Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 28, 2014

South Carolina State University is running out of money, and lacks the funds to make payroll next month, The Times and Democrat reported. Officials said the university nearly was unable to make payroll this month, but was saved by a commission check from Sodexo, the dining services contractor, which nearly didn't get paid because the university owes Sodexo $2.3 million. The historically black university is appealing to the General Assembly for $13.6 million for current bills and those about to be faced by the institution.

April 28, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, D.J. Pisano, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at West Virginia University, explains his studies of the chemical elements present in space to unlock mysteries of the universe. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 28, 2014

Brown University President Christina H. Paxson on Saturday released a statement pledging that the university was committed to preventing sexual assaults of students and punishing any who commit sexual assault. She also said that the university was reviewing its policies. "We are committed to taking aggressive steps to ensure that our campus is safe for everyone and as part of that, policies and procedures designed to keep our campus safe must be open to continuous review," Paxson wrote. "Such a review was already planned for the coming academic year. We are accelerating that review and it will include significant input from students."

The letter came amid widespread criticism of the university for suspending but not expelling a student found guilty of sexual misconduct. The story has led to campus protest and social media groups accusing Brown of, in effect, going easy on a rapist. The accused student, who had been planning to return to Brown and how has insisted that the sexual incident involved was consensual, announced Saturday that he does not plan to return to the university.

 

April 28, 2014

A New York State elementary school has called off the traditional kindergarten show held at the end of the academic year. The reason, The Washington Post reported, was that officials said that they needed the time to help make their young charges "college and career ready."

April 28, 2014

Faculty members at the University of Michigan have issued an open letter arguing that administrators' salaries have skyrocketed in recent years, while pay for professors has increased only modestly, MLive reported. The letter calls for a full investigation of the issue. A spokesman for the university said officials would investigate.

 

April 28, 2014

Students at Illinois State University are protesting a $480,418 payout to Timothy Flanagan, who served as president for seven months before agreeing with board members that he should leave, The Chicago Tribune reported. He left amid an investigation of a confrontation with a grounds worker, although board members and Flanagan have (by mutual agreement) been silent over the reasons for his departure. Critics are questioning why, if it was appropriate for him to leave, he should get so much money. Students have carried signs at protests saying "Would you pay me to drop out?" and "Flanagan check = 10 full rides."

April 28, 2014

A new law school at Canada's Trinity Western University, in British Columbia, appeared to have won all necessary approvals last year to start -- despite criticism from human rights groups about the university's policy of barring students from having non-heterosexual sex. But a new round of opposition has emerged. Critics have gathered enough signatures on a petition to force a new vote by the Law Society of British Columbia, whose council had approved accreditation of the law school, The Globe and Mail reported. A vote by the larger membership could go the other way. And even if the law school holds on to its accreditation for British Columbia, its graduates will not be able to practice law in Ontario because that province's legal society voted Friday against recognition, CBC News reported. Nova Scotia's legal society has taken a similar position, although it also stated explicitly that if Trinity Western ends discrimination against gay people, its law school can be accredited so that its graduates could work in the province.

 

 

April 25, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Anne Murphy, associate professor of neuroscience at Georgia State University, observes the relationship between pain felt as an infant and the related long-term effects. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 25, 2014

Two Seton Hill University field hockey players alleged in a lawsuit that they were psychologically and physically abused by three coaches, and that administrators failed to stop it, the Tribune-Review reported. The suit, which targets the coaches and several administrators, says the players were forced to practice in the dark, called "losers" and ridiculed in public, and mocked for their athletic performance. In one instance, the suit says, Head Coach Whitney Harness threw a water bottle at a player. The athletes' attorney says she spoke with administrators about the problems last fall, but no action was taken and the coaches remain at the the Division II university.

In a statement, a Seton Hill spokeswoman disputed that administrators ignored the abuse, and said the university did investigate the matter. "As a result of that investigation, measures were taken to address the unprofessional and ineffective conduct," the statement says. "While the investigation was closed, the administration continues to monitor the situation and work closely with the coaches and student-athletes involved."

This is the latest in a string of public allegations of bullying or abuse by female coaches.

April 25, 2014

Three dozen students picketed the admissions office at Smith College Thursday to demand a change in the institution's policy with regard to transgender students, The Republican reported. Smith does not discriminate against transgender students once they are enrolled, but the college only admits women. The protest called for Smith to admit those who may be listed as male on their high school transcripts but have been living as women. Here is how Smith explains its admissions policy with regard to transgender applicants: "An application from a transgender student is treated no differently from other applications: every application Smith receives is considered on a case-by-case basis. Like most women’s colleges, Smith expects that, to be eligible for review, a student’s application and supporting documentation (transcripts, recommendations, etc.) will reflect her status as a woman."

 

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