Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

For several years now, groups that question affirmative action have organized bake sales to make their point -- sometimes attracting little attention and sometimes setting off widespread debate. Republican students at the University of California at Berkeley are planning a "diversity bake sale" for Tuesday, and they appear to be falling into the latter category. Postings by the Republicans on Facebook say that the event is to protest legislation -- currently before Governor Jerry Brown -- that would authorize the state's public universities to consider race in admissions decisions. (California voters banned such consideration in a referendum whose backers vow to challenge the legislation if Governor Brown signs the bill.) The Republican announcement of the bake sale states that a differential pricing system will allow for "equitable distribution of baked goods to our diverse student body." White people will be charged $2 per pastry, Asian people $1.50, Latinos $1, African Americans 75 cents, and Native Americans 25 cents. Women will be allowed to take 25 cents off their racial or ethnic price point. Comments posted on The Daily Californian's website show some people calling the bake sale racist, while others say it is humorous.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Barbara Gold of Hamilton College reveals how Christians of the late Roman Empire created the modern concept of what it means to be a martyr. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at the University of Rhode Island are demanding an investigation into the unexpected resignation of Andrew Winters, who was assistant to the vice president of student affairs, and whether his departure has to do with his work advising a gay student group, The Providence Journal reported. The student group held a sit-in to protest what it considered inadequate efforts to support gay students on the campus in February, and many students and faculty members praised the group for focusing attention on the issue. But Winters received a reprimand shortly after the incident, leading to the questions about his departure. The university said that he retired, and denied that he was forced out.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

The London School of Economics has clarified its ties to a controversial author, noting that she is not currently on the sociology faculty, Times Higher Education reported. Many have questioned how the London School of Economics could have a sociologist such as Catherine Hakim, whose book Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital has been criticized for suggesting that women advance themselves through erotic means. On the book jacket, Hakim is described as "senior research fellow of sociology" at the school, but officials there said Hakim has not been employed at the university since 2003.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Barbara Gold of Hamilton College reveals how Christians of the late Roman Empire created the modern concept of what it means to be a martyr. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Gallaudet University, which at various points in recent years has seen debates over whether it remains sufficiently committed to deaf culture, is having another such discussion. The Washington Post reported that the current tensions relate to an increase in the last four years, from 33 percent to 44 percent, in the percentage of undergraduates who were educated in mainstream public schools rather than schools for the deaf. Some of these students grew up with cochlear implants. There are now 102 such students, double the number in 2005.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Several hundred students at the University of Auckland occupied a floor of the business school there for several hours today, as student groups nationwide vowed to step up similar protests, over legislation headed toward passage in New Zealand's parliament. The legislation would end a requirement that all students at a university be members of that institution's student union, and leaders of the student unions say that the legislation is an attempt to reduce their power.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College faculty members went on strike Friday. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors, says that the college's contract offer would use a switch in the college calender to inappropriately increase faculty workloads, and would do so in ways that would hinder the ability of professors to educate students. A spokesman for the college said that courses were being taught as scheduled. The college posted a statement on its website saying that that it had an obligation to reject union demands "to pay somebody more for significantly less work."

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

Baylor and Brandeis Universities, both universities that have faced faculty-president conflicts and struggled to find the right balance for their religious ties, have turned corners, according to separate articles. The New York Times examines Kenneth Starr's performance at Baylor, where he is being called a "unifier." The Forward says that Frederick Lawrence has achieved "near rock star status" at Brandeis.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 3:00am

The White House and the U.S. Department of Labor are expected to announce the recipients of what is supposed to be the first round of grants -- worth a total of $500 million -- from the Trade Act Assistance Community College Career Training Program. The program, originally created in lieu of the American Graduation Initiative as part of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010, was unveiled by the Obama administration in January and heralded as "the largest investment in two-year institutions since the G.I. Bill." It is supposed to provide a total of $2 billion over four years.

The grants to be announced today are expected to be of between $2.5 million and $5 million for individual institutions and $2.5 million to $20 million for consortiums of colleges (the consortiums can include four-year institutions, but the lead partner must be a college that offers degrees or certificates of two years or less).

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