Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

December 10, 2014

The number of American medical schools with student-run free clinics has doubled in the last decade, to 75 percent of medical schools now operating them, according to a new study published in JAMA. The most common services provided by the clinics were outpatient adult medicine, health care maintenance, chronic disease management, language interpreters and social work. The most common diseases treated were diabetes and hypertension.


December 10, 2014

Universities in South Korea are tightening their rules against sexual harassment of students by professors, The Korea Herald reported. The moves follow several scandals in which universities were reported to have let abusers either resign without any publicity about what they had done, or let them continue to teach.


December 10, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Radu Sporea, professor of engineering at the University of Surrey, analyzes the way we talk about technology and electronics. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


December 9, 2014

The Clemson University chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has suspended all fraternity activity and several of its officers have resigned following a "Cripmas" party where students dressed up as gang members. The party was condemned by the university and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon national office, the Greenville News reported, and black students took to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to voice their anger. Students who attended the party also used social media to share photographs from the event. 

In a statement Sunday, Jim Clements, Clemson's president, said the party "raised more concerns" about an already troublesome climate on campus. "At a time of year when our thoughts are turning to family, holidays and the start of a new year all the things that unite us and bring us joy — it is discouraging that so many events and issues are causing division and hurt, and making many students feel unwanted at this great university," he said.

Last week, Clemson replaced its vice president of student affairs amid rising tensions between fraternities and the administration.


December 9, 2014

National fraternity organizations are criticizing the University of Virginia for continuing a suspension on fraternity events on campus until January 9, even though many questions have been raised about a Rolling Stone article that led to the suspensions in the first place.

The university on Monday released a statement in which it noted past statements by President Teresa A. Sullivan that the institution was not judging all fraternity men by the alleged actions of some. “In any crisis it can be far too easy to paint with a broad brush, and blindly attack entire groups of individuals. This is not a responsible reaction,” she said on December 1, before the Rolling Stone article was discredited.

But in Monday's statement, the university stood behind the suspensions. "The purpose of the suspension of fraternity and sorority social activities was to give the university and Greek leadership a pause to identify solutions that would best ensure the well-being and safety of students. This important collaborative work continues, and the reinstatement of Greek activities on Jan. 9 will be in conjunction with a new Fraternal Organization Agreement that will enhance the safety of members and their guests," the statement said.


December 9, 2014

Apple has iTunes U, Google has Classroom and now Microsoft has Edvelop. Granted, the learning management system, which was unveiled on Monday, is developed by Mobiliya and not the technology giant, but it builds on Microsoft's Office 365 suite of productivity software. In a press release, Mobiliya said it will market Edvelop to universities in China and India.

December 9, 2014

The Big Ten Conference announced Monday that it would punish member universities that fail to comply with its toughened standards on monitoring and preventing athletes' concussions, CBS Sports reported. With its action, which was approved Sunday by the presidents of the league's university members, the conference has now done what the National Collegiate Athletic Association has been criticized for not doing: moving "from best practices and minimum requirements for schools to regulatory standards" imposed on colleges, as the Big Ten said in its statement about the policy change.

In July, the NCAA adopted new, more comprehensive guidelines protect players from concussions and other health threats related to athletic competition, but it stopped short of changing its rules such that institutions that failed to comply with the voluntary guidelines would face punishment.

December 9, 2014

Law students at Columbia University may petition to have final exams rescheduled based on their feelings on the controversial decisions of two grand juries not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men. The Wall Street Journal reported on an email sent by Robert E. Scott, interim law school dean, to students. “The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shaken the faith of some in the integrity of the grand jury system and in the law more generally,” Scott wrote. “For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.” He added that "students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition" to have exams rescheduled.


December 9, 2014

In today's Academic Minute, Jean M. Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, explains our growing suspicions. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


December 8, 2014

Police in Berkeley, California, on Saturday night used tear gas against protesters who were demanding changes in the justice system in the wake of the decisions of grand juries in Missouri and New York not to indict police officers in the killings of unarmed black men, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The protest started on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley and moved into the city of Berkeley, which is where the tear gas was used. Six people were arrested. Authorities said that they had to use tear gas to stop vandalism, but protesters said that there was no need for that kind of force. The protest involved students and others.

On Sunday,afternoon, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks released this statement: "In the wake of last night's events in the city of Berkeley, we are calling on the members of our campus community to help maintain calm on and around the campus. While the details of what led to the unfortunate confrontations between some groups of protestors and Berkeley police officers remain unclear, we offer our sympathy to all who may have been injured or had property damaged. We fully understand that there are many in our community, and across the country, who are deeply distressed about recent decisions in New York and Ferguson, and fully support their right to give voice to their concerns and frustration. At the same, we hope that the anger expressed last night will, in the days ahead, be channeled into constructive, non-violent action and advocacy that can advance the ongoing fight for justice and equity in our nation."


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