Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 20, 2013

A California appeals court has ruled that the University of California System does not need to obtain and release investment return records, Bloomberg reported. A lower court ruled that that the university had to do so under the state's open records laws. But the appeals court ruled that those laws apply only to records the university has, not those that it could obtain. Reuters sought the records.

 

December 20, 2013

Six more online courses from the Saylor Foundation can now lead to college credit, the foundation announced Thursday, bringing the total number of free, potentially credit-bearing courses it offers to nine. The National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) and New York's Regents Research Fund reviewed exams from the six courses and recommended that colleges issue credit for students who successfully complete the $25 assessments. Saylor, which is a nonprofit group, has created more than 300 free, general education courses.

December 20, 2013

Leaders of the Association of American Universities and the Association for Jewish Studies on Friday condemned academic boycotts -- a topic in the news due to the vote by the American Studies Association to boycott Israeli universities.

"The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions," said a statement from the AAU. "Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such a boycott.  Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general." The statement continued: "Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom.  Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom.  The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it.  We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts."

The board of the Association for Jewish Studies released a resolution it adopted that said in part: "In view of the association’s longstanding commitment to the free exchange of ideas, we oppose academic boycotts. On the same grounds, we recommend that other academic associations oppose academic boycotts. We urge that they seek alternative means, less inimical to the principle of academic freedom, to pursue their concerns. We especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test. We understand that such selective boycotts may be intended to preserve academic exchange with those more open to the views of boycott proponents, but we cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community."

 

December 20, 2013

The London School of Economics and Political Science has apologized to two students who, at an event for new students, were told that they had to cover up their T-shirts depicting Mohammed and Jesus, Times Higher Education reported. At the time, the students were staffing a table of the Atheist Secularist and Humanist Society at the university, and officials said that their attire could be seen as harassment of Muslims. Now, however, officials say that they realize that the T-shirts did not violate any university rules and so the students should not have been told to cover up what they were wearing.

 

December 20, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Sujay Kaushal of the University of Maryland reveals how acid rain has made rivers and streams less acidic. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

December 20, 2013

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, and Democratic legislative leaders have reached an agreement that should pave the way for the state's public colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition to students who lack the legal documentation to reside in the United States, The New York Times reported. Christie appeared last year -- when running for re-election -- to back the idea, but he has been ambivalent of late, leaving many to wonder if he could support the bill. Under the compromise, the governor has said he will sign the bill as long as it is amended to deny state financial aid to the undocumented students.

December 20, 2013

M. Christopher Brown II resigned Thursday, effective immediately, as president of Alcorn State University. The Associated Press reported that the resignation came amid an investigation into the university's purchasing practices, and that the investigation has already led to the resignations of two other senior officials. Brown has been president of the historically black institution in Mississippi since 2010 and he earned a reputation as having an ambitious agenda to increase enrollment and to elevate the prominence of the university in the state. He did not respond to an email seeking his comment on his resignation.

 

 

December 20, 2013

The chancellor of the University of California at San Diego has issued a statement on the American Studies Association’s resolution backing the boycott of Israeli higher education institutions. “We affirm the right of the faculty to advance their scholarship and research through open dialogue with academic colleagues in all countries,” Pradeep K. Khosla said. “UC San Diego faculty collaborations draw on richly diverse ideas and views around the globe, including in the Middle East. Excluding scholars limits discussion and conflicts with the University of California’s highest aspirations.”

December 20, 2013

A jury on Thursday rejected a suit to force the actor Ryan O'Neal to turn over an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett to the University of Texas at Austin, CNN reported. Fawcett left her her art, including a Warhol portrait, to the university. The dispute was over a second Warhol portrait. The university claimed that both once were Fawcett's and thus part of her estate. But the jury apparently accepted O'Neal's version of events, which was that Warhol did one portrait of Fawcett for her and one for O'Neal.

 

December 20, 2013

In July, there was much chatter about a Craigslist ad from the mother of a student about to enroll at Harvard University. The ad sought a young woman to have sex with her son, a virgin whom she feared was too shy to learn about women without some secret coaching from Mom.

Now there is a new Craigslist ad -- this time from someone who appears to have just been admitted to next year's class. "I am looking for someone to attend Harvard University pretending to be me for four years, starting August 2014. I will pay for your tuition, books, housing, transportation, and living expenses and pay $40,000 a year with a $10,000 bonus after graduation. All you have to do is attend all classes, pass all tests, and finish all assigned work, while pretending you are me. You do not need to worry about being accepted, I have already taken care of that." The ad specifies that applicants must have 4.0 grade-point average in high school, or a 3.5 or higher from a university.

A fake? Who knows. Inside Higher Ed sent an email to the reply address and hasn't heard back. A Harvard University spokesman said via email: "We cannot verify the veracity of an online ad. We regularly take appropriate steps to ensure that only students admitted to Harvard College matriculate." Harvard has been duped in the past.

 

 

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