Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

March 12, 2013

The University of Colorado at Boulder last year shut down a longstanding tradition of a major pot party on campus on April 20. Since then, Colorado residents voted to legalize marijuana, raising the hope of some that the university might not oppose the party this year. On Monday, the university made clear that the new statewide policy will have no impact on campus policy.  “We are committed to ending the unwelcome 4/20 gathering on the CU-Boulder campus, and this year’s approach represents the continuance of a multi-year plan to achieve that end,” said a statement from Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “What’s important here is the protection of CU’s missions of research, teaching and service. This isn’t about marijuana or drug laws. It’s about not disrupting the important work of a world-class university.”

March 12, 2013

A University of Iowa graduate student was killed Sunday in a clash with police officers, three of whom he injured, the Associated Press reported. The police had responded to a reported domestic incident at a trailer park when the shooting took place. Taleb Hussein Yousef Salameh, the graduate student, had been studying engineering.

 

March 12, 2013

University College London is investigating reports that an event organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy segregated the audience by gender, The Guardian reported. Students reported being told that women had to sit in the back, while spaces were provided up front for men, or for male-female couples.

March 12, 2013

Northwestern University announced Monday that it would cut the size of its entering class by 10 percent, while also adding 25 percent to spending on financial aid. While several other law schools have made such moves, amid declines in law school applications and a tough job market for graduates, Northwestern is among the more highly regarded law schools to announce such a shift. “We can’t ignore the destabilizing forces that the legal industry is facing today,” said Daniel Rodriguez, the law dean, in a statement.

 

March 11, 2013

A former University of Texas at Austin equipment manager was found guilty by a county jury last week on six of seven counts of improper photography or visual recording, after he filmed members of the women’s track and cross country team in the shower locker room. Campus police began investigating Rene Zamora after an athlete caught him filming her in September 2010, the Austin American-Statesman reported, but he'd been recording women over the course of three years. The university suspended Zamora one week into their investigation and he resigned two days later. This marks the third time this year that a Texas athletics official was punished for inappropriate sexual conduct with students. The other two cases, though, were consensual relationships.

March 11, 2013

Salem College has finished its review of what policies it should have about transgender students, but the letter announcing the completion of the review is vague on what that policy is and doesn't even use the word "transgender," The Winston-Salem Journal reported. Salem is a women's college and the issue of transgender students has been sensitive for women's colleges, given their history of providing single-sex education. Word that the college was considering a policy on transgender students set off debate among students and alumnae, with some favoring an inclusive policy and some fearing that allowing transgender students to stay enrolled would open the door to the college becoming fully coeducational. A letter from the board chair says that trustees, after “lengthy discussion and due consideration,” affirmed that Salem “values its students as individuals” and that “the wellbeing of all students is of paramount importance.” The letter also says that the board "has no intention of admitting men to Salem's traditional undergraduate program or becoming a coeducational institution." A spokeswoman declined to elaborate on how the college would respond to transgender students. Asked by the Journal why the word "transgender" wasn’t used in the letter, the spokeswoman said, "Does it need to be?"

March 11, 2013

Harvard University secretly searched the e-mail accounts of 16 resident deans -- administrators who work with students on academic and other issues -- trying to identify the source of a leak about the university's cheating scandal, The Boston Globe reported. The news surprised and concerned some at Harvard. The university did not explicitly confirm that it engaged in the secret searches. But the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Michael Smith, issued a statement saying: "Harvard College would take all necessary and appropriate actions under our procedures to safeguard the integrity of that process, which is designed to protect the rights of our students to privacy and due process,” the statement read. And Jeff Neal, a university spokesman, appeared to acknowledge the incident when he denied that e-mail is regularly checked, telling the Globe that "any assertion that Harvard routinely monitors e-mails – for any reason – is patently false."

 

March 11, 2013

In today’s Academic Minute, Hans Hofmann of the University of Texas at Austin reveals the genetic basis of common behaviors found in distantly related species. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

March 11, 2013

Some University of Oklahoma students are objecting to the choice of the journalist Fareed Zakaria as this year's commencement speaker, The Oklahoman reported. Zakaria's journalism at Time and CNN has led to numerous campus speaking invitations. But students note that he was suspended from his journalism jobs last year (and then reinstated) after he was found to have used portions of a New Yorker article for one of his Time pieces. Doug McKnight, a senior, said he would skip commencement, because "I don't think I can go hear him talk to me about integrity and professionalism."

March 11, 2013

Food service and custodial workers plan a three-day strike this week at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Chicago Tribune reported. The workers, members of the Service Employees International Union Local 73, are frustrated by what they see as a lack of progress in negotiating a contract. The union predicted significant disruptions to food service this week, while the university vowed that it would provide hot meals and would minimize disruption by reassigning non-striking workers.

 

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