Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 3:00am

Boston College has told students to stop distributing condoms in dormitories, The Boston Globe reported. College officials said that condom distribution conflicts with the college's Roman Catholic values. Students say that they don't know why the college is cracking down now, given that the operation isn't new, and that the service is needed by many students.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, David Burley of Simon Fraser University explains how radiometric dating techniques are improving our understanding of exactly when the settlement of Polynesia began. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


 

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 3:00am

Central New Mexico Community College suspended its student newspaper this week after it published a sex issue, the Associated Press reported. The issue featured articles on such topics as sex toys and students' favorite sexual positions. While officials of the college said that the newspaper's content was offensive, the suspension was lifted amid widespread criticism from the student journalists and their supporters.

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 4:24am

Towson University is disputing claims -- which have received considerable local media coverage -- by the White Student Union about plans for crime patrols on campus. The White Student Union is an unrecognized group, and the university is noting that one of its leaders who has been quoted isn't and never has been a Towson student. The group says that it is starting crime patrols on campus due to what it says is an increase in crime by black people against white people. The reports of the patrols have disturbed black leaders in the area.

On Wednesday, Towson released a statement from Deb Moriarty, vice president of student affairs, and Bernie Gerst, the chief of police, noting that crime rates are low on campus, and have been going down. Further, the statement said that statistics aren't tracked by race or gender but that there is "no evidence that people are victims of crime as a result of their race." As to the activities of the White Student Union, the statement said: "We will continue to work vigorously with students who feel threatened by the proposed activities of this group to ensure their safety and to help them find their voice to take back their power from those they feel are denigrating them. Immediate action will be taken in response to any reports of verified threats to the physical safety of individuals or groups within our community. In response to the establishment of the 'WSU crime patrols' at Towson University, we do not encourage the general public to take the law into their own hands, for both their personal safety and legal protection."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 4:26am

Controversy continues to grow over an intercultural communications course at Florida Atlantic University in which students were told to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper, to fold it up and to stomp on it. A student has claimed he was suspended when he refused. The university has apologized for the exercise and said that it won't be repeated, but has said it was voluntary and that no student was punished in any way related to the class. Now Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, is calling for the state higher education system to investigate the incident and to identify or create policies to prevent such exercises from being used again, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. Scott called the exercise "intolerant to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom."

The university also issued a video statement by Charles Brown, senior vice president for student affairs, in which he said the university "deeply sorry for any hurt" caused by the exercise. He said that academic freedom must come with "a level of responsibility which we did not uphold" in the exercise. "We are truly sorry that this incident occurred," he said.

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 4:32am

A new Marist Poll of sports fans nationally has found that 67 percent of them believe that it is common practice for colleges to break National Collegiate Athletic Association rules in recruiting and training athletes. That figure is up from 55 percent in a poll last year. The study also found that only 21 percent of sports fans believe that college athletes should be paid (beyond scholarships).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has suspended an Honor Court proceeding that could charge a student for speaking out about an alleged rape, after learning that the student reportedly filed a federal complaint this week alleging retaliation. Landen Gambill learned last month that she could face penalties as severe as expulsion for “disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another.” Gambill, who is also a party to another complaint filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights – this one regarding UNC’s handling of her case and others – never publicly identified the alleged perpetrator. UNC said last month it cannot hear cases or alter verdicts of the student-run court, which no longer hears sexual assault cases.

“For several weeks, the University has grappled with how best to respond to a public claim of retaliation against the university while maintaining the autonomy and integrity of our Honor Court proceedings and the privacy of the individuals involved,” UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp wrote in a message to students, faculty and staff. “Recognizing the potential conflicts that may exist by allowing both processes to continue, we have asked the student attorney general to suspend the Honor Court proceeding pending an external review of these allegations of retaliation.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Palmer of the University of Alberta reveals a surprising find about how some barnacles reproduce. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 3:00am

The January suicide of James Aune, chair of communications at Texas A&M University and widely known scholar of rhetoric, stunned his colleagues nationwide. The suicide now appears to be related to blackmail, The Houston Chronicle reported. A Louisiana man has been charged with a scam in which he took nude photographs of a female relative, started a sexually explicit online relationship with Aune in which the man posed as the relative, and then pretended to be the father of an underage girl with whom Aune was allegedly corresponding. The man -- Daniel Duplaisir -- then demanded that Aune pay him, threatening to otherwise tell officials at Texas A&M that Aune had been engaged in an online sexual relationship with a girl. On the morning that Aune killed himself, Duplaisir sent a demand that the payments start within three hours or "the calls start." A minute before he jumped to his death, Aune sent Duplaisir a message: "Killing myself now. And u will be prosecuted for blackmail."

 

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 3:00am

Mark Brixey, the former bookstore director of Missouri State University, admitted in court Tuesday that he stole $1.16 million from the institution, The News-Leader reported. Brixey made the admission in pleading guilty to charges of wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. The university expects to recover most of the money, largely due to an employee theft insurance policy.

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