Professors who study fracking have been at the center of much public debate over the controversial method of obtaining natural gas. On Friday, the University of Tennessee won preliminary state approval to authorize fracking on its land, The New York Times reported. The university says that the plan will generate revenue and also create an opportunity to study the impact of fracking. Many environmental groups say that, based on what is known about fracking, the university should not be using its land in this way.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The College of the Ozarks is known for its system of providing students with jobs rather than charging them tuition. Now the college is taking things a step further, and refusing to certify private student loans, which some students were still taking out, The Springfield News-Leader reported. The college itself does not use debt, and raises money for buildings before constructing them. President Jerry C. Davis said that he wants to discourage all borrowing. "The driving force behind this is that debt is bad and we should not allow these students to do that," he said.
Joseph Corlett is suing Oakland University for $2.2 million for kicking him out after he wrote an essay called "Hot for Teacher" about one of his instructors, The Detroit Free Press reported. The university is not commenting on the lawsuit. His instructor had encouraged students to be frank in their essays, but in this case, some believed he went too far. Corlett maintains that his free speech rights were violated. When Inside Higher Ed wrote about the dispute last year, some commenters said that they sympathized with the instructor and would have been concerned by the student's essay.
An administrative law judge ruled Friday that Columbia College Chicago had engaged in numerous unfair labor practices in negotiations with the union representing the college's part-time faculty members, which is affiliated with the National Education Association. The judge ordered the college to resume bargaining in good faith, to provide basic information that the union needs to bargain effectively, to compensate the head of the union for classes she lost in what the judge found to be unfair retaliation against her. The judge ordered the college to stop "making regressive contract proposals that retaliate against the union and its members for exercising their [rights]," and to stop "insisting on contract proposals that essentially give [the college] unfettered control over a broad range of mandatory subjects of bargaining, including the effects of decisions regarding those mandatory subjects of bargaining." College officials did not respond to e-mail requests Sunday for comment on the ruling.
A bus crash Saturday morning killed the coach of the women's lacrosse team at Seton Hill University, and the driver of the bus that was taking the team to a game at Millersville University. The coach, Kristina Quigley, was pregnant at the time and the unborn baby was also killed. The university is offering counseling for students and others.
Florida A&M University, still trying to recover from a deadly hazing scandal and much criticism of its finances, on Friday suspended a search for a new president, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The move came five days before the board was planning to start interviewing candidates. Solomon L. Badger III, chair of the board, said that the decision had nothing to do with the quality of the candidates. Rather, he said it was more important that he and Interim President Larry Robinson work on steps that would lead to the removal of Florida A&M's probationary accreditation status.
Colleges and universities are "dropping the ball" on the needs of gay and lesbian athletes, according to a new report from Campus Pride, which advocates on behalf of gay students. The report -- based on surveys of gay and straight athletes -- finds that the former are more likely to experience harassment, and much more likely to experience harassment based on their sexual orientations. The report finds a contrast on many campuses between open discussion of inclusiveness issues in general, but relative silence with athletics programs.
China's leading universities are dropping English as one of the required subjects on the required admissions examinations, Xinhua reported. At most universities, English is being dropped as a requirement for the test taken by prospective science and engineering majors (who will be tested in math and physics) and for art students (who will be tested in Chinese and math). Yu Han, an enrollment officer at Tsinghua University, told Xinhua that English was eliminated in order to attract more students with exceptional talent in the subjects they plan to study.
Three students at Senegal's largest university, the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, set themselves on fire Friday, as protests escalated over the way credits are counted in the geography department, the Associated Press reported. The students survived because friends threw sand on them to put out the fires. The changes in the credit rules have the effect, the students said, of forcing them to spend another year at the university, instead of graduating. Other students are on a hunger strike over the issue.