Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Last week, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa was debating the use of a racial slur and the campus reaction to it -- and over the weekend racial incidents at other campuses became known:

  • At Georgetown College, in Kentucky, local police were summoned to the campus after a series of incidents, including the use of a racial slur, an offensive statement made in a classroom setting, and graffiti and symbols that appeared on parts of the campus, LEX18 News reported. Officials have condemned the incidents, but not provided details on what was said. A national fraternity, the Kappa Alpha Order, announced Saturday that it had suspended its Georgetown College chapter, pending investigations into whether its was involved in the use of racial slurs directed at a minority student, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
  • At the University of Missouri at Columbia, authorities discovered a racial slur on a sculpture outside a dormitory, and a suspect has been arrested, KMOX News reported. The incident came a year after students at Missouri were angered by a scattering of cotton balls -- seen by many as a reference to slavery -- in front of the Black Culture Center.
Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

"Extreme" origami is hot at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Boston Globe reported, with students able to make extremely intricate designs (we're not talking about those paper cranes of your youth) in minutes. More information may be found on the website of OrigaMIT.

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

An economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, Thomas DiLorenzo, was criticized at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing where he testified last week because he previously gave a lecture at a meeting of the League of the South, a group that calls for the secession of Southern states from the United States, The Baltimore Sun reported. Representative William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) raised questions (in a hearing about the Federal Reserve) about DiLorenzo's testimony because "you work for a Southern nationalist organization that espouses very radical notions about American history and the federal government." DiLorenzo said that the talk was years ago, and did not mean that he backed the group. He told the Sun: "I don't endorse what they say and do any more than I endorse what Congress says and does because I spoke at a hearing on Wednesday."

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

New Hampshire's Public Employee Labor Relations Board has ruled that a majority of adjuncts in the Community College System of New Hampshire have signed authorization cards to have the State Employees' Association represent them for collective bargaining. As a result, the board declared that the association, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, now represents the adjuncts. The association already represents full-time professors, as well as clerical and maintenance employees, in the community college system.

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Faculty members at Idaho State University have voted no confidence in President Arthur Vailas, according to Boise Weekly. A faculty report details what professors consider to be numerous problems with Vailas, raising issues about the accuracy of his statements, his leadership abilities and the way he has responded to budget challenges, among other issues. A statement from the president's office stated that he "enjoys widespread support from other constituencies."

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

The University of Utah is investigating allegations of plagiarism against Bahman Baktiari, director of the institution's Middle East Center, in an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune, that newspaper reported. The newspaper has since removed the op-ed from its website. Faculty members and students identified several instances of unattributed material from sources such as The New York Times and The Economist and shared their analysis with senior university officials and the Tribune. Baktiari told the newspaper he didn't know attribution was needed for newspaper op-eds.

Monday, February 14, 2011 - 3:00am

Afghanistan's universities are suffering severe financial problems at a time that they are badly needed to promote the development of the country, The Washington Post reported. Among the key problems are laws that bar charging tuition and that prohibit universities from creating endowments. The result is dependence on the government and outside agencies, which have limited funds. Last year, the 22 public universities and education institutes operated on a combined total of $35 million, the Post said.

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Ave Maria University, a Roman Catholic institution in Florida known for its strict adherence to traditional church teachings, announced Thursday that the founding chancellor and CEO, Thomas S. Monaghan, was leaving daily oversight of the university in July and would be replaced by Jim Towey, the former president of Saint Vincent College. Both Monaghan at Ave Maria and Towey at Saint Vincent have had significant clashes with faculty members over a range of issues.

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:00am

Business schools have changed their programs and need to consider further changes as a result of globalization, according to a report issued Thursday by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The report outlines ideas for the kinds of changes business schools need to consider while reviewing some of the notable changes already made.

Friday, February 11, 2011 - 3:00am

College leaders heartened by Wednesday's announcement from House Republican leaders that proposed budget cuts would spare many higher education programs had their hearts sink Thursday. Those very same House leaders -- responding to criticism from Tea Party pressure within their own party -- announced Thursday that they would cut much deeper from the budget for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, requiring them to find another $26 billion in reductions. As House appropriators strive to meet the Pledge to America goal of slicing $100 billion in non-military discretionary spending in the year that ends September 30, it is hard to fathom that those additional cuts will not do damage to some student financial aid and other college-related programs that seemed to have been spared in the earlier review. "Our intent is to make deep but manageable cuts in nearly every area of government, leaving no stone unturned and allowing no agency or program to be held sacred," said Representative Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the panel's chairman. Details are expected soon.

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