Higher Education Quick Takes
The universities attended by James Holmes, who faces charges in the killings in Aurora, Colo., offered some information about Holmes on Friday, but little that would explain what happened.
- Timothy P. White, chancellor of the University of California at Riverside, held a news conference Friday in which he said that Holmes enrolled as an undergraduate in 2006 and graduated in 2010 as an honors student in neuroscience, earning merit scholarships along the way. White said that there was no evidence of any contact between Holmes and law enforcement while he was enrolled at Riverside.
- The University of Colorado at Denver issued a brief statement that Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from a graduate program in neurosciences.
- On Sunday, the University of Colorado said it was investigating whether Holmes used his graduate student position to have materials shipped to the university for his use setting up booby traps in his apartment, the Associated Press reported.
In April, Andrew Leuchter, the chair of the Academic Senate at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that David Shorter, associate professor in the department of World Arts and Culture/Dance, had inappropriately linked from the website for his course, "Tribal Worldviews," to a website promoting a boycott of Israel. Now, the committee of the Academic Senate that deals with academic freedom issues has found that Shorter did nothing wrong, The Los Angeles Times reported. A letter from the committee said that he was within his rights to have the link. Further, the committee questioned why Leuchter looked into the matter at the request of a pro-Israel group unaffiliated with the university. "We think that faculty members should be free of such scrutiny and should not have to answer to interest groups outside the university,” the committee said in a letter to Shorter.
As colleges have cut their budgets and eliminated positions, the impact has been felt in many college towns, The Wall Street Journal reported. College towns are losing tax revenue and seeing housing prices drop -- while those who have lost jobs move away.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday killed a major contract that had been criticized as a conflict of interest, The Chicago Tribune reported. The contract was to an architectural firm partly owned by the husband of the administrator who oversees campus construction planning. Christopher Kennedy, chair of the Illinois board, said, "We don't want any more ethical issues associated with the university. We get public money and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard."
Nearly one quarter of first-year female college students try smoking tobacco with a hookah for the first time during their freshman year, according to new research in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. The researchers who did the study said that they worried that many of those attracted to the hookah (or water pipe) may be unaware that many of the dangers associated with cigarette smoking are also associated with smoking tobacco with a hookah.
Students from underserved populations can benefit from dual enrollment, in which high school students take college courses for credit, according to new research from the Community College Research Center. While early college programs are common among more privileged students, the study looked at its impact on student success and retention among lower-income students in California. Dual enrollment students were more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in four-year colleges and stay enrolled, the study found.
Faculty members and students this week held a protest at Coppin State University, objecting to what they say are 25 layoffs or non-renewals of staff members this year, The Baltimore Sun reported. Leaders of the protest said that they never were told why layoffs were needed, and are concerned about the elimination of positions at a time that President Reginald Avery has been adding slots to his cabinet. Avery and other university officials declined to comment on the protests.
Steve Garban, former chair of the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees, has resigned from his trustee position, the Associated Press reported. Garban has been criticized for twice failing to share with the full board information about the investigations into Jerry Sandusky, and many have called for him to resign.