Higher Education Quick Takes
Green Mountain College announced Sunday that it has euthanized one of the two oxen that have worked for many years on the college's farm. Its announcement that it was going to euthanize both oxen (oxen tend to work in pairs) when one was injured set off widespread criticism by animal rights activists who were particularly angered by plans to use meat from the oxen in the campus dining hall. College officials said that using the oxen meat would be consistent with the sustainable principles of the institution. The college has been unable to carry out its plan because slaughterhouses in the area have received threats linked to the plans. The college decided to euthanize the ox who was injured, and will continue to care for the other one. Because of medication the ox has received in recent weeks, its meat would not be suitable for human consumption, so the animal will be buried.
Civic leaders in and around Alpine, Texas have been talking about whether Sul Ross State University should leave the Texas State University System and join another one, such as that of Texas Tech University, The New York Times reported. Advocates for Sul Ross say that the Texas State system has not been appropriately concerned about recent enrollment declines, which Sul Ross supporters fear could lead to program eliminations. University officials themselves have not advocated such a change. (Note: This item was updated from an earlier version to clarify where the push is coming from.)
The University of Oregon, like many public universities that lack the state support they would like, is stepping up efforts to recruit out-of-state students who are charged much more than Oregon residents. The Register-Guard reported that these efforts have been so successful -- particularly in attracting students from Southern California who are relatively wealthy -- that lawmakers and some Oregon students are worried that low-income students from the state could be shut out. Oregonians also complain that the Californians aren't as serious about academics, with many quoting the motto "Cs get degrees."
The University of Virginia board, which this summer ousted President Teresa Sullivan (and then reversed itself amid the resulting outcry), is extending her contract. The university announced Friday that Sullivan's five-year contract, through 2015, had been extended to 2016. Helen E. Dragas, the board chair who was the leader of the effort to get rid of Sullivan, gave the following statement: "The president and her administration have been vigorously addressing many of the vexing questions that face the university and all of higher education – including issues of sustainable funding, academic quality, and new delivery methods. Despite what you may read or hear elsewhere, this board and this administration are working hard on exactly the things that demand our attention. We can’t afford to expend our energies and our time elsewhere. And we are all working together."
Don Haussler, an adjunct at Kansas City Kansas Community College, is a popular math instructor who needs a hip replacement. As The Wyandotte Daily News reported, he doesn't have health insurance and can't afford the operation. So students have organized a series of fund-raisers in a "Hip for Haussler" campaign.
Many scientists were outraged when a video surfaced in October of Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican who chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, saying that evolution and embryology were "lies straight from the pit of hell." Broun was running for re-election unopposed, so it seemed there was little they could do.
But a write-in campaign for Charles Darwin attracted nearly 4,000 votes, and other write-in votes went to "Bill Nye, the Science Guy," Big Bird and "Anyone but Broun," The Athens Banner-Herald reported. The Darwin campaign was organized by Jim Leebens-Mack, the University of Georgia plant biologist, who said that he hopes the votes will encourage someone to challenge Broun in the next election. Leebens-Mack spread word about the Darwin idea on a Facebook page.
The California State University System is proposing a series of new fees designed to encourage students to graduate on time so that more space is available for other students, The Los Angeles Times reported. The proposal would add fees for "super seniors, those who have already earned 160 semester unit credits; for students who want to repeat a course; and for students who enroll in 18 credits or more in a semester.
Students at Westminster College, in Utah, held a protest Wednesday in which they taped their mouths shut to protest the recent removal by the administration of the student body president, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The administration acted after the student body president attended a college event while drunk. The protest organizers said that since the student government opted not to impeach the president, the administration should have respected that decision.
Just 10 weeks after its longtime president, Richard Levin, announced that he would step down at the end of the academic year, Yale University announced Thursday that Peter Salovey (right), the university's provost and a professor of psychology, would become its 23rd president. The expedited search (the norm for presidential searches is between six months and a year) was even faster than that of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which made headlines earlier this year for appointing its provost after only three months.
Back then, search consultants said they were seeing more demand for quick searches, since it helps remove uncertainty in leadership.