Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

September 16, 2013

Metropolitan State University has paid its summer course instructors – a week late, the Pioneer Press reported. Administrators said last week that paychecks had been issued to several dozen instructors who did not receive their paychecks on time. The lump-sum payments were for thousands of dollars in some instances.

The Twin Cities-based university’s collective bargaining unit, the Inter Faculty Organization, representing faculty in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, also has requested "detailed, enumerated," line-items on their paystubs going forward, and an audit of six years’ worth of faculty pay and benefits, citing a history of payroll problems.

University administrators could not be reached for comment Friday.

September 16, 2013

Purdue University's regional Calumet campus has rescinded layoffs ordered for seven faculty members, The Journal & Courier reported. Administrators had said that enrollment declines necessitated the layoffs, but now officials say that more encouraging enrollment projects mean that there is no longer the need to eliminate positions.

 

September 16, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Supriya Kumar of the University of Pittsburgh examines how flu outbreaks can be reduced by encouraging workers to use an extra sick day. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 16, 2013

The University of Virginia announced last week that a special commission will study the role slavery played in the university's history, and how that history should best be reflected today. A number of universities -- among them Brown and Emory Universities -- have conducted such studies.

 

September 16, 2013

The hiring of David H. Petraeus, the former military leader and ex-director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to teach at the honors college of the City University of New York this year angered many faculty members when word leaked that he would be paid $200,000 for a single course. In response Petraeus agreed to teach the course for only $1.

But the University Faculty Senate is now defending the right of Petraeus to teach, and to walk to his class, following protests in which his critics shouted at him repeatedly, calling him a war criminal and vowing to follow him to every class session. A statement released by the Executive Committee of the body said: "Because they disagree with Professor Petraeus' views, these demonstrators intend to deprive him of his ability to teach and the ability of his students to learn from him.... Professor Petraeus, and all members of CUNY's instructional staff, have the right to teach without interference. Members of the university community must have the opportunity to express alternate views, but in a manner that does not violate academic freedom."

Here is video of the protests Petraeus has faced:

 

 

 

September 16, 2013

Madison Area Technical College is turning down an offer of a $100,000 gift because of a condition attached to it, The Capital Times reported. David Peterson, a long-time instructor, pledged the money if the college would change the name of the Bettseybettsey is sic -sj L. Barhorst Welcome Center by removing the name of Barhorst, former president of the college. To drive home the point, Peterson said he would turn over the funds specifically for the lettering currently used in the welcome center. Peterson explained his rationale to the newspaper. He said he was offended by the "decadent display of self-promotion." A welcome center, he said, should be "functional, not personal." College officials say, however, that the welcome center wasn't just named to honor the former president, but because she and her husband made a donation. Having accepted funds and agreed to name the center, officials said, they can't remove the name.

 

September 13, 2013

The Towson University cheerleading team’s punishment for hazing allegations has been reduced from a yearlong suspension to a semesterlong probation, 650 hours of community service and education about hazing, the Associated Press reported. The cheer team had appealed the initial punishment to a campus committee that decided the team hadn’t received the same level of anti-hazing education and training as other campus groups, Towson’s vice president for student affairs said. Under probation, the team will be allowed to practice but not compete or participate in events. Details of the hazing allegations are unknown, other than the fact that it occurred off campus and is not under police investigation.

September 13, 2013

At Middlebury College, as at many colleges and universities, students place 3,000 small American flags on the grounds to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed so many people on 9/11. This year, five people, one of whom is a Middlebury student, removed some of the flags, angering many other students, The Addison Eagle reported. Those who removed the flags said that they were protesting "America's imperialism." And the student who was in the group said that the flags had been placed on land that was once a Native American burial ground.

A statement from the student added: “My intention was not to cause pain, but to visibilize the necessity of honoring all human life and to help a friend heal from the violence of genocide that she carries with her on a daily basis as an indigenous person. While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism."FYI - "visibilize' is sic -sj

September 13, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin describes a newfound threat to the transportation industry. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

September 13, 2013

Reed College is investigating a complaint that an annual student tradition -- sometimes involving nudity -- violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by creating a hostile environment for women, The Oregonian reported. The tradition involves juniors and seniors greeting freshmen as they prepare to start a required humanities course. The juniors and seniors dress as gods and demand "libations" (typically coffee) in return for wishing the new students luck in the course. Some of the juniors and seniors this year were apparently naked, and the nudity led to the complaint.

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