Higher Education Quick Takes
Lonnie Norton, director of computing at the University of Utah's College of Humanities, has been arrested for kidnapping his estranged wife, taking her to a campus building, and raping her, The Deseret News reported. His wife filed for divorce last week. A statement from the University of Utah said: "University employees who commit violent acts on university property are not eligible to remain employed at the university and will be excluded from campus. The university does not comment on individual personnel actions or ongoing investigations."
A feature in The New York Times explores Liberty University's ambition to rise to the top ranks of college football. University officials believe that much as the University of Notre Dame used football to become a focus of pride for Roman Catholics (most of whom have no direct tie to the institution), Liberty could do the same for evangelical Protestants. A key obstacle: Liberty's conduct rules (an alcohol ban on and off campus, for instance) may make recruiting difficult. Another caution: Liberty made a similar push to replicate Notre Dame's model in the late 1980s, hiring a former coach of the Cleveland Browns to lead its teams. The effort did not take off.
Peter Gray resigned last week as associate director of athletic student services and director of academic advising and counseling at the University of Iowa after an investigation found that he had traded football tickets for sexual favors and had inappropriately touched some athletes, The Press-Citizen of Iowa City reported. University officials declined to comment and Gray could not be reached for comment.
Marquess Wilson, a star receiver on Washington State University's football team, said Saturday that he is quitting the team because of "physical, emotional and verbal abuse" by the coaching staff of Mike Leach, The Seattle Times reported. Wilson said he opted to quit because of coaches who "belittle, intimidate and humiliate us." The athletics director at the university, Bill Moos, issued a statement Saturday night, saying he had tried to offer "additional guidance if [Wilson] was willing to meet the standards that have been set by Mike Leach and his staff in their effort to establish a competitive football program at Washington State. Unfortunately, during times of coaching transitions, departures are not uncommon." On Sunday, Elson Floyd, president of the university, issued this statement: "After consultation with WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos, I have asked our athletic department to fully review recent allegations raised concerning the football program and report their findings and conclusions as soon as possible. Simultaneously, I have asked the Pac-12 to independently do the same. Together, both reports should get to the bottom of the matter."
Higher education officials in Colorado and Washington State, both of which voted last week to legalize marijuana use, say that the legal changes won't affect campus pot bans, USA Today reported. Officials cite federal laws that require colleges receiving federal funds to ban drug use on campus, and say that they have no plans to change their rules. "If someone thinks they are going to walk around campus smoking a joint, it's not going to happen," said a University of Washington spokesman. "While it may be legal two blocks off campus, it will be illegal under federal law, so it will be illegal on campus."
Green Mountain College announced Sunday that it has euthanized one of the two oxen that have worked for many years on the college's farm. Its announcement that it was going to euthanize both oxen (oxen tend to work in pairs) when one was injured set off widespread criticism by animal rights activists who were particularly angered by plans to use meat from the oxen in the campus dining hall. College officials said that using the oxen meat would be consistent with the sustainable principles of the institution. The college has been unable to carry out its plan because slaughterhouses in the area have received threats linked to the plans. The college decided to euthanize the ox who was injured, and will continue to care for the other one. Because of medication the ox has received in recent weeks, its meat would not be suitable for human consumption, so the animal will be buried.
Civic leaders in and around Alpine, Texas have been talking about whether Sul Ross State University should leave the Texas State University System and join another one, such as that of Texas Tech University, The New York Times reported. Advocates for Sul Ross say that the Texas State system has not been appropriately concerned about recent enrollment declines, which Sul Ross supporters fear could lead to program eliminations. University officials themselves have not advocated such a change. (Note: This item was updated from an earlier version to clarify where the push is coming from.)
The University of Oregon, like many public universities that lack the state support they would like, is stepping up efforts to recruit out-of-state students who are charged much more than Oregon residents. The Register-Guard reported that these efforts have been so successful -- particularly in attracting students from Southern California who are relatively wealthy -- that lawmakers and some Oregon students are worried that low-income students from the state could be shut out. Oregonians also complain that the Californians aren't as serious about academics, with many quoting the motto "Cs get degrees."
The University of Virginia board, which this summer ousted President Teresa Sullivan (and then reversed itself amid the resulting outcry), is extending her contract. The university announced Friday that Sullivan's five-year contract, through 2015, had been extended to 2016. Helen E. Dragas, the board chair who was the leader of the effort to get rid of Sullivan, gave the following statement: "The president and her administration have been vigorously addressing many of the vexing questions that face the university and all of higher education – including issues of sustainable funding, academic quality, and new delivery methods. Despite what you may read or hear elsewhere, this board and this administration are working hard on exactly the things that demand our attention. We can’t afford to expend our energies and our time elsewhere. And we are all working together."