Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors on Wednesday released a letter it sent to Middle Tennessee State University, objecting to its recent move to stop giving the titles of various ranks of professor to some full-time non-tenure-track faculty members. The university recently sent new contracts to these faculty members, saying that to keep their jobs they would have to accept new titles -- lecturer and senior lecturer. The AAUP letter says that changing terms of employment in this way, and threatening to punish those who don't accept the changes, is a "reprehensible" act.

A spokesman for the university said via e-mail that the title changes were being made at the request of the Tennessee Board of Regents, which in April informed the university that it was using job titles for non-tenure-track faculty members that were "counter" to the board's policy. "We have been working for months on this issue with several of our key faculty groups, including the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs and the Dean's Council," the spokesman said.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 4:29am

The first civil suit has been filed against Pennsylvania State University in the sex-abuse scandal that broke last month. The New York Times reported that the suit was filed by a 29-year-old man who was not one of the victims cited in the original indictments. The suit says that Jerry Sandusky abused him more than 100 times during a four-year period when he was a boy. The suit says that the abuse took place in many locations, some of them at Penn State and in one instance at a bowl game. Sandusky has denied abusing boys, but has not commented on the suit, which is against him, Penn State and a charity Sandusky founded.

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 4:32am

The District of Columbia's human rights agency has ruled that Catholic University has the right to single-sex dormitories, the Associated Press reported. A law professor at George Washington University filed a complaint about the new policy. But the agency found that men and women were treated equally under the rule. Further, the agency said that barring the single-sex facilities would set a principle that would require the banning of single-sex bathrooms and athletic teams.

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Brian Burke of Fort Lewis College reveals how the unconscious fear of death animates virtually all human action and belief. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.


 
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 4:34am

A Tennessee appeals court has ruled that Fisk University may sell a share in its modern art collection without being required to set aside much of the money gained to maintain the collection, The Tennessean reported. The financially struggling university has argued that it needs to sell some or all of the art to support other functions of the institution. But the Tennessee attorney general has challenged the sale as inconsistent with the public interest and the bequest that created the collection. It is unclear if the attorney general will appeal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 3:00am

A forthcoming study in the Journal of Sex Research documents that while college-age men think about sex a lot, they actually think about other things, too. The study -- led by Terri Fisher, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University at Mansfield -- found that the median number of times a day college-age male thinks about sex is 19. (The students were given counters to record the number of times they thought about certain things.) Sex only narrowly beat out food (the subject of thought 18 times a day). Further behind was sleep, at 11 times a day. Female college students think about all of those things too, but their daily medians were lower: 10 for sex, 15 for food and 8.5 for sleep.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 4:37am

The board of Edison State College on Tuesday placed Kenneth Walker on leave as president, and appears to be headed toward dismissing him, The Naples Daily News reported. Walker has been president for 20 years and has already taken a pay cut (he had been earning more than $800,000) and offered to retire early, but those moves have not halted demands for his ouster. The college has in recent months faced a scandal over course-swapping, complaints over an unaccredited nursing programs, and a loss of support from students and faculty members.

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 3:00am

The Institute of International Education has created an emergency fund for Thai students at American colleges who may be unable to obtain financial support from home due to the massive flooding that is devastating the country. With support from the Freeman Foundation, the IIE will provide grants of up to $5,000 to students in need of assistance to continue their studies.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 3:00am

The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance has finished its study of 15 potentially burdensome regulations, and in a final report issued Tuesday urged the Education Department to immediately review the regulations to see if suggested changes from the committee's survey are applicable. Such reviews should become routine in the future and take place at least every two years, the committee wrote.

The committee surveyed more than 2,000 higher education officials across all sectors, and convened two panels of college and university stakeholders and experts to review regulations considered potentially burdensome. The response was overwhelming: almost all of the regulations should be changed. The respondents' suggestions on how to change them are detailed in the report, but are not binding until the Education Department conducts its own review.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 3:00am

Florida's higher education governing board said Tuesday that it would begin an investigation into whether officials at Florida A&M University ignored warnings that hazing was rampant within the marching band at Florida A&M University, days after a member of the band died, an apparent hazing victim. In a letter to the chair of Florida A&M's board, Ava Parker, the chair of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, said its review would seek to determine "whether university administration took appropriate action to address the hazing activities referenced by [Julian White, the band's former director], and any hazing activities in the student population at large."

"The events surrounding the tragic death of Robert Champion and allegations by Dr. White that he received little support despite repeatedly advising current and former university administrators of hazing activities within the Marching 100 band, is of grave concern to the Board of Governors."

 

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