Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, December 7, 2012 - 4:34am

Utah's Dixie State College, founded in a part of the state that attracted settlers from the South who once dreamed of turning the area into a cotton-producing region, is debating whether its name suggests support for Confederate causes. While that debate continues, the university has removed a statue from campus that shows a Confederate soldier with the Confederate battle flag, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The statue has been the site of some rallies calling for the university to change its name. "The statue has become a lighting rod. We feel bad about that," said Stephen Nadauld, president of Dixie State. "It’s a beautiful piece of art. We are nervous something might happen to the statue. It might be vandalized."

Jerry Anderson, the Utah sculptor who created the work, told the Tribune that the university should not have removed it. "It looks like they have succumbed to the adversary," Anderson said. "They are a bunch of wusses. That’s the first action taken to get rid of it. The other people are winning. That’s the way it is in the world. We are giving in to people who really aren’t Americans."

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Notre Dame on Wednesday announced that it would create a recognized gay-straight alliance as a student organization at the Roman Catholic university, one result of a review of the college's policies on gay and lesbian students. Students and faculty have pushed for more resources for gay and lesbian students, including both the gay-straight alliance and the addition of sexual orientation to the university's nondiscrimination clause. While the plan announced Wednesday includes a range of changes, including a new advisory committee on gay and lesbian issues and a full-time staff member to oversee resources for gay students, it does not include any new plans for dealing with faculty issues or action on the nondiscrimination clause.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The National Science Foundation on Wednesday announced an expansion of its graduate fellows program that will allow selected graduate students to work for 3-12 months in one of eight countries. The idea is to encourage international collaboration early in researchers' careers. The countries are Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Sweden.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, James Tabery of the University of Utah explains how a psychological diagnosis of a defendant can influence the length of their sentence if convicted. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

The American Historical Association, trying to build buzz for its annual meeting in January in New Orleans, is asking historians for names of drinks to be served at hotel bars during the meeting. Among the nominees that have come in so far: ABD, Postmodern Turn, Oral History ("your mouth will never forget it"), the Jacobite Rebellion ("Scotch with just a soupcon of haggis floating in it") and the Dead White Male.

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 3:00am

Roger Williams University has announced that it will no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. "While we recognize that standardized tests accurately measure aptitude for many students, there are many others whose talents are not measured by such tests and they can serve as an artificial barrier to many highly qualified students, preventing them from even considering an RWU education," said a statement from the university.

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 3:00am

About 150 Emory University students rallied in the institution's quad Tuesday afternoon to protest program cuts that the university's College of Arts and Sciences announced in September. In a news release, protesters said the administration was not taking time to listen to their concerns. Administrators disputed that charge, saying they had sponsored forums and that the university has not moved forward on any changes since the September announcement. The university's president met with a small group of protesters for more than two hours Tuesday afternoon to discuss their concerns.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 4:24am

An article in The New York Times looks at a growing student movement to push colleges to sell their endowment holdings in fossil fuel, coal and oil companies. To organizers, such moves are seen as a way to combat climate change. With a few exceptions -- such as the 1980s movement to sell stocks of companies doing business in apartheid-era South Africa -- colleges have generally resisted moves to use their endowment holdings to encourage causes. Two small colleges -- Unity College and Hampshire College -- have adopted policies that will end investments in fossil fuels, but institutions with large endowments have thus far declined to get behind the new movement.

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 3:00am

About a dozen students occupying the clock tower at Cooper Union, protesting the decision by the president of one of the last remaining institutions to offer students a tuition-free education to take it off that short list. The students, who began their protest Monday, vowed Tuesday to remain until their list of demands, including the president’s resignation and a hiring freeze, are met. The occupation is the latest action by students unhappy with the steps taken by President Jamshed Bharucha, who said in April that the institution would start charging for some new graduate programs, and might start charging tuition for all students after 2013. Police have been in and out of the clock tower, and Bharucha said in a statement Tuesday that his first priority is the safety of the students, whose full tuition is covered through scholarships. Faculty members held a press conference at the site Tuesday afternoon, reaffirming their support for a tuition-free college.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 3:00am

A University of Alabama graduate student faces criminal charges of stalking and making terroristic threats against officials there in e-mail messages, The Tuscaloosa News reported. The newspaper said that Zachary Burrell, a doctoral student in physics, had been jailed since Friday as a result of “erratic” e-mails that included video clips of a movie ("Dark Matter") that depicted a graduate student's 1991 shootings of professors and a peer at the University of Iowa. While the e-mails "did not contain direct threats to the general campus population,” according to a university spokeswoman quoted by the newspaper, a deposition filed in court said that he had been dismissed from the university for "various behavioral issues.”

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