Michele Dufault, a Yale University senior, was killed Wednesday in an unusual lab accident in which her hair became caught in a lathe and she died of accidental asphyxia by neck compression, The Hartford Courant reported. Yale, state officials and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are all investigating the accident.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of California Hastings College of Law took last-minute action to remove its name (and to have its dean withdraw from plans to offer opening remarks) at a conference on how legal systems could be used to support Palestinian rights, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The college's board met just prior to the conference, in response to complaints from pro-Israel organizations that said the conference was one-sided. Many faculty members say that the academic freedom of conference organizers was violated when the dean was told not to welcome participants.
Lambuth University, a private institution in Tennessee that has been facing financial struggles for years and a revocation of its accreditation in the last year, may need "a miracle" to survive, a state legislator told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The legislator is one of a group of three who are pushing a plan for the university to become a branch of the University of Memphis, the newspaper reported. Today could be the crucial day for the institution, with its board considering whether it can continue to operate. The university scheduled a special prayer service for Wednesday night, in advance of the board meeting.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has replaced the only trustee on the board of the Medical University of South Carolina who was a woman or an African American, The State reported. Some legislators are charging that the governor, a Republican, is taking away needed diversity from the board. The governor has defended the quality of those she is appointing to boards.
An internal audit has found little oversight over the travel expenses of Allen Sessoms, president of the University of the District of Columbia, The Washington Post reported. The audit noted that no budgets were ever developed for the president's travel -- which has come under scrutiny -- and that there was little evidence that the university's board monitored these expenses. A spokesman said that the university would not comment until the board reviews the audit.
More than 400 sociologists have signed a petition urging colleagues to vote against a proposed dues increase by the American Sociological Association unless the group provides more details on why the money is needed. The petition notes that the ASA has explained that a new dues structure is needed to make the system more progressive, and the petition endorses that principle. But it notes that, more than make dues more progressive, the new structure increases fees for all working sociologists and produces significantly more revenue for the ASA. "We believe that such a large aggregate increase in dues should be explained to members, before any vote, by a clear account of what more the ASA will be doing or why it needs to raise funds beyond a cost of living increase to continue existing services. This explanation must be specific about the services to be funded by additional dues revenue, and distinguish services that need additional dues funds from those that generate enough revenue on their own to break-even or make a profit."
Sally T. Hillsman, executive officer of the association, noted in response that the ASA publishes its annual audit online and has shared detailed financial plans with members, and will continue to do so. She added, however, that "it is clear that our members need and want more information," and said more would be forthcoming. "While we believe that revising the dues structure will benefit ASA, it is important to note that it is a proposal. ASA members have the final say," she said. "We have been glad to see vibrant discussion among members about the proposed dues change."
The American Civil Liberties Union and some students are charging the University of California at Davis with spying on protesters by developing plans to monitor and attend various rallies, The Sacramento Bee reported. The ACLU and students used open records requests to obtain documents about various university strategies to monitor student plans and to attend rallies. University officials said that their actions were legal and were designed to protect public safety, not to squelch debate or protest.
The membership of the Common Application is about to grow by 48 colleges, to a total of 460. While the Common Application was founded 35 years ago, half of its membership has joined in the last decade. And while the program was once associated with small liberal arts colleges, it has expanded in recent years. This year's additions include two flagship public universities -- the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky -- on top of 10 other flagships added in the past few years. Public institutions now make up 12 percent of the colleges in the program -- a record high. Another notable addition this year is Howard University, the fifth historically black college to participate.