Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Friday, October 28, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Idaho on Thursday revealed that it had received multiple complaints about Ernesto Bustamante, the psychology professor who killed himself this year shortly after killing a graduate student with whom he had a relationship, the Associated Press reported. The university on Thursday released extensive documents about Bustamante and also announced it was reviewing its policies on relationships between faculty members and students. Bustamante told the university he was bipolar shortly after he was hired, but he also indicated that he was receiving appropriate treatment and medication. Duane Nellis, the university president, said at a press briefing that the university cannot dismiss people for being bipolar. "We, as an institution when we hire people, we’re not allowed to ask for medical conditions, or anything like that," Nellis said. "Bipolar is something that’s certainly treatable."

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 3:00am

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Skolkovo Foundation and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (known as SkTech) announced Wednesday that they would jointly create a new graduate research university in Russia. The new university will offer graduate degrees in these fields:

  • Energy science and technology
  • Biomedical science and technology
  • Information science and technology
  • Space science and technology
  • Nuclear science and technology
Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 3:00am

A federal judge on Wednesday extended a restraining order barring Linn State Technical College from going ahead with its plan to test all new students for illegal drugs, the Associated Press reported. Judge Nanette Laughrey, while not issuing a final ruling on the legality of the plan, suggested it will run into trouble. Students, backed by civil liberties groups, are challenging the drug-testing plan.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 3:00am

Israel is experiencing a growth in private master's programs -- which receive no government support -- at otherwise government-funded universities, Haaretz reported. In the last six years, the number of such programs has increased from 26 to 51. The programs charge much higher tuition than the rest of the universities that house them, and proponents say that these offerings help provide funds for the rest of higher education. But critics say the growth of these programs is creating a two-tiered system, where those who can afford to pay more get better access to high-demand programs than do other students.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 4:32am

A federal judge has rejected a conservative student group's suit against the University of Wisconsin at Madison over student fees, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. The conservative students noted that a similar liberal group had received funds, but the judge noted that subsequent to the suit being filed, the liberal group's funding was ended. If there is evidence in the future of viewpoint discrimination, the judge said, the conservative group could sue again.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 4:37am

Southern University at Baton Rouge is ending Friday classes next semester, condensing the course schedule to a four-day week, The Advocate reported. The move is expected to save money on utility costs in classroom buildings, while freeing up more time for student advising and faculty office hours on Friday. Employees will all still be required to work on Fridays.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 4:40am

In the year since a student at the University of Notre Dame died when the aerial lift on which he was making videos of practices for the football team fell, many colleges and universities have changed their policies on the use of such lifts, the Associated Press reported. Some universities -- including Notre Dame -- have stopped using the lifts, which were designed for construction sites, not football fields. Others have continued their use but have issued new policies, such as barring their use on particularly windy days.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Mary Beth Norton of Cornell University explains why the Salem witchcraft crisis was statistically more dangerous for men who found themselves accused than it was for women. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

You may have heard that Smith College was about to ban meat from campus, but don't worry about it -- just present a good argument. That's because the report that the college was going to ban meat and non-locally produced food was never true, but was a rumor started by two professors who teach a course on logic, and who like to spread semi-outrageous rumors to teach lessons about how to make arguments, The Boston Globe reported. Many Smith students believed the rumors and were outraged by the prospect of losing meat options and that staple of most college students, coffee (which isn't grown in New England).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 3:00am

The College Board and the Educational Testing Service have hired a top security firm to review SAT security, and the two organizations will consider any changes that inquiry recommends, the Associated Press reported. The news came Tuesday at a New York State legislative hearing on SAT security, scheduled in the wake of arrests of Long Island students charged with having someone else take the SAT in their names. Lawmakers have suggested that security needs more scrutiny, noting that one of the students arrested was a woman who is alleged to have had a man take her exam.

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