Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

November 26, 2013

A four-hour Yale University lockdown that included a room-to-room residence hall search by police and SWAT teams ended safely Monday. Yale officials first told students there may be a threat to safety via text message at 10:17 a.m. after an anonymous male caller said his roommate was heading to campus with a gun and intent to shoot, police said. About a half-hour later, after callers reported seeing a gunman on campus, the lockdown began and students were told to shelter in place. A few minutes before 5 p.m., Yale reported via text message and Twitter that the lockdown had been fully lifted. By the end of the day, New Haven police were beginning to doubt the accuracy of the initial report, according to the Hartford Courant, saying the caller sounded "confused" and they were reviewing security footage to determine whether witnesses who corroborated the report might have spotted armed police rather than a gunman.

November 26, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Ayalla Ruvio of Michigan State University explains the relationship between stress and compulsive shopping. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

November 26, 2013

The president of 2,700-student Sul Ross State University resigned, the Texas State University System announced Monday.

Ricardo Maestas had been president of Sul Ross since 2009 and has been reassigned as a special assistant to the system chancellor. No reason was given by the system for his resignation. Quint Thurman, the provost at Sul Ross, will be interim president while the system begins an immediate search for a new president.

The Texas Tribune reported that “parents and community members have continued to raise concerns about Maestas' leadership, particularly his lack of responsiveness to questions about the treatment of student athletes and financial management within the athletic department.” Last week, the news organization said, Maestas let go of the football coaching staff.

Sul Ross has a main campus in Alpine, a town in West Texas, and three satellite campuses collectively known as Rio Grande College.

November 26, 2013

A prominent black superior court judge has filed a complaint saying two University of California at Los Angeles police officers used excessive force after pulling him over for not wearing a seat belt, and that his race was a factor, The Los Angeles Times reported. David S. Cunningham III, a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, says in the complaint that when he exited the car to retrieve his paperwork from the trunk, officers shoved him against his car, handcuffed him, threw him into their backseat and told him he was being detained for resisting arrest. A UCLA police sergeant released Cunningham about 10 minutes later. The judge wants the officers removed from the field over the incident; UCLA said it is investigating the incident.

November 26, 2013

Law students at the University of Sydney are complaining that their dean was insulting when they complained that a disputed final examination would not be given a second time, ABC (the Australian company) reported. A fire alarm went off during the exam and students were evacuated, but then the exam resumed. Some students want a completely new exam and the dean has rejected that option as unfair to those who came prepared for the day the exam was scheduled. But students are now upset that the dean wrote a letter to the editor of the student paper suggesting that they needed to drop the issue. "Law students can be an anxious and competitive lot," wrote the dean, Joellen Riley. "They do worry dreadfully about exam marks.  A couple of years post-graduation and they will learn that the marks in any one exam are soon forgotten, and many skills other than mark-harvesting are more important to success in the profession (and in life)."

 

November 26, 2013

A former administrative employee admitted in federal court Monday that she stole more than $5 million from the Association of American Medical Colleges, The Washington Post reported. The woman was fired when the graft was discovered. Authorities said that she created bank accounts with names similar to those of groups with which the AAMC does business. She then created fake invoices for those entities, paid the funds to the accounts and had access to the money.

 

November 25, 2013

With Friday's announcement that it had raised another $20 million in venture capital funding, the massive open online course provider Coursera's Series B round has reached $63 million in total. The company pegged that number at $43 million as recently as July. GSV Capital, Learn Capital and three universities that produce Coursera courses supplied the additional funding. The $20 million will be invested in "ongoing technological developments, strategic partnerships and the build-out of Coursera's product and recruiting teams," according to a news release.

November 25, 2013

Indiana Wesleyan University and Houghton College, in New York, have announced plans for collaboration. Both colleges are part of the Wesleyan Church. While details of the partnership haven't been finalized, the idea is to share areas of expertise. Houghton is a traditional, residential institution, and Indiana Wesleyan officials hope to learn from its strengths in internships and study abroad. In turn, Indiana Wesleyan plans to share its approaches to growth and serving campuses off of its traditional campus. Indiana Wesleyan has nearly 3,000 students on its main campus, but has grown considerably with adult students (more than 12,500 of them) who enroll online or at centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The university also recently announced plans to acquire a Christian-oriented arts college in Australia.

 

 

November 25, 2013

The winner of the annual football game between Claremont-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges and Ponoma-Pitzer Colleges (all members of the Claremont Colleges consortium, in which colleges join forces to filed teams) used to display a Peace Pipe trophy -- a tradition discontinued this fall after some students said the practice was culturally insensitive.

After hearing concerns from members of the Claremont Colleges' Indigenous Student Alliance that using a Peace Pipe — a sacred object for many indigenous groups that is used in religious rituals — was akin to using a cross or a Menorah, the colleges decided to end use of the symbol, said Ponoma-Pitzer sports information director Jeremy Kniffen said. The students were uncomfortable with the symbol being used as a sports trophy, he said.

The tradition of awarding the Peace Pipe trophy to the game winner began in 1959 when Claremont Colleges went from having one common athletic program to two. The trophy was chosen to symbolize a friendly rivalry between the two teams, Kniffen said. But there’s no symbolic story behind the trophy, so there “wasn’t really a compelling reason to keep it, other than that’s what we’ve always had,” he said. Claremont-Harvey Mudd-Scripps won this year’s game, 29-23, but no trophy was awarded. The athletic departments will design a new trophy before next year’s game that will include the scores of past games, but no reference to the pipe.

November 25, 2013

The Harvard Ichthus, a student-run journal of Christian thought, on Saturday apologized for publishing an essay last week that said Jews brought suffering upon themselves for killing Jesus. The anonymous author of the piece claimed to be Jewish (although he urged all Jews to become Christians). The article has since been removed from the site but Talking Points Memo published excerpts, such as this one: "We, the Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we richly deserved all of the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years." The apology in the journal said that editors should have been more careful about monitoring what was being published. "[W]e apologize for publishing offensive content on our blog. While this does not excuse the post of responsibility, it was not the intent of the writer, nor the Ichthus, to present a piece that is anti-Semitic in nature or in interpretation. The writer holds nothing but love for his heritage and feels very deeply for the welfare of the Jewish people. The blog was not intended to communicate animosity, but concern and a sincere desire to communicate the necessity of salvation through Jesus Christ alone."

 

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