Higher Education Quick Takes
Richard M. Joel, president of Yeshiva University, issued an apology Thursday for the way the institution may have handled allegations during the 1970s of sex abuse of boys at a high school the university runs. An investigation by The Forward found that the university dealt with allegations of sex abuse by high school officials by letting them resign and seek employment elsewhere, without the allegations ever being reported to authorities. Norman Lamm, who was president of the university from 1976 to 2003 and is now chancellor, told the newspaper that it was standard practice to let such employees move on. “If it was an open-and-shut case, I just let [the staff member] go quietly. It was not our intention or position to destroy a person without further inquiry," Lamm said.
The statement issued by Joel, the current president, said that there are many procedures and policies in place now to prevent such incidents. His statement also included a university apology for what happened in the past. "The safety and well-being of our students is Yeshiva University’s highest priority. The inappropriate behavior and abuse alleged by The Forward to have taken place in the past, and described in statements attributed by The Forward to Dr. Lamm, are reprehensible," he said. "The actions described represent heinous and inexcusable acts that are antithetical both to Torah values and to everything that Yeshiva University stands for. They have no place here, in our community, or anywhere at all. The thought that such behavior could have occurred at our boys’ high school, or anywhere at this institution, at any time in its past, is more than sufficient reason to express on behalf of the university, my deepest, most profound apology."
Hampden-Sydney College has expelled one student and punished three others for their roles in an ugly gathering involving racial epithets after President Obama was re-elected. The students' guilt and punishments were determined by student courts. The student who was expelled was found guilty of violating college rules against disruptive behavior, harassment and lewd behavior. A statement from the college said: "Hampden-Sydney College reflects the diversity which is America. Each day, we successfully live, work, and play together. However, we continue to make this community ever more open, accepting, and embracing of our increasing diversity. Our faculty is designing programming to encourage critical thinking about diversity. The Office of Student Affairs is working with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to revisit our residential life program and freshman orientation to ensure that students receive training on becoming 'upstanders' versus 'bystanders.' Most importantly, our student leaders are engaged in serious, thoughtful dialogue, have pledged to respect differences, and are committed to set the example for other students."
The admissions office at the University of Chicago has received an unusual package -- addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr. (Indiana Jones, in other words). The package, as detailed on the admissions office's blog, included a detailed replica of a journal from a character in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The admissions office is still trying to figure out who sent the package, and why, and has posted some theories.
Twelve British universities have created Futurelearn as a platform for MOOCs (massive open online courses) to be available free to anyone in the world, Times Higher Education reported. Courses will be offered by:
- Cardiff University
- King's College, University of London
- Lancaster University
- The Open University
- University of Birmingham
- University of Bristol
- University of East Anglia
- University of Exeter
- University of Leeds
- University of Southampton
- University of St. Andrews
- University of Warwick
Students, faculty members and alumni are protesting the decision by Morgan State University's board not to renew the contract of David Wilson as president, The Baltimore Sun reported. Wilson's supporters point to progress at the university in the three years he has led it, and the lack of any information from the board about why it decided to seek a new president. The board chair on Thursday continued to defend the vote to oust Wilson and not to give any explanation for the decision. Only weeks prior to the vote, Wilson received a positive evaluation from the board.
Seven Roman Catholic colleges in the Big East Conference will pull out of the league, USA Today reported Thursday, but have yet to make an official announcement; many financial and procedural questions remain. Speculation has been brewing all week as to whether the non-Football Bowl Series programs would depart a conference that has strayed from its basketball roots and become increasingly football-oriented. The conference has been one of the biggest victims of the continuing realignment chaos, losing 10 members to bigger and richer leagues since 2005 – most recently Rutgers University, which announced two weeks ago it would join the Big Ten Conference – and the basketball colleges were reportedly upset with the way Big East leaders selected new additions (most recently, Tulane and East Carolina Universities). At this point, the conference has nine members set to join beginning next year, four of which will be football-only members. (Those are Boise State, San Diego State and East Carolina Universities and the U.S. Naval Academy. The full members will be the Universities of Houston, Memphis and Central Florida, Southern Methodist University and Tulane.)
Student workers at the University of Toledo are objecting to a new rule that will require them to wear khaki pants and a blue shirt with the university logo while on the job, The Toledo Blade reported. University officials said that the uniform will promote professionalism, and that some of the opposition is based on incorrect information that the new rule applies to tutors. Students who are protesting the rule note that they would need to carry their uniforms with them and find a place to change if they don't want to wear the uniform all day. One student opposed to the new dress code told the Blade: “What they’ve told us is that the dress code will help prepare us for the future — yes, if we’re going to become a cashier at McDonald’s, or help people buy sneakers."
John Sperling, who founded the Apollo Group and its University of Phoenix in 1972, will retire as executive chairman of the company's board of directors at the end of this month, Apollo announced today. His son, Peter Sperling, will take over as the board's chairman.
Kathryn Napper is retiring as dean of undergraduate admissions at George Washington University, after 35 years of work at the institution and one month after the university admitted that, for at least a decade, it had been submitting incorrect data on the high school class rank of its students to U.S. News & World Report for its rankings. An internal announcement of Napper's retirement, effective this month, praised her "loyal and dedicated service," and made no mention of the recent scandal. Napper and GW officials declined to comment on any relationship between her departure and the incorrect rankings data.
With the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association coming up early next month, some social media fun is to be expected. This year the hashtag getting the laughs is #mlatshirts -- with the words that might be expected on a T-shirt getting packed for the meeting. Among our favorites:
- "Will refute you for food."
- "This is less of a question and more like three related comments."
- "Let me problematize that for you."
- "Your shirt is interesting, but let's talk about MY shirt."
- "Our Department Strives To Show Its Professionalism By Interviewing Candidates In A Comparatively Large Hotel Bedroom."
"Just looked through the
#mlatshirts stream and saw no MOOC references. Oh, the humanities!"
- "I'll save you the trouble of looking at my badge: I'm not worth talking to." (From an Inside Higher Ed blogger who most definitely is worth talking to.)