The Christian Legal Society has settled a lawsuit against the University of Montana's law school over the latter's refusal to recognize the former as an official student organization. Under the settlement, the law school agreed not to consider factors such as the relative popularity of student organizations in deciding whether they can be recognized. The society had argued that this practice would amount to illegal viewpoint discrimination. But the society agreed not to sue the university should it be denied recognition over law school rules requiring student organizations to be open to all students. The Christian group maintains that it meets this requirement because its activities are open, but the law school in the past has disagreed because the society requires members and leaders to share its beliefs.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Ohio higher education officials on Wednesday released details of a plan to turn public universities into "charter universities," in which they could give up some state funds in return for more freedom from regulations, The Dayton Daily News reported. The first part of the plan would let all 14 state universities meet internal auditors in private. Further, Bowling Green State, Kent State, Miami, Ohio and Ohio State Universities would be freed of enrollment caps. Universities could then trade more freedom for less money. So some institutions could opt to get less money and be allowed to self-insure for workers' compensation coverage, and to set tuition by academic program. Faculty groups in Ohio have been viewing with skepticism the push away from a traditional state higher education system.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded a $600,000 grant to Indiana University and the University of Michigan to develop an infrastructure for facilitating research involving the digitized works held in the HathiTrust Digital Library, according to an Indiana press release. The goal will be to develop reliable ways for scholars to analyze huge swaths of text in the HathiTrust's holdings using computer algorithms. Google has already opened up its own vault of digitized works to computational analysis by scholars, even coining the term "culturenomics" to describe research that applies quantitative analysis to digitized literature. The HathiTrust, a consortium of more than 50 universities, does not have as many works in its digital vault as Google Books, but has taken steps to emulate that project in hope of building a more academe-oriented alternative.
Professional science master's programs received nearly 4,400 applications for fall 2010 admission, and 48 percent of applicants were accepted, according to data released Tuesday by the Council of Graduate Schools. Programs in biology/biotechnology received more applications than those in other fields of study, constituting 34 percent of all applications received.
Sheng Wang, who until last month was an assistant professor at Boston University's medical school, fabricated data used in two journal articles, a federal probe has found, The Boston Globe reported. Following the investigation by the Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wang agreed to retract the articles. Wang's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
The American Association of University Professors has released a final version of its new policy on how colleges should handle personnel decisions involving politically controversial figures. The new version contains only minor changes (and no substantive policy shifts) from the draft released in February. The political views of academics should not be used as the bases to hire, fire, promote or demote them, the AAUP says, and strict, faculty-run procedures should be in place to prevent political influences on such actions.
Irma McClaurin has resigned as president of Shaw University after less than a year in office, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. McClaurin and the university described the decision to leave as mutual, but did not reveal much more than that. She was the university's third president in the last three years. The historically black college, which has struggled financially, suffered major damage in April from a tornado that hit the campus.