Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

Universities in Canada are increasingly concerned that a strike by foreign service workers will affect the ability of international students to obtain their visas in time to enroll for the fall semester. “That’s a real possibility that there will be students missing in the ranks,” McGill University’s dean of students, André Costopoulos, told CBC News

“This is the time of year when international students have got choices,” Paul Davidson, the president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada told the CBC’s Ottawa Morning radio program. “They have applied to universities in the United Kingdom, in Australia, in the United States and in Canada, and the country that gets them their visa fastest has the best chance of getting those students. So the job action with the visa applications backlogging is a real barrier for international students getting to Canada for this September.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of Southern California is under investigation over allegations of sex discrimination, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights confirmed this weekend. USC is the latest institution where students filed federal complaints alleging violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 stemming from the handling of sexual assault cases. OCR also recently opened up investigations at Swarthmore College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all in response to a renewed focus on the issue by the Education Department and an unprecedented wave of student activism and awareness of their rights.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

Harvard University acted in "good faith" in conducting secret searches of e-mail files of some instructors, an outside report has concluded, The Boston Globe reported. The outside report, by a law firm, was commissioned amid widespread faculty and student anger over the e-mails searches, which were conducted as the university was concerned about leaks about a cheating investigation. Administrators believed at the time that they were acting in ways consistent with university policies, and administrators did not read the e-mail messages in the accounts that were searched, the report said.

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 3:00am

Two months after faculty and staff votes of no confidence in his leadership, Ray Staats has been placed on leave as president of Gadsden State Community College, in Alabama, WBRC News reported. Faculty said that his priorities were misplaced, charging him with creating administrative positions and spending on facilities that weren't needed at a time that programs important to students lacked for funds. Staats did not respond to a requeset for comment.

 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 4:30am

A college education has a positive impact for men on health and tends to extend lifespan, according to a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (summary available here). The study uses data from the enrollment decisions of men during the Vietnam War era, when going to college greatly decreased the odds of one's being drafted, and so encouraged many men who might not have otherwise gone to college to do so. Looking at these cohorts and tracking them over time, the study finds that going to college decreases the odds of morbidity over time. Decreases are noted for college-going men in the rates of cancer and heart disease. Many factors could be at play, the authors note. The men who completed college, for example, were less likely to be smokers and more likely to have health insurance.

 

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:00am

A tornado-like "significant wind event" hit Ursuline College, in Ohio, Saturday morning. The college announced that there were no injuries, but that several buildings sustained significant damage. The college was closed over the weekend to allow officials to assess the situation.

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Timothy Lytton of Albany Law School reveals how stringent selfregulation has allowed the kosher food industry to thrive over the past century. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:00am

Faculty members at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York are angry that President Karen Gould has rejected the choices of professors to lead three departments, making her own selections instead, The Wall Street Journal reported. Gould maintains that she has the right to pick department chairs, but faculty members say that the norm is to respect professors' votes, particularly if departments are well-managed and certain choices have broad support.

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:00am

The American Anthropological Association has written to the Travel Channel objecting to and asking for changes in the TV show "Dig Wars," in which contestants are sent to various locations with metal detectors to see if they can locate and dig up antiquities. The material they dig up is called "loot," and is evaluated for its financial value.

"Reasonable viewers watching this program may be mistakenly led to believe that such behaviors are ethically acceptable," says the letter. "On the contrary, the looting as portrayed in the show is deeply disturbing. The overall message is that this nation's cultural and historical heritage is 'loot' that is up for grabs for anyone with a metal detector and shovel. This is the wrong message to give the public, especially in an age when so many historical sites are disappearing." The association offered to identify trained archaeologists who could help the network "communicate the excitement of discovery and of history in a more responsible, ethical and engaging manner."

A spokeswoman for the Travel Channel said via e-mail that no laws are broken. She said that the competition takes place with the full permission of the owners of the land where digging take place. Further, she said that items that are excavated are either returned to the land owners or given to local museums, and she said that the channel believes that "metal detecting enthusiasts should always abide by state and federal laws." She added: "We respect the numerous opinions as it relates to the gathering and  preservation of artifacts. We welcome the dialogue, and hope that Travel Channel's programming will continue to inspire viewers to travel to new destinations to discover each location's unique history."

Monday, July 22, 2013 - 3:00am

The College of Charleston is seeking state assistance in determining how much it can say and how it can investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by a professor now that the faculty member has resigned before the investigation was completed, The Post and Courier reported. College officials are concerned that libel and slander laws could pose difficulties, given the lack of a finished inquiry. The college did find allegations against Enrique Graf, a tenured music professor, to be credible and told him that. He resigned, denying the allegations and saying that the college was not conducting a fair investigation. Graf was being investigated for inappropriate sexual behavior and sexual harassment of two of his students at Charleston, and a former piano student of his in Maryland. He was also accused of using drugs with students.

 

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