American research universities are coming under increasing cyberattacks, most likely from China, forcing them to step up security, The New York Times reported. The article cites institutions facing as many as 100,000 hacking attempts a day, and quotes an Educause official saying that the attacks have "outpaced our ability to respond."
Higher Education Quick Takes
Kent State University's former men's basketball coach breached his contract when he left the institution for a job at Bradley University in 2011, an Ohio judge ruled Tuesday in awarding Kent State $1.2 million, The Akron Beacon-Journal reported. The $1.2 million award would cover the four years (at a salary of $300,000) that were remaining on Geno Ford's contract when he left a year after his deal had been renegotiated. Ohio's attorney general, Mike DeWine, said in a news release that “Ohio’s public colleges and universities have a duty to students and taxpayers to be wise stewards of tuition and taxpayer moneys.”
Kent State is also suing Bradley for its role in Ford's hiring.
The State University of New York Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to spin off the nanotechnology college at the system's Albany to create a freestanding institution, despite some members' concerns about the move, the Albany Times-Union reported. Supporters of the move, including SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and a panel she had appointed, said that allowing Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to become an independent, degree-granting institution would better allow the nanotechnology program to achieve its goals. Three trustees opposed the move for a range of reasons, which comes as SUNY has sought (with mixed success) to streamline administrative costs by combining leadership of some campuses.
David H. Petraeus, the former military leader and ex-director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will be paid $1 for a course he plans to teach at the honors college of the City University of New York, The New York Times reported. Word that he was to be paid $200,000 infuriated many faculty members and politicians. Petraeus declined to comment, but his lawyer told the Times that "once controversy arose about the amount he was being paid, he decided it was much more important to keep the focus on the students, on the school and on the teaching, and not have it be about the money."
Students have ended a long-term occupation of the president's office at Cooper Union, reaching an agreement with the administration. The occupation was designed to protest the decision to start charging tuition at what for many years had been a free institution. Cooper Union officials have said that they have no financial alternative. A joint statement of the administration and the protesting students did not indicate that tuition would be abandoned. However it said that "a working group will be established promptly to undertake a good faith effort to seek an alternative to tuition that will sustain the institution’s long-term financial viability and strengthen its academic excellence." Further, the administration pledged to add student representation to the board, to create a community space for students and to grant amnesty for violating Cooper Union policies during the occupation. In the future, "occupiers and all present at this meeting commit to complying with, and cooperating with the enforcement of, all laws and Cooper Union policies," said the agreement that ended the occupation.
Chulalongkorn University has apologized for a billboard featuring Hitler alongside various superheroes, ABC News reported. The billboard was up for several days, with some students reportedly saluting the Hitler image. The university said that the image was created by students unaware of why it would be offensive to so many people.
The killing last year of Trayvon Martin sparked protests at numerous campuses. The controversial verdict clearing his shooter came during the summer, a time that campuses typically do not see as many protests as they do in the fall and spring semesters, but students at a number of campuses -- especially at historically black colleges -- have organized protests. Students from Central State University, in Ohio; Howard University and California State University at Long Beach have held protests, as have those at several Florida colleges.
Robert Barchi, the new president of Rutgers University, already under fire for athletic scandals, is now receiving scrutiny for his corporate ties. The Record reported that he is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to serve on the advisory boards of two private companies that do business with Rutgers. The Rutgers board approved the arrangement and Barchi said he does not involve himself in university decisions involving the two companies. But some ethics experts said that the arrangements still raised issues about conflicts of interest.
Swarthmore College will be the latest to face an investigation by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for possible violations of federal law, OCR announced Friday. Students complaints filed under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Clery Act allege that administrators mishandled cases of sexual assault, underreported statistics, and retaliated against students, the Huffington Post reported. On Monday, students who helped prompt recent complaints at Swarthmore and other campuses nationwide rallied outside the department’s offices in Washington, urging OCR and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to better enforce Title IX.