Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 3:00am

The Christian Legal Society has settled a lawsuit against the University of Montana's law school over the latter's refusal to recognize the former as an official student organization. Under the settlement, the law school agreed not to consider factors such as the relative popularity of student organizations in deciding whether they can be recognized. The society had argued that this practice would amount to illegal viewpoint discrimination. But the society agreed not to sue the university should it be denied recognition over law school rules requiring student organizations to be open to all students. The Christian group maintains that it meets this requirement because its activities are open, but the law school in the past has disagreed because the society requires members and leaders to share its beliefs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Ohio higher education officials on Wednesday released details of a plan to turn public universities into "charter universities," in which they could give up some state funds in return for more freedom from regulations, The Dayton Daily News reported. The first part of the plan would let all 14 state universities meet internal auditors in private. Further, Bowling Green State, Kent State, Miami, Ohio and Ohio State Universities would be freed of enrollment caps. Universities could then trade more freedom for less money. So some institutions could opt to get less money and be allowed to self-insure for workers' compensation coverage, and to set tuition by academic program. Faculty groups in Ohio have been viewing with skepticism the push away from a traditional state higher education system.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

At a retreat Tuesday of about 50 Division I college presidents, called to develop "creative solutions to the significant issues facing intercollegiate athletics," National Collegiate Athletic Association President Mark A. Emmert said that while he wants to increase financial support for athletes, "there is absolute consensus we will never move to pay for play."

The two-day meeting in Indianapolis is closed to the public and the press, but Emmert made a few brief statements in the evening regarding the day's topics: the division's fiscal sustainability, and the steadily widening financial gap between the biggest-time programs and the rest. He also stressed the importance of acting "rapidly," saying that whatever ideas come out of these discussions should be proposed to the NCAA Board of Directors at its October or January meeting. Kansas State University President Kirk H. Schulz also said on Twitter that presidents expressed much concern "about rapidly escalating coaches' salaries." At tomorrow's sessions and subsequent briefing, Emmert will discuss athletes' academic performance and "fortifying the integrity of intercollegiate athletics."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

University and high school students in Chile are on strike, staging major protests in Santiago and elsewhere, BBC reported. Government officials have pledged to increase funding for education, but students say that the promises have been insufficient. One key student demand is that private universities be required to invest their income in educational improvements.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

Professional science master's programs received nearly 4,400 applications for fall 2010 admission, and 48 percent of applicants were accepted, according to data released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools. Programs in biology/biotechnology received more applications than those in other fields of study, constituting 34 percent of all applications received.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that the University of Ottawa was within its rights to exclude twin 10-year-old boys from classes there, Maclean's reported. The tribunal ruled that age-discrimination laws do not apply to those younger than 18, and that the university's requirement that students finish high school is a reasonable one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

Sheng Wang, who until last month was an assistant professor at Boston University's medical school, fabricated data used in two journal articles, a federal probe has found, The Boston Globe reported. Following the investigation by the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wang agreed to retract the articles. Wang's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

The American Association of University Professors has released a final version of its new policy on how colleges should handle personnel decisions involving politically controversial figures. The new version contains only minor changes (and no substantive policy shifts) from the draft released in February. The political views of academics should not be used as the bases to hire, fire, promote or demote them, the AAUP says, and strict, faculty-run procedures should be in place to prevent political influences on such actions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Paul Smith’s College's Curt Stager describes how the climate change we feel today will shape the Earth for the next 100,000 years. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 3:00am

Irma McClaurin has resigned as president of Shaw University after less than a year in office, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. McClaurin and the university described the decision to leave as mutual, but did not reveal much more than that. She was the university's third president in the last three years. The historically black college, which has struggled financially, suffered major damage in April from a tornado that hit the campus.

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