Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

The U.S. Education Department announced Tuesday that it is fining Virginia Tech $55,000 for violations of federal laws in the university's response to the mass killings that took place there on April 16, 2007. The fine focuses on the university's failure to immediately warn students of the danger -- after the university learned of the first shooting. Virginia Tech officials have maintained that they acted based on the best information they had at the time, and that they did not realize the potential for the killings that would take place later in the day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

Faced with a pending vote of no confidence, the president of Florida's Edison State College has agreed to reassign a senior administrator with whom faculty members said they could no longer work effectively, the Naples Daily News reported. The removal of James Browder as senior vice president was one of a series of concessions that President Kenneth Walker reportedly made after a Faculty Senate meeting at the Florida college boiled over and set up a vote of no confidence in Walker, the newspaper reported. Among the other concessions was an agreement to consider the re-hiring of another senior official, Steve Atkins, who resigned this month after Browder was promoted from a vice president's position.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Southern California may discipline the students involved in photographs -- which went viral Tuesday -- showing a couple having sex on the roof of a university building, the Los Angeles Times reported. University policy bars unauthorized access to the roofs of buildings. The photographs are available here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College, on Tuesday sent a letter to Governor Paul LePage of Maine to criticize his decision to remove a mural depicting Maine's labor history from the state Department of Labor building. Governor LePage said that the mural was too pro-labor. Pasquerella wrote that many Mount Holyoke alumnae were concerned about the situation because the mural includes Frances Perkins, an alumna who was a key figure in Maine and U.S. labor history. The governor also removed the Perkins name from a conference room in the labor building. "I was particularly surprised to read that you were influenced by an anonymous fax comparing the 11-panel mural to North Korean political propaganda, because the act of removing images commemorating Maine's history itself conjures thoughts of the rewriting of history prevalent in totalitarian regimes," wrote Pasquerella. "If the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, why can't she be honored with a conference room in Augusta?"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

A think tank in Michigan has filed state open records requests seeking e-mail messages to and from labor studies scholars at three universities, related to the skirmishing over public employee unions in Wisconsin, according to the blog Talking Points Memo. In the wake of the controversial filing of a similar request for the e-mail records of a leading scholar at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the Mackinac Center For Public Policy submitted requests under the state Freedom of Information Act to policy centers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, and Michigan State University. The requests seek e-mails since early January that include the words "Scott Walker" (Wisconsin's governor), "Wisconsin," "Madison" and "Maddow" (for the MSNBC commentator Rachel).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Harvard University's Peter Godfrey-Smith examines the brain of the octopus -- with the eye of a philosopher. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Pearson and the Columbia University School of Continuing Education are today announcing a deal in which the university will offer a series of courses using Pearson's online learning platform. The courses will include a hybrid master of science program in information and knowledge strategy and an online business certificate program.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

The government of Ontario on Monday announced plans to provide funds to create 60,000 additional slots in higher education over the next five years. That growth will follow the creation of 75,000 slots between 2003 and this year.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

An op-ed in the student newspaper decrying "illegal babies" (born in the United States to those lacking U.S. citizenship) has set off debate and protest at Rollins College. The essay in The Sandspur is illustrated with an image of an alien (as from outer space) and opens as follows: "How would you feel if a stranger broke into your home, began to eat your food, wear your clothes and watch your television? I am assuming you would not be the slightest bit welcoming to this intruder. Your home and all its contents were purchased with the finances you strenuously worked to obtain. Under the 14th Amendment, birthright citizenship allows a pregnant foreigner to waltz right over our borders, have a baby, and the baby receives the benefits of being an American citizen."

The Orlando Sentinel reported that more than 200 people turned out to discuss and critique the op-ed, many of them angry that it had been published. Jamie Prizzi, the freshman who wrote it, said she's bothered by all the criticism, but stands by what she wrote.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 3:00am

Although Loyola University in New Orleans has been calling its teams "Wolfpack" for more than 50 years, North Carolina State University has insisted that the institution stop doing so, or pay a licensing fee, The News & Observer reported. North Carolina State says that it has legal trademark rights that bar others from using the name. Loyola officials have been talking to North Carolina State about a possible resolution of the dispute. The Maroon, Loyola's student newspaper, on Monday ran an editorial saying that it was "ridiculous" for North Carolina State to claim, as it has, that Loyola's use of Wolfpack could result in confusion between the two institutions. "Loyola is a private Jesuit liberal arts institution with an undergraduate population of less than 3,000. NC State, on the other hand, is a public research institution with over 23,000 undergrads," the editorial says. "Athletics are a similar study in contrasts. NC State is a NCAA Division I school and part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, sporting 24 varsity teams. Loyola, in comparison, is a NAIA Division I school in the Southern States Atlantic Conference, with a mere 10 sports teams (including men's and women's teams). Can one believably say that they purchased Loyola Wolfpack basketball tickets in the mistaken belief that they were buying NC State Wolfpack basketball tickets? The probability seems low."

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