Higher Education Quick Takes
A recent high school graduate in a college preparatory program at the University of Cincinnati died Saturday of cardiac arrest shortly after a police officer used a Taser on him, Cincinnati.com reported. The student had been planning to enroll at the University of the Cumberlands. Police officers reported that they were called to a dormitory at 3 a.m. about a reported assault, and then the student approached them more than once, appearing angry and with balled fists, ignoring requests that he stop doing so. He was then fired on with the Taser, and police examined him and found him breathing, but they were concerned for his health, and called paramedics. He subsequently died. The university is investigating the incident and has suspended the use of Tasers. Previous uses of Tasers on other campuses have set off controversies.
Richard McCallum, president of Dickinson State University, is resisting requests from the North Dakota University System that he resign, The Dickinson Press reported. McCallum is under fire because of an investigation indicating that some of those listed as enrolled at the university are not actually students. In a statement issued Saturday, he said he would not resign and has retained a lawyer.
McGill University has formally reprimanded Barbara Sherwin, a professor of psychology, obstetrics and gynecology, for not revealing that a ghostwriter contributed to an article she published in 2000, The Montreal Gazette reported. The ghostwriter was hired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Sherwin was listed as the paper's only author. Sherwin is continuing her work at McGill. After the use of the ghostwriter was revealed, she issued a statement in which she said it was "an error" to fail to make clear there was a second author on the paper, but she added that she believed the peer-reviewed article "represented sound and thorough scholarship, and in no way could be construed as promotion for any particular product or company."
In today’s Academic Minute, Richard Young of the State University of New York at Geneseo explains
how modern technology has provided a more accurate history of the Grand Canyon. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The bookstore at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has stopped selling mints that poke fun at President Obama, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The mints feature an image similar to Obama's '08 campaign posters, with the tag line: "This is change? Disappoint/Mints." The mints were pulled from sale after State Representative Joe Armstrong complained about them. While Armstrong is a Democrat, he said he would have complained about mints mocking Republicans too. He told the News Sentinel that there were no First Amendment issues at play. "With a book or something of that nature, then fine, but that [the mints] is sort of a discretionary product they have," Armstrong said. "It wasn't viewpoint neutral. Very specifically insulting to the president."
Others disagree about the free speech issues. Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the university, said: "Let me make very clear, there is no candy exception to the First Amendment," he said. "Free speech is free speech. If you make fun of the president in a mint, it is just as much free speech as it is if you make fun of the president in a political cartoon."
In today’s Academic Minute, Peter Kelemen of Columbia University conducts a thought experiment
around the political economy of climate change. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has started a new fellowship for international graduate students, awarding funds to 48 individuals from 22 countries. The funds will support research in science and engineering during the third, fourth and fifth years of graduate school. The institute originally planned to award 35 fellowships (worth $43,000 a year) but upped the total due to the quality of applicants.
Unusually high numbers of Italian academics share the same last names, suggesting nepotism is widespread, according to a new study by Stefano Allesina, an assistant professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. Allesina's work was prompted by Italian journalists' reports on apparent nepotism in academe, such as one university where nine relatives from three generations of a single family are in the economics department. Allesina examined a database with the names of 61,000 Italian academics, and found clusters of names in single departments most prevalent in industrial engineering, law, medicine, geography and pedagogy. The analysis of names found that nepotism was the least likely (names were closest to random in various fields) in linguistics, demography and psychology.The research is being published in the journal PLoS ONE.