Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 24, 2013

Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanian poet who taught creative writing and African literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was among those killed in the terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya. Awoornor was also a Stony Brook alumnus.

September 24, 2013

The State University of New York has toughened admissions requirements for the teacher preparation programs on 17 of its campuses. To enter an undergraduate major or a graduate program, a Graduate Record Examination or equivalent test will now be required, as only some campuses have done in the past. There will also for the first time be a uniform 3.0 grade-point-average requirement (such requirements also varied by campus). The 3.0 would apply to the first two years of college work for undergraduate programs that accept students as juniors, to high school grades for programs that accept freshmen, and to undergraduate work for graduate programs.

September 23, 2013

Don Samuelson, a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Florida, has been charged by authorities with digital voyeurism for using a camera pen to secretly record the body parts of several of his female students, The Gainesville Sun reported. A police report said that Samuelson confessed, and said he made the videos of women's chests and thighs for his own enjoyment.

September 23, 2013

George Washington University removed from its sexual assault policy the two-year statute of limitations for filing formal complaints with the university, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday. The GW Hatchet reported that student government leaders had protested the policy. Some universities enforce such statutes to encourage quicker reporting, but since the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights started cracking down on sexual assault issues in 2011, some colleges have opted to eliminate or extend theirs.

September 23, 2013

The Cornell University men's lacrosse team was placed on “temporary suspension” after a hazing incident involving “coerced alcohol consumption by underaged freshmen,” spokesman John J. Carberry said Friday. All fall competitions have been canceled, but the team, which made the sport’s Final Four in last year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, will continue training and practicing “in accordance with sanction guidelines,” according to a university statement. Cornell’s president, David J. Skorton, has been outspoken about hazing issues, and in 2011 said the university would eliminate pledging in its Greek system in hopes of ending the practice. 

September 23, 2013

Adam Ackley says he is in danger of losing his job as a professor of systematic theology at Azusa Pacific University for identifying himself as a man, and telling administrators that he is transgender, ABC 7 News reported. The Christian university had known him as a woman for the 15 years he has taught there. The university released this statement to ABC 7: "University leadership is engaged in thoughtful conversations with our faculty member in order to honor the contribution and treat all parties with dignity and respect while upholding the values of the university. It is an ongoing conversation, and therefore, a confidential matter."

Students have organized a petition that says the treatment of Ackley has raised concerns for many others. "Adam Ackley, a beloved theology professor of 15 years, was 'asked to step down' from his position as a professor at Azusa Pacific University due to his recent openness about his identity as a transgender man," the petition says. "This event has sparked fear and anger within the LGBTQ and Ally community of APU. We stand in solidarity with Adam, and strive to create a safer environment for students and faculty who have been marginalized by APU's conservative policies, as well as those who have been victims of spiritual violence on campus."

 

September 23, 2013

Harvard University on Saturday announced the launch of a $6.5 billion fund-raising campaign, the largest ever in higher education. To date, the university has raised $2.8 billion in the "quiet phase" of the drive. Stanford University completed a $6.2 billion campaign last year and the University of Southern California is in the midst of a $6 billion effort.

September 23, 2013

The University of Alabama at Tusaloosa announced Friday that four black women and two other minority women will be joining the university's all-white sororities. The university has been engaged in an intense debate (and been subject to national criticism) following an article in the student newspaper about how black women have been rejected by the sororities -- sometimes at the behest of alumnae. The university first announced that sororities had agreed to a new system in which they could extend "bid" offers at any time of year, not just during the traditional rush period.

The university on Friday posted a video by President Judy Bonner in which she said that sororities had extended 72 of these new non-rush bids in the last week, with 11 bids going to black women and 3 to other minority women. In addition to the six minority bids that have been accepted, she said, others were being considered and might yet be accepted. She added that some sororities "are farther along than others" in desegregating.

 

September 23, 2013

Supporters of Cheyney University, a public historically black college in Pennsylvania, will announce today that they plan to sue the state unless certain conditions are met. The supporters argue that the state has failed to meet its obligations to support and enhance Cheyey. Specifically, they say that the state needs to revise its funding formula to focus less on enrollment because Cheyney's relatively low enrollment has led it to raise tuition, which in turn has made it difficult to recruit more students. Further, the group will demand that the university be protected from austerity measures currently being imposed in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, of which Cheyney is a part.

 

September 23, 2013

Rutgers University has rewritten parts of its alma mater, "On the Banks of the Old Raritan," to make it gender-neutral, The Star-Ledger reported. The alma mater -- 140 years old -- used to begin with "My father sent me to old Rutgers / And resolv'd that I should be a man." Those lines have been replaced with "From far and near we came to Rutgers/ And resolved to learn all that we can."

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