Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

July 22, 2013

An anonymous blogger has pointed out that Boston University's student newspaper, in its crime log, has been posting headlines that mock those who have reported the crimes. For example, a listing about a domestic violence case reported by a woman against her boyfriend, who she said choked her, was labeled "Choked Up." The student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, has now apologized. A statement from its board says: "[T]he Crime Logs sections of The Daily Free Press have repeatedly published callous sub-headlines making light of serious issues and inadvertently exploiting victims of crime for humor. On behalf of the Board of Directors of The Daily Free Press, we sincerely apologize for these headlines and any other material that may have caused harm or offense."

July 22, 2013

The recent firing of Beckie Francis as women's basketball coach at Oakland University (along with the subsequent resignation of her husband, the university president) has been somewhat mysterious on the campus. But The Detroit Free Press reported on the results of interviews with former players that Francis pushed Christianity on players, told them that they needed to be virgins and was "fixated" on body issues. The players reported that photographs were taken of them in sports bras and Spandex to chart any changes in body size. Francis declined to comment for the article.

July 22, 2013

A tornado-like "significant wind event" hit Ursuline College, in Ohio, Saturday morning. The college announced that there were no injuries, but that several buildings sustained significant damage. The college was closed over the weekend to allow officials to assess the situation.

July 22, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Timothy Lytton of Albany Law School reveals how stringent selfregulation has allowed the kosher food industry to thrive over the past century. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

July 22, 2013

Faculty members at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York are angry that President Karen Gould has rejected the choices of professors to lead three departments, making her own selections instead, The Wall Street Journal reported. Gould maintains that she has the right to pick department chairs, but faculty members say that the norm is to respect professors' votes, particularly if departments are well-managed and certain choices have broad support.

July 22, 2013

The American Anthropological Association has written to the Travel Channel objecting to and asking for changes in the TV show "Dig Wars," in which contestants are sent to various locations with metal detectors to see if they can locate and dig up antiquities. The material they dig up is called "loot," and is evaluated for its financial value.

"Reasonable viewers watching this program may be mistakenly led to believe that such behaviors are ethically acceptable," says the letter. "On the contrary, the looting as portrayed in the show is deeply disturbing. The overall message is that this nation's cultural and historical heritage is 'loot' that is up for grabs for anyone with a metal detector and shovel. This is the wrong message to give the public, especially in an age when so many historical sites are disappearing." The association offered to identify trained archaeologists who could help the network "communicate the excitement of discovery and of history in a more responsible, ethical and engaging manner."

A spokeswoman for the Travel Channel said via e-mail that no laws are broken. She said that the competition takes place with the full permission of the owners of the land where digging take place. Further, she said that items that are excavated are either returned to the land owners or given to local museums, and she said that the channel believes that "metal detecting enthusiasts should always abide by state and federal laws." She added: "We respect the numerous opinions as it relates to the gathering and  preservation of artifacts. We welcome the dialogue, and hope that Travel Channel's programming will continue to inspire viewers to travel to new destinations to discover each location's unique history."

July 22, 2013

The College of Charleston is seeking state assistance in determining how much it can say and how it can investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by a professor now that the faculty member has resigned before the investigation was completed, The Post and Courier reported. College officials are concerned that libel and slander laws could pose difficulties, given the lack of a finished inquiry. The college did find allegations against Enrique Graf, a tenured music professor, to be credible and told him that. He resigned, denying the allegations and saying that the college was not conducting a fair investigation. Graf was being investigated for inappropriate sexual behavior and sexual harassment of two of his students at Charleston, and a former piano student of his in Maryland. He was also accused of using drugs with students.

 

July 19, 2013

Cayuga Community College is wrestling with serious money problems, according to the Auburn Citizen. The college, which is located in New York, declared a state of fiscal exigency this week. It is working to cut a $1.5 million budget gap, the newspaper reported, and might lay off employees. 

July 19, 2013

The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved a spending bill Thursday that would increase spending on the National Science Foundation by $183 million over what the agency is receiving this year. The legislation is part of an overall spending bill for several agencies that would make a significant investment in federal science research programs, particularly in the physical sciences. Funds for the NSF would increase to $7.4 billion, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would see a boost of $141 million over its 2013 spending level. The spending levels in the Senate bill are significantly higher than those in the competing House version -- which means that it's far from clear how a final budget for the agencies will shake out.

July 19, 2013

Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference's member universities have written the National Collegiate Athletic Association to question whether for-profit institutions should be allowed to participate in Division I athletics, according to CBSSports.com. The inquiry follows the transition of Grand Canyon University, a publicly traded for-profit, to Division I, which began last month. Grand Canyon is joining the Western Athletic Conference, where its men's and women's basketball teams will compete.

The Pac-12 CEOs did not specifically criticize Grand Canyon's jump to the big time. Instead they said they wanted to share their broader concerns about institutions that are responsible to investors participating in Division I. Larry Scott, the league's commissioner, told the website that Pac-12 universities had discussed not playing Grand Canyon in any sport. The league includes Arizona State University, which is near Grand Canyon's campus.

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