The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal this week upheld the right of the University of Victoria to evict a man who had been living in a campus apartment for 20 years, long after he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1997, The Vancouver Sun reported. Alkis Gerd'son, the long-term resident, had argued that the university had no right to evict him because he has a mental disability, but the tribunal rejected his argument.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican known for his efforts to limit federal spending, on Thursday issued a report attacking the National Science Foundation for "waste, fraud, duplication and mismanagement." The report details various grants (mostly in the social sciences) that Coburn finds hard to justify. A statement from Coburn said that the NSF plays a role in key discoveries but that much of its spending "contributes to our debt rather than science." Coburn is a long-time critic of social science research at the NSF -- in 2009, he tried without success to ban political science research from receiving NSF support. An NSF statement about the report said: "The National Science Foundation is renowned for its gold-standard approach to peer review of each of the more than 40,000 proposals it receives each year, While no agency is without flaws, NSF has been diligent about addressing concerns from members of Congress about workforce and grant management issues, and NSF's excellent record of tracking down waste and prosecuting wrongdoing is apparent from Senator Coburn's report. We believe that no other funding agency in the world comes close to NSF for giving taxpayers the best return on their investment."
Many students and faculty members at Tsinghua University, in China, have been stunned to find that "the No. 4 Teaching Building" has been renamed for a corporate supporter, Xinhua reported. The building is now called "Jeanswest Building" after a clothing company. Officials noted that Jeanswest had helped the university financially, but some on campus are saying that the university is "selling itself."
Yale University announced Thursday that the Reserve Officers Training Corps would be returning to the institution, with a Naval ROTC unit. Yale's new unit will be the only Navy ROTC program in Connecticut and will welcome participants from other colleges in the state. Yale is the latest elite college to invite ROTC back to campus in the wake of the authorization by Congress of the end to military discrimination against gay people.
California's public higher education systems have agreed to drop opposition to a state bill that will require much more disclosure of records about their foundations and auxiliary operations. However, the colleges and universities have been assured of provisions that will preserve in most cases the right of donors to be anonymous. With the agreement, the bill is expected to be enacted.
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The University of Michigan has agreed to pay Andrei Borisov, a former non-tenured faculty member in pediatrics, $550,000, and to remove certain negative statements from his personnel file, to settle his suit against the university, AnnArbor.com reported. Borisov had resigned in 2008, after being told that his behavior was seen as threatening, following inquiries he had been making into possible plagiarism in reports to federal agencies that made grants to Michigan. The university denied wrongdoing in those cases.
A state judge has ordered the University of Virginia to release documents produced by Michael Mann, who formerly taught there, to a conservative foundation requesting them as open records, The Washington Examiner reported. Mann is a climate researcher whose work is consistent with the scientific consensus on climate change, but who is doubted by some conservatives. In an e-mail, Mann said: "I think it's very unfortunate that fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers ... continue to harass U.Va., NASA, and other leading academic and scientific institutions with these frivolous attacks."
A Louisiana legislative panel voted Tuesday to endorse a constitutional amendment that would consolidate several boards that govern the state's public colleges and universities into a single board of trustees, The Times-Picayune reported. The measure, which Governor Bobby Jindal has promoted, is one of several being considered in states around the country as they look to centralize decision making, cut costs, or both. A legislative leader in Rhode Island proposed this week that the state's separate boards for elementary/secondary education and higher education be combined into a single Board of Regents, according to The Providence Journal. And Connecticut lawmakers have been discussing a plan that would merge the Connecticut State University and Connecticut Community Colleges systems under a single board, excluding the University of Connecticut.