Students at Russia's Kazan University say that they were forced to sit for an exam for 23 hours, from 10 a.m. one day until 9 a.m. the next, without being permitted to leave for bathroom breaks, RIA Novosti reported. Like many Russian exams, the test was oral, and the students were forced to wait until the instructor -- who they said was drunk -- excused them. University officials have denied that the instructor was drunk.
Higher Education Quick Takes
In the United States, many lament that it takes students too long to graduate. In Germany, the School of Economics and Management in Essen is suing Marcel Pohl, for $3,772 that the institution lost in tuition revenue when he finished a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in 3 semesters, not the 11 that would have been expected, UPI reported. The university declined to comment. Pohl said, "When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true. Performance is supposed to be worth something."
Syracuse University on Thursday released the results of an independent investigation into how the institution responded to 2005 allegations that Bernie Fine, then an assistant basketball coach, had sexually abused a boy from around the time the child was 12 -- and the new report faulted some aspects of the university's 2005 response. That year as well, the university sought outside legal help, and that inquiry found that the allegations could not be substantiated.
The report released Thursday did not dispute that finding. But it raised questions about Syracuse's handling of the incident. The university's summary of the new report says that it "concludes that when viewed in hindsight, the process was imperfect, and some of the judgments made could have been better. Among other things, the report notes that the university should have made direct contact with law enforcement; that the university’s counsel should have alerted the chancellor to allegations that student athletes may have had sexual encounters with Laurie Fine, Bernie Fine’s wife; and that the Board of Trustees (or some components thereof) should have been informed of the allegations."
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has placed Kean University on probation, citing questions about whether the university is adequately measuring student learning, and whether there is an atmosphere that promotes respect among students, faculty members and administrators, The Star-Ledger reported. Dawood Farahi, the president, and Ada Morell, the board president, issued a statement blasting the accreditor, accusing it of carrying out a "staff-driven agenda" designed to hurt the university's reputation.
Public universities' law school clinics are not covered by the state's open records law, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Thursday, The Star-Ledger reported. The decision came in a suit by the developer of a mall who wanted access to records of groups working with a Rutgers University law clinic to block the mall's construction. Law clinic experts said that it would have been impossible for clinics to operate at public universities if all records could be obtained by groups in litigation with the clients represented by the clinics.
The University of Maine System announced Thursday that Selma Botman is leaving the presidency of the University of Southern Maine to work on international issues for the system. A majority of faculty members at Southern Maine voted no confidence in Botman in May, although university rules require a two-thirds majority of all faculty members (that was not met) for such a vote to count. Theodora Kalikow, who recently ended a widely praised tenure as president of the University of Maine at Farmington, will take over at Southern Maine on Tuesday.
In today’s Academic Minute, Kurt Rotthoff of Seton Hall University tests claims about the economic benefit of investing in large sports arenas and stadiums. Learn more about the Academic Minute here. And since you may have missed yesterday's podcast, in which Colby College's David Freidenreich examines the historical meaning of dietary restrictions within the world's major monotheistic religions, here's a link.
A government committee in Israel on Wednesday blocked university status for the Ariel University Center, an Israeli academic institution located in the West Bank, Haaretz reported. The panel said that the center should maintain its current status, which is short of a full university, pending a full review in the next year. Many Israeli academics had expected university status to be awarded, and Ariel is strongly supported by Israelis who favor settlement in the West Bank. But Israeli academics -- professors and presidents alike -- strongly opposed university status. The presidents of existing universities argued that the country doesn't have enough money for its existing universities, and shouldn't create a new one. Many professors also said that making Ariel into a university would inject higher education into the debate about the future of Palestinian territories in a way that would be unhelpful for the peace process and for higher education.
Pedro Segarra, the mayor of Hartford, is criticizing the way people responded to a March assault on a Trinity College student, saying that many students and others inappropriately assumed that the attackers must be residents of a low-income neighborhood near the college, the Associated Press reported. The student who was attacked and others with him said at the time that the attackers were "Spanish," hundreds of students attended a rally demanding better security, and college officials said that the assailants were not students. But the police are now investigating the possibility that the student was assaulted by Trinity students. "People should not make presuppositions before they have facts available to them to be able to draw a conclusion," Segarra said in an interview. "All people, whether it's the campus administration or whether it's the city, whether it's the community, people need to be more astute, not quick to pass judgment."