Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The Florida Atlantic University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine angered many at the institution by placing fake eviction notices (complete with a county seal, but also a notice that they were not real) on several hundred dormitory rooms. Several student groups said that it was unfair to use people's room doors as a political platform without the permission of those who live there. The student group did not respond to questions, but has told local reporters that the eviction notices were designed to draw attention to the way Israel treats Palestinians. Pro-Israel groups meanwhile said that the student group was distorting Israeli policy.

Charles L. Brown, senior vice president for student affairs at the university, issued a statement that said that "the distribution of printed material on university property is subject to FAU policy and regulation. These policies require that printed material be distributed only at reasonable times and places and in reasonable manners. These policies are designed to ensure that the manner in which material is distributed is consistent with the educational mission of the University, its uninterrupted orderly operation, the safety of the university community, and the protection of university property and that of its students, faculty and staff. The recent mock eviction postings did not comply with the policies of University Housing and Residential Life or the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership concerning the distribution of printed material, and therefore the postings were removed."

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:32am

Jack Scott, chancellor of California's community college system, on Wednesday called the president of Santa Monica College to ask him to put on hold a controversial plan to start charging more for some high-demand academic programs, The Los Angeles Times reported. Scott also told the Santa Monica president, Chui L. Tsang, of concerns over the clash campus police had with students during a protest Tuesday, a clash in which pepper spray was used. Scott said he told Tsang that the believed the plan violated state education codes and also could deny access to some low-income students. He also said he was worried about the plan setting a precedent others might follow. Santa Monica officials said that they would consider the chancellor's request. "The president will discuss it with the board to get a sense of where they stand," said a Santa Monica spokesman. "He listened to what the chancellor had to say but was noncommittal. No decision has been made at this point."

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:34am

A new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that students in states with greater levels of income inequality are more likely to engage in academic dishonesty. The study examined the rates at which people in different states conduct Google searches for topics such as "buy term paper," and found more such searches in states with more income inequality. Lukas Neville, a doctoral student at Queen's University, in Canada, said that the study was based on the idea that trusting environment promote honest behavior and that income inequality may be associated with environments that lack trust.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:37am

New York University, which named the former president of Swarthmore College to lead NYU Abu Dhabi, has named another former campus leader to head NYU Shanghai. This morning NYU named Jeffrey S. Lehman, chancellor and founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law, to lead the Shanghai campus, which will be a full, degree-awarding institution enrolling its first undergraduate class in 2013. The law school Lehman has led in China is the first in that country to teach an American style J.D. curriculum. Formerly, Lehman was president of Cornell University and dean of the law school at the University of Michigan.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Christopher Schmidt-Nowara of Tufts University reveals how the institution of slavery came to an end in Latin America. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Howard University is conducting an internal investigation into possible National Collegiate Athletic Association rules violations, and the institution has “temporarily withheld a number of student-athletes from competition,” a Howard spokeswoman, Kerry-Ann Hamilton, said Wednesday. But "most teams will compete as scheduled," she added. That statement was sent to Inside Higher Ed after it inquired about a Washington City Paper blog post quoting Hamilton as saying “intercollegiate athletic competition” -- in other words, all 17 of Howard’s teams -- had been suspended.

Because programs can be punished for letting players compete when they had indications that the athletes may have been involved in a violation that would render them ineligible, it’s standard procedure for colleges to suspend anyone who may have been involved in the violation and then ask the NCAA to reinstate them later. But it would be rare for a university to suspend all of its teams, and a sign that officials are unsure just how widespread the potential violations were. The City Paper reported Wednesday that, according to a member of the bowling team, the university allowed athletes to spend unused textbook voucher money on whatever else they wanted, which would constitute a rules violation. That student also said Howard will not allow any athletes to register for classes until they repay any money improperly spent. Hamilton could not comment on those assertions, nor could she provide further details.

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, on Tuesday signed legislation to bar medical marijuana from college and university campuses, The East Valley Tribune reported. The state's voters in 2010 approved the legalization of medical marijuana, and Brewer has vowed to limit that measure as much as possible. Critics of the new law say that the state can't modify the 2010 vote, and suggest that they will challenge the law in court.

 

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 3:00am

Three buildings at the University of Pittsburgh were evacuated Wednesday due to bomb threats, the latest in a series of threats that have frustrated just about everyone on the campus, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. PItt has had 16 bomb threats since late February. The university is receiving Federal Bureau of Investigation help in investigating the threats.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department has told Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, in Indiana, to repay $42 million in grant and loans funds that the agency says the college was not eligible to award, the Associated Press reported. The department said that the college classified many students as being in telecommunications courses when their proper category was correspondence courses. The aid and loan funds provided are not permitted at institutions with a large share of students in correspondence courses. College officials said that they had done nothing wrong and would challenge the finding.

 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 3:00am

Professors at the University of Ottawa, in Canada, want the right to bar laptops from their classrooms, CTV Ottawa News reported. Marcel Turcotte, one of the professors pushing the idea, said of his students: "They are distracted and we are competing with that for their attention.... You see one student who is really not listening, would be watching the video and then it's kind of contagious." A faculty vote is planned for May.

 

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