Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

Colleges should not retaliate against students who raise a civil rights complaint – either with an individual institution or with the federal government – The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent out last week. “Discriminatory practices are often only raised and remedied when students, parents, teachers, coaches, and others can report such practices to school administrators without the fear of retaliation,” the letter reads. “Individuals should be commended when they raise concerns about compliance with the Federal civil rights laws, not punished for doing so.”

In February, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student said the campus judicial filed charges against her after she spoke out about her rape and what she said was a flawed Honor Court hearing. Administrators initially said they couldn’t intervene because the court is student-run, but UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp suspended the proceedings the following month when the student filed a federal complaint alleging retaliation.

It’s been a little over two years since OCR began cracking down on sexual assault with a dear colleague letter reminding colleges of their responsibilities to address the issue under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In recent months, students have filed Title IX complaints regarding sexual discrimination and subsequent mistreatment by their universities at a handful of institutions, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College and Swarthmore University.

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

French studies is fading at many Canadian universities outside of Quebec, The Globe and Mail reported. Relatively few students are signing up for the programs, the article said, and budget cuts have led universities to close or shrink programs with low enrollments.


Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

After three judicial losses, Quinnipiac University has agreed to retain all of its women’s sports, settling a lawsuit that began in 2011 alleging that the institution violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 when it attempted to cut volleyball and replaced it with competitive cheerleading. The settlement mandates that the university keep volleyball for at least three more years, and add more women’s scholarships and other benefits, including facilities improvements and full-time coaches. A federal judge first ruled that replacing volleyball with competitive cheerleading violated Title IX in July 2010 because the latter did not qualify as a varsity sport and thus, the university was not providing equal athletic opportunities for women. A U.S. Court of Appeals reaffirmed that ruling in August, and just last month, a federal judge ruled that Quinnipiac had made some progress toward coming into compliance with Title IX but not enough to lift the injunction that prevented Quinnipiac from eliminating volleyball.

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 3:00am

A California judge ruled Friday that Patrick Harran, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, must stand trial on charges in a lab fire the caused the death of his assistant in 2008, The Los Angeles Times reported. He had sought to have the judge dismiss felony charges of violating state health and safety rules. Harran, backed by the university, has maintained that the death was the result of a tragic accident, not any violations of law.


Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:27am

When it comes to fighting terrorism, Canadian prime minister wants a law and order approach, not social science. The arrest of immigrants to Canada in a plot to attack a train from Canada to New York City has led to some Liberal Party politicians calling for efforts to understand why some people embrace terrorist ideologies. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party, is having none of it. It comments that have attracted widespread attention, he said: "In terms of radicalization, this is obviously something we follow. Our security agencies work with each other and with others around the globe to track people who are threats to Canada and to watch threats that may evolve. I think though, this is not a time to commit sociology, if I can use an expression," The Ottawa Citizen reported.


Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

Pearson VUE, which operates a worldwide network of testing centers for various exams, has been experiencing significant technical problems this week.  The company's Facebook page features numerous comments from people unable to take their scheduled exams or to get information about when they will be able to do so. Some people are posting stories of how hours-long delays likely affected their performance on exams that are crucial to their careers. On the Facebook page, Pearson indicates that it is aware of the problems and is trying to fix them.

"We are continuing our efforts to restore normal service as quickly as possible. We are in the midst of implementing recommendations by our internal and external technology experts, but it is too soon to know how quickly this will improve system performance. Please note that there will likely be additional variations in system performance as we implement these changes," says a statement posted Thursday evening. "We fully appreciate that many of you have been significantly impacted by the circumstances over the past several days, and we will increase testing capacity and operational support to accommodate scheduling and/or rescheduling of those affected as quickly as possible once normal system performance is restored."

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Neil McLachlan of the University of Melbourne reveals the learned nature of pleasing music. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:29am

St. Louis Community College is facing tough criticism for the way it responded to an incident in which, officials acknowledge, in which a female student was assaulted in a women's room, and being held in a headlock until her cries for help prompted others to come to her assistance, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The suspect in the case, also a student, was initially released with a verbal warning to stay off campus. (He has since been arrested.) In addition, the college didn't warn other students about the attack. Myrtle E. B. Dorsey, chancellor of the community college, has issued a letter apologizing for the failure to notify the campus of the attack, and indicating that the college will review its procedures for expelling students.


Friday, April 26, 2013 - 4:36am

A fraternity video in which a student appeared in blackface has sparked outrage at the University of California at Irvine, CBS Los Angeles reported. The student in blackface is portraying the rapper Jay-Z, and the video was made to welcome new members of the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity. “We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone whatsoever," said the fraternity's president. "On behalf of my brothers who were involved in the video, know that it was unintentional. But unintentional or not we do know that it was wrong."

Friday, April 26, 2013 - 3:00am
  • Tracy Bicknell-Holmes, head of the Engineering Library and Patent & Trademark Resource Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, has been appointed as dean of Albertsons Library at Boise State University, in Idaho.
  • Terri M. Carbaugh, interim director of state and federal relations at Sacramento State University, in California, has been selected as associate vice president for legislative and external relations at California State University at Long Beach.
  • Timothy Hoff, associate professor of health policy and management at the State University of New York at Albany, has been named associate professor of management, healthcare systems and health policy at Northeastern University, in Massachusetts.
  • Matteel Jones, vice president for student affairs at Technical College of the Lowcountry, in South Carolina, has been selected as vice president for student services at Greenville Technical College, also in South Carolina.
  • John Keith, associate research scholar at Princeton University, in New Jersey, has been appointed as assistant professor and R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • James A. Larimore, deputy director for student success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been chosen as dean of students at Amherst College.

The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes and promotions, please click here.


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