The University of California at Los Angeles "wholly neglected its legal obligations" to provide safety in a laboratory where a fire resulted in the death of a lab assistant three years ago, according to a report from Cal/OSHA -- a state work safety agency -- that was obtained by The Los Angeles Times. The report said that the professor supervising the lab "simply disregarded the open and obvious dangers presented in this case and permitted Victim Sangji to work in a manner that knowingly caused her to be exposed to a serious and foreseeable risk of serious injury or death." UCLA has denied negligence in what it has portrayed as an accident. The professor who ran the lab and the University of California Board of Regents have been indicted on charges that they failed to adhere to appropriate safety standards.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is today planning to introduce legislation that would limit the federal funds going to for-profit colleges for the education of veterans, The Chicago Tribune reported. The legislation would reduce from 90 to 85 percent the share of revenue for-profit colleges can receive from federal student aid funds. Further, the bill would count veterans benefits in that total, not just Education Department aid, as is currently the law. Durbin is among a number of lawmakers who have said that some for-profit colleges are taking advantage of veterans, who have generous education benefits. Brian Moran, interim president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, criticized the planned legislation. "Senator Durbin's reported legislation on recruiting will only cut off access for thousands of veterans to the skill-intensive, hands-on programming and intensive job-placement support that veterans transitioning into the workplace need," he said.
Two female Marist College students and a friend were killed in a fire early Saturday morning, when a fire spread through their house, The Journal News reported. Four other Marist students escaped the fire by jumping through windows.
On Sunday morning, seven Boston University students were hospitalized after a fire in their off-campus house, The Boston Globe reported.
The University of Tokyo is planning a shift over the next five years to a fall start for its academic year, The Japan Times reported. The issue has been under consideration for months -- and is seen as important by university leaders who want to promote more collaboration with Western institutions that start their academic years in the fall. The current schedule is also believed to discourage study abroad by Tokyo students, and the recruitment of foreign students to spend a semester at Tokyo. Given the stature of the University of Tokyo within Japanese higher education, its move is expected to influence many other institutions in the country to follow its lead.
A federal judge on Friday ordered Boston College to turn over to the government, to provide to British authorities, documents related to seven interview subjects in an oral history collection on the violence in Northern Ireland, The Boston Globe reported. An earlier order is the subject of a stay by a federal appeals court, which is currently reviewing the legal issues in the case. The British government, citing a treaty with the United States, says that the documents could help with ongoing criminal investigations. But many historians have been alarmed by the case, saying that forcing Boston College to release the documents could discourage people from participating in oral history interviews. The interviews at Boston College, like those in many such oral history collections, were intended for release only after specified time periods, such as the death of those who spoke with researchers.
The "Shit Girls Say" YouTube video has turned into a meme inspiring numerous videos making fun of things various groups say. While undergrads were mocked fairly instantly, some recent additions focus on other groups in academe: rhetoric scholars and grad students.
Joe Paterno, the former Pennsylvania State University football coach whose career was ended and reputation tarnished over an explosive sex abuse scandal, died Sunday morning at the age of 85 from complications resulting from lung cancer. Paterno's health deteriorated rapidly after the Penn State Board of Trustees fired him, along with President Graham B. Spanier, for not doing more when informed that his former assistant of 16 years may have been sexually abusing young boys.
The winningest coach in Division I history, Paterno was widely respected and known for imparting to players the importance of ethical behavior and academic success. Just last week, The Washington Post published Paterno's first interview since his dismissal, in which he said he didn't follow up on the allegations against Jerry Sandusky -- the coach relayed what he'd heard to his superiors, but not police -- because he "didn't know exactly how to handle it." In one of the few comments Paterno made as the scandal was unfolding, he said, "I wish I had done more."
The university, which has been criticized by some alumni for its treatment of Paterno, issued a statement Sunday that made no mention of the scandal. The statement said: "We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always." The university also reiterated plans to honor Paterno.
The University of California at San Francisco, a powerhouse in medical education and research, is pushing for much more autonomy from the University of California, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The university says it doesn't want to secede, but does want its own board and to be free of fees it pays the central university. Further, officials question the need to participate in numerous discussions within the university about issues such as undergraduate education, which doesn't exist at UCSF. Officials of the medical campus say that they need the greater independence to focus resources on their programs.
Mountain State University's board on Thursday announced that it had fired Charles H. Polk as president. The Charleston Gazette noted that the West Virginia university had been facing accreditation problems both as an institution and for its nursing program, as well as criticism of Polks 7-figure compensation package.