Montclair State University has sued Oracle over what the university calls a failed attempt to install an enterprise system -- a mess that Montclair says has cost it more than $20 million beyond original estimates, IDG News reported. The article describes the university's claims of missed deadlines, cost overruns and poor communication. Oracle did not respond to requests for comment.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A story on KGUN9 News in Tucson raises questions about why Ben McGahee, an adjunct math instructor at Pima Community College, hasn't been rehired. One of the instructors of Jared Lee Loughner, accused in the mass shooting, McGahee warned officials that there appeared to be something seriously wrong with his student. After the shooting, McGahee talked about his experiences to reporters, and according to e-mails the station obtained, his comments annoyed college officials. Now his contract hasn't been renewed. Pima officials noted that many adjunct contracts for the fall aren't renewed until shortly before classes start. But KGUN9 reported that most of the adjuncts who teach similar courses already have contracts.
The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan has voted, over the objections of President Mary Sue Coleman, to allow graduate researchers to vote on whether they would like to unionize, The Detroit Free Press reported. Coleman argued that the researchers are primarily students. But board members voted 6-2 that the researchers should be allowed to unionize, with supporters of the measure arguing that they are acting as employees in this capacity and deserve collective bargaining rights.
A report released Monday by the Anti-Defamation League says that Youth for Western Civilization -- a group that has formed several campus chapters -- "straddles the line between mainstream and extreme views and has close ties to white supremacists." The report says that the group's claimed love of Western civilization really appears to be a devotion to "white culture," with hostility to many minority groups. A statement from Youth for Western Civilization criticized the ADL report, saying that it "implicitly acknowledges that no one involved in YWC has said anything 'racist' when they accuse us of 'avoid[ing] using overtly bigoted rhetoric' in favor of 'euphemistic language' to make our points." The reply goes on to say that the "smears" in the report are "frivolous."
Eric Barron, president of Florida State University, has asked the Faculty Senate to review the terms of a grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation "to ensure that the integrity of Florida State University was protected," The Miami Herald reported. The terms include provisions giving foundation-appointed committee members the right to review candidates for faculty positions and effectively veto power over hires, and academics at Florida State and elsewhere have criticized these terms as giving the foundation inappropriate control over academic decision-making. To date, however, Barron has strongly defended the grant agreement (which was made before he became president). The Faculty Senate currently has no formal role in reviewing gifts or grants that relate to academic decisions, and the body is considering whether it needs to review such arrangements.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar on The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education. This listing will appear as a regular feature in this space.
To submit a listing, click here.
The U.S. Education Department, citing a diminished budget, has called off the competition for new awards in the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award program, which supports dissertation research abroad. In September, the department invited applications for the program, expressing the hope that it might have $5.8 million, but last week the department announced that no funds would be available for new grants.
California Governor Jerry Brown last week proposed -- as part of a new round of state budget cuts -- that the California Postsecondary Education Commission be eliminated. The governor's budget proposal states that the elimination "would have little programmatic impact as the functions it performs are either advisory in nature or can be performed by other agencies." California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, noted concerns by some analysts that California's three massive higher education systems can't be expected to coordinate among themselves without some additional body charged with reviewing new campuses or major programs, and analyzing statewide trends.
The U.S. State Department announced Friday that it was changing the visa rules for Iranian students that have limited them to "single entry" visas, which have forced any Iranian student who travels outside the United States to reapply for a new visa. The multiple-entry visas for which Iranian students can now apply will allow them to travel abroad and return to their studies in the United States. "This change will allow Iranian students and exchange visitors to travel more easily, furthering our goal of promoting the free flow of information and ideas. This important decision is being taken as the global community witnesses the Iranian government’s increasing censorship and isolation of its own people," said a statement from the State Department.