Russia plans to convert Tavrida National University, in Crimea, into a federal university in the Russian system, The Voice of Russia Radio News reported. Some other higher education institutions in Crimea may be merged into the university.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Only 33 percent of the public favors paying college athletes anything more than the scholarships they receive, according to a new ABC News-Washington Post poll; 64 percent oppose the idea. The poll found a racial split on the idea. While 73 percent of white people oppose pay for athletes, a small majority (51 percent) of non-white people support the idea.
A 19-year-old Georgetown University student faces federal charges for possessing a biological toxin, WTOP reported, after ricin was found in his dorm room last week. Daniel Harry Milzman was arrested after an FBI investigation and said he made the ricin about a month ago. Georgetown Police Chief Jay Gruber said there was never a threat to students.
A leader of the Parti Québécois, which is the governing party in Quebec but has just started a tough re-election campaign, has proposed that college and university students be barred from wearing burkas, Maclean's reported. Bernard Drainville, the official who proposed the idea, is also behind the proposed "values charter" that would bar public employees (including those in higher education) from wearing any religious attire. In proposing the burka ban, he said he was concerned that students in burkas attend classes at a number of universities in the province.
After a few male students accused of sexual assault sued their institutions under Title IX, alleging that they were discriminated against on the basis of gender in campus disciplinary hearings, experts suggested they faced an uphill battle in proving that to be the case.
But one of the more closely watched cases, that of the Xavier University basketball player Dezmine Wells, has survived the institution’s motion to dismiss. A federal district court said Wells’s allegations under Title IX were adequate to allow the case to proceed to the discovery phase, the Title IX Blog reports. The complaint recounts Xavier officials rushing to judgment, failing to train staff who heard Wells’s case, and denying Wells legal counsel and witnesses. Wells was expelled from Xavier and now plays basketball at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Meanwhile, more students are filing similar lawsuits under the very same law that women turn to for protection from assault.
The U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday issued a general license allowing accredited U.S. universities to enter into academic exchange agreements with Iranian universities and permitting the export of some educational services, including university entrance examinations. The guidance also permits American universities and their contractors to enroll Iranian students in certain online undergraduate-level courses, including massive open online courses, or MOOCs. In January, Inside Higher Ed reported that the U.S. government had blocked access to the MOOC provider Coursera for individuals in Iran and other economically sanctioned nations.
A dean's list student at Hannibal-LaGrange University who withdrew due to illness in October says he was blocked from returning because he is gay, the Associated Press reported. During the time he was away from the university, he came out on Facebook, and he said that university officials explained their refusal to re-enroll him by pointing him to a morals clause at the Baptist institution that describes homosexuality as a "misuse of God's gift." The student noted that others who violate rules related to sex are permitted to stay enrolled. He said he was told that, to return, he would have to renounce homosexuality. The university declined to comment.
Students at George Washington University are not impressed with their commencement speaker this year, José Andrés, a noted local chef. Washington City Paper noted tweets such as this one, which noted that the chef teaches a course at GW: "The guy who was obviously gw's last resort because if he didn't agree they'd just fire him." Many comments at The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper, were even less charitable. Consider this one: "Thanks, GW, for not even making me want to go to my own graduation. I guess it's a fitting end to four mediocre and overpriced years." Some comments did express sympathy for the chef. One said, "I feel pretty bad for the guy. He's accomplished so much in his life, but he is such an incredibly bad fit for GW commencement speaker. He is going to get nothing but complaints. GW should have known better than to put him in this position."
The black student who authorities say was the victim of months of racial harassment by his suitemates at San Jose State University has filed a $5 million claim against the institution, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The claim says that a resident adviser was aware of the situation and didn't intervene as needed. This contrasts with the university's commissioned investigation, which found that there was no knowledge of the harassment by those who could have stopped it.
A statement from the university said that San Jose State officials believe the claim was filed with the wrong state agency for such matters, and that the university does not comment on such claims.