Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, March 23, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Nicola Mitchell, a zoologist at the University of Western Australia, discusses research to recolonize the western swamp turtle and hopefully save the species from extinction. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

An engineering professor at the University of Florida was arrested and is being detained in Abu Dhabi pending resolution of his case, The Gainesville Sun reported. John Schueller was arrested last week, reportedly after taking pictures of buildings in the United Arab Emirates capital, and was released on bail. He was in Abu Dhabi on university-approved travel to attend a conference on world hunger.

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California System, on Thursday apologized for a remark caught on tape the day before in which she called a student protest "crap," The Los Angeles Times reported. Napolitano made the remark when students interrupted a Board of Regents meeting, standing on chairs, shouting, taking off their shirts and throwing fake money. On Thursday, Napolitano apologized, saying, "I’m sorry for using a word I don't usually use," and asking for "empathy and understanding" about the context of a remark she thought was a private comment to a regent.

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors has issued a statement saying that it is "deeply troubled" by a recent incident in which New York University Professor Andrew Ross was denied entry to the United Arab Emirates. 

Saying that Ross's experience "raises considerable doubt" about N.Y.U.'s claims of academic freedom protections at its campus in Abu Dhabi, the A.A.U.P. is urging the N.Y.U. administration "to make every effort to get the ban on Professor Ross lifted and, should such efforts fail, to work with its faculty to reconsider its role in the emirate.”

Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis and president of N.Y.U.’s A.A.U.P. chapter, has been a vocal critic of the U.A.E.’s policies on migrant labor. He was denied permission to board an Abu Dhabi-bound plane on Saturday. 

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

Yeshiva University announced Thursday that it is merging the faculties of its men's undergraduate college (Yeshiva College) and its women's undergraduate college (Stern College for Women). At the same time, the two colleges will maintain separate campuses and separate courses. But until now, each college had its own departments. Now merged departments will serve both colleges. A spokesman said that the merger of the faculties would not lead to job cuts, but that financial difficulties at the university could lead to a small number of cuts.

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans want to reduce state oversight of offerings at the state's public and private colleges, Capital reports.

The state's strong Education Department has authority over what degree programs public and -- most notably -- private colleges offer. As part of negotiations over the state budget, Cuomo proposed (and the Republican-led State Senate embraced) eliminating the department's review process, giving accredited institutions more control over their own offerings.

Supporters of the change say less oversight would allow colleges to adapt to quickly changing market conditions. Opponents, including Democrats in the state Assembly, argue that reducing regulations could reduce quality.

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 3:00am

In today's Academic Minute, Jay Pasachoff, director of Hopkins Observatory, chair of astronomy and Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, discusses a cosmic phenomenon. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00am

Syracuse University's head basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, will retire in three seasons, its athletics director has resigned and the university will appeal some of the sanctions imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association earlier this month. The three announcements were all included in an e-mail sent by Kent Syverud, Syracuse's chancellor, to students and faculty members on Wednesday. Syverud said the university remains "disturbed by the severity of certain penalties" imposed by the N.C.A.A. over allegations that the university and its basketball coach did not properly monitor the program, leading to academic fraud, improper payment to athletes by a booster and failure to follow its own drug testing policies.

The university will appeal the vacating of certain wins for the men's basketball team (the N.C.A.A. would like to vacate more than 100 of them) and the reduction in men's basketball scholarships. "The decision to appeal is not taken lightly," Syverud stated. "However, based on the facts and a review of previous N.C.A.A. infractions decisions, the university believes the impact of these specific penalties is excessive and disproportionate. The university also will support Coach Boeheim should he choose to appeal penalties that affect him personally."

Boeheim has not announced yet whether he will appeal any penalties, but Syverud said Wednesday that Boeheim will retire in three seasons, bringing an end to his 40-year career as head coach. "His goal in making this decision and announcement now is to bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years and enable and plan for a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership," Syverud said.

Daryl Gross, who has been the university's athletics director for a decade and helped lead Syracuse's transition from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference, resigned from his position on Wednesday. He will remain with the university as Syverud's vice president and assistant and as an adjunct professor of sport and human dynamics. "Our vision was to graduate student-athletes and provide them with the tools with which they can make a positive impact on society, and I feel that goal was accomplished," Gross said in a statement.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:27am

University of California System President Janet Napolitano was caught on video at a Board of Regents meeting calling a student protest "crap," The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The university records and posts video of board meetings. On Wednesday, students interrupted a board meeting with protests of a tuition increase and a new campus. Students stood on chairs, took off their shirts and threw fake money, while shouting. As police escorted the students from the room, Napolitano turned to the board chair and, in a comment she probably thought was not being recorded, said, “Let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.” The regents left the room and returned after the protesters had been removed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:17am

University of Georgia Greek leaders have announced that they will no longer approve costume themes for parties that involve antebellum hoop skirts, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The move followed discussions between administrators and Greek system leaders about the recent video of a University of Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant. Fraternities at the university have in recent years moved away from events in which some members dressed as Confederate soldiers.


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