In the latest "This Week," Inside Higher Ed's free news podcast, Tracy Mitrano of Mitrano & Associates and Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education joined Inside Higher Ed's Doug Lederman and the moderator, Casey Green, for a conversation about tension between free speech rights and efforts to ensure a welcoming campus environment. In our second segment, Coastal Carolina University's Ralph Byington and Thomas Hoffman discuss the institution's program that rewards faculty and staff members for increased student retention. Sign up here to be notified of new editions of "This Week."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto have rejected a tentative deal to settle a strike that started Feb. 27. The union announced that 992 members voted to ratify the deal, while 1,101 voted against. While the proposed agreement would have raises wages, some have said that the deal did not provide enough. The university issued a statement this morning from Angela Hildyard, vice president of human resources and equity, in which she said, “We continue to be in close contact with the provincial mediator and remain committed to finding a solution to this impasse that would end the strike and allow affected students to complete their academic term without further disruption."
Authorities have arrested a student at Edinboro University for allegedly shooting two other students Saturday, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. “It is important to note that this tragic incident is believed to be a matter between these individuals and not a random event,” said a statement from Julie Wollman, the president. “The individual charged with the crime is in police custody, and we have acted immediately to suspend this student.”
Protesters -- some students and many not -- have disrupted exams and blocked entrances at Lebanese University's Tripoli campus, The Daily Star reported. They object to two recent appointments of Christian academics to positions that they believe Sunni Muslims should hold. Students told the newspaper that most at the university do not believe that appointees should be judged by religious affiliation, but many in the country disagree.
McGill University has rejected the request of a Muslim female student to start women-only hours in the workout facilities on campus, CBC News reported. The request has prompted widespread campus debate in recent weeks. McGill's deputy provost for student life and learning, Ollivier Dyens, said, "We don't believe in the segregation of our services, we don't believe in separating some groups from others on campus. It's always been clear, McGill is secular and coed, and this is what we promote." McGill does have some hours for women only in the pool, but officials said that because people wear bathing suits, issues of modesty and privacy are greater there.
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.
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.
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.
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.