Higher Education Quick Takes
A University of Sydney researcher is alleging that he may have lost out on a grant from the Australian Research Council because some government officials were concerned about his support for a boycott of Israeli universities, The Australian reported. According to the newspaper, officials of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade noted that Jake Lynch, who heads Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, vocally supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, and questioned whether giving him a grant would be bad for the agency's image. Later in the year, the government-supported research council rejected a $290,000 grant for the center to study the work of journalists in parts of Africa, and Lynch has asked a faculty union to explore whether his support for the boycott played a role. Officials at the research council said they followed their procedures.
A former University of Delaware student is suing the institution under Title IX and the Fourteenth Amendment after administrators allegedly mishandled her sexual assault complaint, court filings show. On campus for required student activities during an academic break and without university-provided housing, "Jane Doe" says she was pressured to sleep at a sophomore football player's apartment. The athlete raped her in the bed they shared that night, she said, and transmitted an incurable sexually transmitted disease. "We see this all the time with [athletes like John Doe]," she says a university health services employee told her, and the lawsuit notes that the football player had committed the crime multiple times before and after the alleged rape. The woman sought help from Assistant Dean of Students Monique N. Colclough, the suit says, and although Colclough said an assault had occurred, she did not share the student's rights as a victim or offer any protection or required services, nor did she notify police or any other administrators about the incident or pursue an investigation. Instead, she encouraged the student to seek medical leave, which the student eventually took, before transferring to another institution in poor academic standing, according to the suit. The university declined to comment.
The Obama administration has rescheduled a White House meeting with college leaders to discuss how to boost the success of low-income students in higher education.
The summit will now take place on Jan. 16, a White House official said Thursday. Leaders from higher education, philanthropy, business and city and state governments are expected to take part in the daylong event. As part of the event, the administration has been seeking voluntary commitments from colleges on how they plan to increase efforts to help low-income students.
The meeting was supposed to take place last month, but it was postponed at the last minute because of President Obama’s travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Following a vote by the leaders of the sociology department, the University of Colorado at Boulder says that Patricia Adler is clear to return to teaching her popular course on deviance. Adler has been warned last month that she needed to stop teaching the course because of concerns raised by administrators about a classroom exercise in which some assistant teaching assistants dressed as different types of prostitutes. The university gave a series of conflicting reasons for the concern about the course, which had been taught for years, with strong student reviews. Eventually, the university said that if Adler's course was reviewed, she could teach it again, and that review process is now complete. A spokesman for the university said: "Professor Adler is free to teach the course next semester if she so desires."
Adler currently has a lawyer talking to the university. She issued this statement: "Although it is gratifying that the Executive Committee in the Sociology Department has affirmed the Ad Hoc Committee’s decision to permit me to continue teaching a course that for 25 years has been held in high esteem with no reported complaints, the fact that it had to undergo this extraordinary scrutiny to reverse CU’s initial jump to judgment is a sad statement on what is occurring in universities. My case is just a small step in the fight to preserve academic freedom in universities around the globe. Many issues remain to be addressed in my ongoing relationship with the university, so my future is still unclear. I greatly appreciate the support I have received from students, faculty, and outside organizations."
China is moving to change the test that is generally the sole factor in university admissions, The Economist reported. Government officials have indicated that they want to add some subjective factors -- such as consideration of extracurricular activities -- to admissions decisions. Some educators are concerned that the current system (and possibly the new one) favor wealthier applicants. In the 1970s, half of students at prestigious Tsinghua University were from poor, rural areas. In 2010, that share was down to 17 percent.
Critics charge that the Educational Credit Management Corporation uses "ruthless" tactics to collect student loans, ignoring legitimate and serious medical issues (such as cancer) in evaluating borrowers' ability to repay, The New York Times reported. Educational Credit is the main entity used by the federal government to contest borrowers' right to try to declare bankruptcy. Officials of Educational Credit defended their analyses and its defenders say that other borrowers and taxpayers benefit when everyone repays loans.
With the Modern Language Association meeting a week away, the Internet is full of discussion about the academic job market and rumors about how the Israel boycott may or may not come up. Some people are even excited to talk about books. But there is also humor. Inspired by this tweet, a new website allows you to put in your name and receive an (unofficial) MLA name badge complete with a specialty.
I couldn't stop at one. See what research focus the website has for you.