A federal grand jury charged a man who lives in Dublin with sending dozens of bomb threats to the University of Pittsburgh this spring, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The threats led to considerable disruption and worry on the campus. The man who was indicted is in custody. Law enforcement authorities declined to speculate on the motive for all of the threats.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The long, disturbing tale of the Rev. Mark Gruber and Saint Vincent College has apparently come to an end, with a Vatican-imposed penalty barring the former faculty member from the priesthood in response to allegations -- disputed by his supporters and by civil authorities -- that he downloaded child pornography. Gruber, a longtime and widely respected monk and professor of anthropology at the Benedictine college in Pennsylvania, was one of the few campus officials who publicly criticized leaders there during a governance controversy in 2008, reportedly angering the then-president, James Towey, and the Right Rev. Douglas Nowicki, who headed the board of the Saint Vincent Archabbey.
The following fall, college officials barred him from the campus and reported him to local police, saying they had found child pornography on a computer in a common area outside his office. The charges were dropped after police concluded that no images on the computer had been of men under the age of 18, and that the computer was in a common area and many people had access to it. The following year, another Saint Vincent employee came forward and took responsibility for having downloaded the images.
Despite the lack of evidence of wrongdoing by Gruber, Saint Vincent officials continued to push for his ouster as a priest through the Vatican. In a statement Tuesday, the Saint Vincent Archabbey said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had found him guilty of "canonical crimes" of possession of child pornography, "production of materials which gravely injury good morals; abuse of the Sacrament of Confession (but not a violation of the sacramental seal); and defamation of a legitimate superior." It ordered him to live the rest of his life in prayer and penitence in a residence chosen by the Vatican, barred him from "exercising any public priestly ministry," and restricted him from any contact with anyone under the age of 18.
The editors and editorial staff of The Red & Black, the student newspaper of the University of Georgia, walked out Wednesday night after the university gave editorial control of the publication to the official who used to serve only as an advisor, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. Ed Morales, who now has control of the publication, declined to comment. But students said that since they lose control of the paper, they were being forced to do articles that they did not believe in. The students have set up a blog, Red and Dead, detailing their concerns, including being told, when in doubt, to focus on "good" stories rather than "bad" stories (the latter category including articles that might cast anyone in a bad light).
The publishing and e-learning giant Pearson is starting a degree-awarding college in Britain, Times Higher Education reported. (In the United States, Pearson does not award postsecondary degrees.) Britain's government has stalled on the issue of letting for-profit companies award degrees entirely on their own. But Pearson's degrees will be validated by Royal Holloway of the University of London.
The latest ad from President Obama's campaign takes on Mitt Romney on college aid. The ad quotes from a statement in which Romney urged young people to borrow from their parents, and goes on to talk about the benefits of direct lending and the administration's commitment to student aid. The ad also accuses Romney of proposed deep cuts to student aid, although as The Washington Post noted, those possible cuts are based on Romney's overall tax and budget plans, not on specific, current proposals. A Romney spokesman told the Post that "Mitt Romney will encourage innovation and competition to make college more affordable, and his economic policies will give recent graduates the job opportunities they deserve."
A student activities committee at Davidson College has banned serving Chick-fil-A at student events, pending a review of student opinion on the controversial restaurant chain, The Charlotte Observer reported. Students and others nationwide have been encouraging boycotts of Chick-fil-A because of statements by its president criticizing gay marriage. While many campuses have seen demands that Chick-fil-A campuses be kicked off campuses, that hasn't happened. In the case of Davidson, what is being suspended is bringing the food on campus for official student events organized by the committee, not removing a campus vendor.
- NACAC 68th National Conference, National Association of College Admission Counseling, October 4-6, Denver, Colo.
- 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning, Sloan Consortium, October 10-12, Orlando, Fla.
- Fall Southeastern Sectional Meeting, American Mathematical Society, October 13-14, New Orleans, La.
- New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning, Association of American Colleges and Universities, October 18-20, Baltimore, Md.
- POD Network Annual Conference, Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education, October 24-28, Seattle, Wash.
These meetings, conferences, seminars and other events will be held in the coming weeks in and around higher education. They are among the many such that appear in our calendar, to which campus and other officials can submit their own events. Our site also includes a comprehensive catalog of job changes in higher education; please submit your news to both listings.
St. Paul's College, a historically black college in Virginia, is suspending most operations for the fall semester, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. In the last month, the college has helped many of its students transfer to other institutions. The moves follow the decision in June of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to revoke St. Paul's accreditation. The college is appealing, and is also exploring possible mergers, but decided that suspending operations for the fall was the best course of action for now, officials said.