Lake Superior State University has released its annual list of "Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness." This year's list features several from politics and economics ("occupy," "the new normal," "shared sacrifice"), others from pop culture ("man cave," "baby bump") and others misused in all kinds of circumstances ("amazing," "ginormous"). The complete list may be found here.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit last week revived a lawsuit against Carolyn Jones, a University of Iowa law professor who was dean at the time of the incidents in the suit, by a woman who says she was not hired for several faculty jobs because of her political views. The woman who sued, Teresa R. Wagner, is a conservative who has worked with an anti-abortion group. Her suit noted that only 1 of the 50 faculty members at the law school is a registered Republican, and that she was advised not to tell a search committee that she had applied for a job at the Ave Maria School of Law because that institution is seen as conservative. The appeals court did not weigh in on the merits of Wagner's case, but said that there was enough evidence -- when viewed in the ways most favorable to her, as is the legal standard at that stage of a lawsuit -- that a lower court should not have dismissed the case. An Iowa spokesman declined to discuss the case with local reporters, saying that university policy bars discussion of current litigation.
Rick Santorum, who is trying to pull off an upset win in the Iowa caucuses for the Republican presidential nomination, is making higher education a target. In a speech in Mason City, Iowa, Santorum said that it is time to examine support for higher education, the Associated Press reported. "Let's look at colleges and universities," he said. "They've become indoctrination centers for the left. Should we be subsidizing that?" He also criticized Harvard University. Noting that its motto is "Veritas," he said that "they haven't seen truth at Harvard in 100 years."
Colorado Christian University on Thursday became the second institution to sue the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private employers cover birth control in their health plans or pay a fine. “The government’s Mandate unconstitutionally coerces Colorado Christian to violate its deeply-held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines and penalties,” the lawsuit says.
It adds that the health care overhaul legislation “forces” the university to “fund government-dictated speech…. Because the government acted with full knowledge of those beliefs, and because it allows plans not to cover these services for a wide range of reasons other than [sic] religion, the Mandate can be interpreted as nothing other than a deliberate attack by the government on the religious beliefs of Colorado Christian and millions of other Americans.” (In some cases, the legislation allows exceptions based on the employer size or the age of the plan, the lawsuit says.)
Colorado Christian’s action follows a similar complaint filed last month by Belmont Abbey College. That lawsuit also alleged that the contraception requirement violates the university’s First Amendment rights. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed both suits on behalf of the universities.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday hastily withdrew a policy change that would have allowed the agency to deduct from its tuition payments to colleges any debts that student veterans owed the government from their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. The approach, which college officials had learned about this week via e-mail from a regional office of the veterans' agency, caused immediate consternation among campus veterans' education administrators and others, who feared they would then be put in the awkward position of becoming the government's debt collectors from their own students. "[T]he school will get shorted money and be expected to recoup it from the Veterans," one administrator wrote on a listserv for veterans' officials. "This is going to make the schools VERY mad."
A spokesman for the veterans' agency said in a statement late Thursday: “System changes installed this week allowed for collection of Post-9/11 Bill debts from all education benefit payments issued to or on behalf of the student. However, because these changes had not been fully vetted, they have been withdrawn effective today.”
- Elaine Delk, executive director of community relations at Richland School District Two, in South Carolina, has been selected as executive director of development at Newberry College, also in South Carolina.
- Eric Jones, interim dean of students at Central College, in Iowa, has been promoted to director of academic resources and class dean there.
- Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, has been named vice president for enrollment management and marketing there.
- Theodore (Ted) Rappaport, William and Bettye Nowlin Chair of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has been named David Lee/Ernst Weber Chair of Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.
Jacaranda Van Rheenen, postdoctoral recruiter for academic programs in biomedical sciences at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in Tennessee, has been chosen as assistant dean for graduate academic affairs at Washington University in St. Louis.
The appointments above are drawn from Inside Higher Ed's job changes database. To submit news about job changes, please click here.
Lincoln Memorial University's law school on Thursday sued the American Bar Association, charging that its decision this week to deny accreditation to the school violated federal antitrust laws and denied it due process. The law school argues that it met all of the accreditor's standards and that the ABA acted against it to protect its current members from competition.
Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford University education professor, was on Wednesday named winner of the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education. She was honored for her 2010 book, The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda's president, has been giving speeches around his country calling for students to stop taking courses in "non-marketable" subjects such as literature and conflict resolution, Voice of America reported. In one recent talk, he said: "The problem is not jobs, the jobs are there. What is crucial are the skills. There has been a course at Makarere [University] called Conflict Resolution. OK, but what will you do when the conflicts are finished? This unemployment you are talking about. Is it unemployment or is it employability? Is it that you are unemployed, or is it that you are not employable because you have got skills which are not needed on the market?" Faculty members and students are split on the president's campaign, with some praising it and others questioning whether he is defining the purpose of higher education in too narrow a way.