Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 8, 2013

In a rare infractions case involving a Division III non-revenue sport, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Thursday that it has cited Occidental College for failing to monitor its women’s volleyball program, after a former head coach provided impermissible benefits to athletes and recruits, including travel on a booster’s private plane, rental cars, other travel and lodging. The coach also gave apparel to prospects and allowed recruits to travel with the volleyball team and sit on the bench, the public infractions report noted, in conflict with NCAA rules.

Additionally, the report notes, the former head football coach contacted 467 current football players to ask them to transfer to Occidental.

Occidental now faces several penalties, including the following: public reprimand and censure; two years’ probation; a two-year show cause order for the head volleyball coach, meaning any program that wants to hire him must seek approval from the NCAA; a 2013 postseason ban for the women’s volleyball team; vacation of all volleyball records from 2009-11, the years during which the transgressions occurred (self-imposed by the university); and prohibition from all off-campus recruiting for the volleyball team and for the football coach at his current university. In addition, the volleyball program played fewer tournaments and games in 2011-12, punishments that were also self-imposed.
 

February 8, 2013

Holy Family University eliminated 25 non-faculty positions last month, roughly 5 percent of its work force, Philadelphia Business Journal reported. The Philadelphia-area Roman Catholic institution has seen its enrollment dip from 3,224 to 3,094 in the last two years, its officials told the newspaper, saying that the layoffs would result in a shift of resources to "certain areas to enable us to continue to grow and prosper, one administrator said.

February 8, 2013

The University of Iowa accidentally e-mailed to each of about 2,000 students associated with the Center for Diversity and Enrichment the grade-point averages of all of those students, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. An attachment with the students' names and grades was inadvertently included with an unrelated e-mail message. The university has apologized, and notified the students.

 

February 8, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Cathy Lucas of the University of Southampton explores the cyclical nature of jellyfish blooms. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
 

February 8, 2013

Tessa Martinez Pollack will leave the presidency of Our Lady of the Lake University on March 1, The San Antonio Express-News reported. Pollack has served nearly a decade, but has faced mounting criticism over the last semester. Some of the conflicts involve plans to eliminate a dozen majors, including religious studies. Many questioned how a Roman Catholic institution could consider eliminating that field.

 

February 8, 2013

Condoms were removed from a campus drug store at National University of Singapore this week, but amid considerable attention locally, the university said that sales may resume, Bloomberg reported. Many had criticized the decision -- now called a "misunderstanding" by the university -- to have the condoms removed. One student told the news service that the university "is afraid of the implications that selling condoms might have on students living in dorms. If you want to have sex, you’ll get it somewhere else. Taking condoms on and off shelves isn’t the right way to deal with such issues.”

February 8, 2013

An event featuring speakers calling for a boycott and other sanctions against Israel took place as scheduled Thursday evening at Brooklyn College, The New York Times reported. Some politicians have called on the college, part of the City University of New York, to call off the event, but the college (with backing from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others) has declined to do so, citing academic freedom. About 150 people held a protest outside the event.

The Nation published the prepared remarks of one of the speakers -- Judith Butler, a professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley. "The principle of academic freedom is designed to make sure that powers outside the university, including government and corporations, are not able to control the curriculum or intervene in extra-mural speech," she said. "It not only bars such interventions, but it also protects those platforms in which we might be able to reflect together on the most difficult problems. You can judge for yourself whether or not my reasons for lending my support to this movement are good ones. That is, after all, what academic debate is about."

February 7, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Nina Jablonski of Penn State University explains how evolution has created such a broad spectrum of human skin color. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

February 7, 2013

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Wednesday defended the decision by Brooklyn College to let a group hold an event to encourage support for the boycott of Israel, The New York Times reported. The event has prompted calls from some politicians to cut funds for the college, part of the City University of New York. At a press conference, Bloomberg said that he strongly disagrees with the calls to boycott Israel, but added that a university should be able to have events on any topic, "including ideas that people find repugnant." To those who disagree, he offered these words: "If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea."

 

February 7, 2013

Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has announced that he will not donate his papers to an institute named for him at Iowa State, The Des Moines Register reported. That institute may now change its name and focus, and money donated to it may be returned. The dispute centers on what Harkin and some see as limits on academic freedom. Agriculture research supported by the institute must be done in collaboration with other institutes at Iowa State. While university officials say that requirement is innocuous, others see it limiting academic freedom by preventing solo work by those affiliated with the institute.

 

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