The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted Tuesday to add political affiliation and gender identity to the categories on which the university system bars discrimination, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Some regents have repeatedly charged that conservatives suffer discrimination, especially at the Boulder campus. The board earlier approved a plan to survey people in the university system on the political climate. Many faculty members have said that the regents incorrectly assume that having a majority of faculty members in some departments -- even large majorities -- equates with discrimination.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Georgetown University is today announcing the largest gift in its history, $100 million from Frank H. McCourt Jr., a former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, The Washington Post reported. The funds will be used to elevate a public policy program to a full-fledged school at the university.
Faculty free speech advocates gained a victory Monday when an Illinois appeals court overturned a lower court’s ruling that Northeastern Illinois University was protected by state anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws in a defamation suit brought by a professor who alleged retaliation for her activism on campus. In its opinion, the court said that the university “does not refute any essential element” of Loretta Capeheart’s claims of defamation, including that a university administrator had said she “stalked” a student on campus. The court also found that the university failed to meet its burden of proof that that Capeheart’s case was a SLAPP, under the Illinois Citizens Participation Act.
Capeheart’s supporters, including the American Association of University Professors, have said that the act was designed to protect individuals from more powerful institutions, and that Northeastern Illinois’ defense was turning it on its head. The ruling reinstates Capeheart’s initial lawsuit against the university, which includes claims that she was denied a department leadership position for backing students who protested the Central Intelligence Agency and for publicly criticizing administrative spending. In an e-mail, Capeheart, who is still a tenured of professor justice studies at Northeastern Illinois, said “we are thrilled that the appeals court did not allow for the perversion of the act.”
A university spokeswoman said via e-mail that Northeastern Illinois is evaluating the decision and "weighing its options."
Those hoping to see the medical profession diversify may need to consider the way debt appears to affect different kinds of medical students, says an article published Monday in the journal PLOS One. The study -- by researchers at Columbia University -- asked medical students nationwide to estimate how much debt they would have upon graduating. The answers varied by racial and ethnic group, with 77 percent of black students estimating that they would owe more than $150,000. For other groups, the share was smaller: 65 percent of white students, 57 percent of Latino students, and 50 percent of Asian students expect to graduate with those debt levels.
This summer, the Associated Press revealed that Mitch Daniels, while governor of Indiana, tried to discourage the use of the books of the late Howard Zinn, a leftist historian, in the state. In a new effort to defend Zinn's legacy, scholars have announced plans for a "read in" of Zinn's work, to take place at Purdue University, where Daniels is now the president. Efforts are under way to organize readings at other colleges and universities in the state that day to give Zinn's work more visibility. The events will take place on November 5, the 158th anniversary of the birth, in Indiana, of Eugene Debs, the socialist leader.
Duke University’s controversial campus in Kunshan has received approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education, the university announced on Monday. Duke Kunshan University, a joint venture institution with Wuhan University, will accept its first students in 2014. It initially plans to offer master’s programs in global health and management studies; a proposed graduate program in medical physics is pending approval. The campus will also offer a liberal arts-oriented, semesterlong study abroad program for undergraduates.
Parchment, an electronic transcription service, on Tuesday announced a partnership with the GED Testing Service under which students who pass the high school equivalency test will receive free electronic diplomas and transcripts. The GED, which is owned jointly by the American Council on Education and Pearson, is gearing up for a move to become fully electronic next year. The new partnership will allow GED-holders to share their electronic transcripts with potential employers and colleges.
The chancellor's office of the California Community Colleges has adopted a rule requiring all publicly funded grant and contract work funded by the chancellor's office be covered by a Creative Commons license, which authorizes use by others provided that acknowledgement is provided to the creator of the work. This means that academic or financial tools created with grants from the chancellor's office will be produced in ways that one college could use another's work. A statement from Chancellor Brice W. Harris said: "The tax-paying public shouldn’t be required to pay twice or more to access and use educational materials, first via the funding of the research and development of educational resources and then again when they purchase materials like textbooks they helped fund. So, ultimately this decision to change the board’s regulations will save taxpayers money over time."
Two men in a grocery store in southern Russia got into an argument about the ideas of Immanuel Kant, and after the discussion got heated, one man took out a gun and shot the other, Reuters reported. The man who was shot was hospitalized but his life is not in danger. Reuters provided this context: "Many Russians love to discuss philosophy and history, often over a drink, but such discussions rarely end in shootings."