Higher Education Quick Takes
The vice chancellor (the equivalent of president) of the University of Queensland and his top deputy have announced plans to resign their positions amid a scandal over an admissions irregularity at the Australian institution. The official statement from the university praised both officials but said that they offered their resignations after an inquiry "confirmed an irregularity had occurred in the admission process for a student." While the statement said that no specific act of wrongdoing was attributed to the student or the senior officials, they still said that they would quit. The Australian reported that the student was a relative of Paul Greenfield, the vice chancellor who is resigning, and that this relative was admitted to a medical program. The newspaper also reported that a second investigation has started -- this one focusing on the admission to the dental school of the husband of an academic at the university.
An Abilene Christian University bus crashed Friday, killing a student and injuring 15 other students and faculty members, the Associated Press reported. The group was traveling to do service work at a children's home. The driver was a faculty member who apparently lost control of the bus as it was entering a bend.
The California State University System is facing a period of dramatic change in campus leadership, The Los Angeles Times reported. Five long-serving presidents have announced retirement plans. Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the system since 1998, said he couldn't remember a time when the system had as many presidential openings, and that there may be additional retirements within a year. The campuses where presidents have announced that they will retire are the Cal State institutions in Fullerton, Northridge, San Bernardino and San Francisco, and the California Maritime Academy.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is facing questions and criticism over its decision on Friday to remove from its Facebook page comments about the strike by faculty members at the institution. The university removed the comments after a number were posted that urged officials to settle the strike or that expressed sympathy with the faculty members. Rod Sievers, a spokesman for the university, said that the university noticed some comments that were "profane" or were "personal attacks," and that some of the comments were "pretty vile." He said that campus officials initially tried to delete only that type of material, but that the university has only a single person to monitor the Facebook page. "That person couldn't keep up with the profanity and personal attacks. So the university had to stop all comments," Sievers said.
The University of Colorado Board of Regents plans to reconsider a policy that generally allows tenured faculty members who are fired to remain on payroll for a year, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. It is rare for tenured faculty members to be fired, so the policy is rarely invoked, but the pay rule attracted attention when Ward Churchill was fired as an ethnic studies professor at the Boulder campus and he collected about $96,000 in salary after his dismissal. Under the shift being proposed, the board could determine whether a fired professor should be paid, and the board would consider recommendations on the issue from a faculty committee.
The presidents of public universities in Illinois have issued a joint letter opposing a pension reform plan that would give their faculty members -- and other state employees -- the option of paying more for current benefit levels, or of receiving smaller payments at various points in the future, The Pantagraph reported. "Reducing (faculty) benefits or forcing them to pay significantly more for benefits that were promised to them is likely to cause a significant migration of talented people out of this state," said the letter from the presidents. A spokeswoman for the legislator who came up with the plan said that "we encourage the university presidents and chancellors to tap into the talent at their universities and offer solutions, not just resistance."
A ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court last week seems likely to hurt the fight by some student newspapers in Virginia to keep running alcohol advertisements, the Associated Press reported. The newspapers are fighting state regulations banning such ads, arguing that that many of the papers' readers are in fact of legal drinking age. A federal judge considering the case asked the Virginia Supreme Court to consider the definition in the state of a college newspaper. The court ruled that newspapers can still be considered college publications, even if a majority of readers are 21 and older, if the primary intended audience is younger.
Tullisse (Toni) Murdock announced Thursday that she will retire as chancellor of Antioch University at the end of the academic year. Murdock was praised by board leaders for her leadership in a time of many changes for the university, but her positions have frequently been controversial. Murdock was widely criticized by supporters of Antioch College after the university's decision to shut the college down (the college has since been revived but is no longer part of the university that grew around it). More recently, she has clashed with board members of the Los Angeles campus. In many of the controversies she has faced, Murdock has argued that she was making tough, necessary decisions -- while critics have said she was not sufficiently open to autonomy for various parts of the university system.
Stanford University's Graduate School of Business is today announcing the creation of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies with a $150 million gift from Dorothy and Robert King. The institute will seek to stimulate, develop, and disseminate research and innovations that enable entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing economies. The Kings have made a $100 million gift to fund the institute, and they will provide an additional $50 million in matching funds, with the goal of creating a $200 million fund for the new program.