is Professor Larsson's second time winning the contest.

February 6, 2015

Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education is recommending that a new law requiring the state’s institutions to report illnesses and deaths on study abroad programs be expanded to include disclosure of instances of sexual assault and other crimes, the Star Tribune reported. The office said this will result in better information for students and parents. Sexual assault reporting had been excluded from the original law -- the first of its kind in the country -- due to concerns about safeguarding victims’ privacy. 


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