Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 6, 2012 - 4:28am

Chicago State University has told its faculty members that they can't talk to the press without permission from university officials, and that permission may be required for various other forms of communication, including writing opinion pieces and using social media, The Chicago Tribune reported. An e-mail message Sabrina Land, the university's director of marketing and communications, sent to faculty members said that the new rules would assure that communications were "strategically deployed" in a way that "safeguards the reputation, work product and ultimately, the students" of the university. Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, told the Tribune that the new policy "is an obscenity and absurdity and is not tolerable."

 

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team will have to sit out the 2012-13 postseason, after it failed in its final effort to appeal a National Collegiate Athletic Association decision that banned the team from the tournament because of poor academic performance. The team is ineligible because it didn’t reach the (newly raised) minimum NCAA Academic Progress Rate of 930, which would indicate that half its players were on track to graduate. That measurement is a cumulative one, meaning the APR that got Connecticut banned from the 2013 tournament actually reflects the academic performance of players on the team from 2007-11. Connecticut appealed to an NCAA committee after its initial request for a waiver was denied in February.

The university issued a statement Thursday pointing to the improved academic performance of its past two men’s basketball teams. “It is disturbing that our current players must pay a penalty for the academic performance of students no longer enrolled,” Connecticut President Susan Herbst said in the statement. “As I have said repeatedly, no educator or parent purposefully punishes young people for the failings of others.”

This is the first year the NCAA has issued postseason bans for poor APR scores. The new rule is part of a series of Division I reform efforts that NCAA President Mark Emmert pushed through in October.

Friday, April 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut explains the biochemistry of highly targeted chemotherapy drugs. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

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.

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.

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