The leaders of the University and College Union, the primary faculty union in Britain, are backing the right of students to wear burqas, The Independent reported. Union leaders argue that this right will assure that the universities are welcoming to people of all faiths.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A local district attorney has criticized Marquette University for its handling of two allegations of sexual assault by athletes in which the D.A. has now determined that it cannot go ahead with prosecution, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. In one case, the accused athlete had a meeting with coaching staff before authorities were notified that the allegations had been made. In both cases, delays from when the university learned of the allegations to when the police learned of them hindered efforts to build a case, officials said. Stephanie Quade, Marquette's dean of students, issued a statement following the criticism: "We're not proud of these incidents or the way in which they were handled. There have been some blunt and direct conversations with offices throughout the university, and we're working on ways to address the issues that have been raised."
Government officials in Togo have shut the University of Lome, the country's largest university, following student protests, the Associated Press reported. Students have been demanding better food and reconsideration of a new curriculum for which they say they are not prepared.
Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State University's football coach on Monday, ending weeks of steadily mounting pressure on both him and the university in the wake of revelations that Tressel failed to act despite knowing that players had violated National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. Ohio State announced in March that it had suspended and fined Tressel for failing to tell administrators or the NCAA that players had sold team memorabilia and received free tattoos worth thousands of dollars. Although Tressel's two-game suspension grew to five to equal the penalty the NCAA imposed on players, Ohio State had come under increasing pressure to dismiss the coach for his role in the embarrassing scandal. And it appears that it was about to get much worse for Tressel, as Sports Illustrated reports that it had informed Ohio State officials Saturday of a pending investigation showing that the violations at Ohio State were much broader and went on for much longer than the university has acknowledged. In a videotaped statement Monday, Gene Smith, the athletics director, said that Tressel had emerged from a discussion between the two Sunday night persuaded that resigning was in his and Ohio State's best interests.
The Faculty Senate at Cornell University voted this month to stop releasing median grades in courses, as the university has done since 1998. The vote followed research finding that students were using the information to select courses with higher median grades. Median grades will still be available to deans, department chairs and those doing research requiring the information.
Spending on "529" savings plans for college is up 75 percent in the last two years, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state-sponsored plans provide tax breaks for contributions to various investment funds. The article attributed the surge to continued concern among families about college costs, but also to renewed confidence in the possibility of making money through investments.
Backlash continues against the news that some colleges are paying big bucks for graduation speakers. Legislation has been introduced in New Jersey that would deduct from a state appropriation to a public college or university the size of any fee paid to a graduation speaker, The Star-Ledger reported. The move follows criticism of Rutgers University for paying author Toni Morrison $30,000 and Kean University for paying the singer John Legend $25,000 to appear this year. The universities say that students want big-name speakers. One of the legislators sponsoring the bill said that it should be "honor enough to be asked" to attract speakers.
A state jury on Wednesday awarded more than $500,000 to a deaf former professor at Texas Tech University, agreeing that his disability played an illegal role in the university's refusal to renew his employment, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported. Texas Tech denied wrongdoing. Michael L. Collier, who had been on the tenure track teaching American Sign Language and courses about deaf culture, presented evidence that Texas Tech violated its own rules. The university states that it deals with any concerns about employees by talking with them informally first, so the concerns can be remedied. In his case, Collier said, he never was told of any concerns until the department chair told him his contract would not be renewed.
The Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate of the City University of New York passed a resolution of no confidence Thursday in the system’s provost, Alexandra Logue, and its Office of Academic Affairs for not seeking its advice in a comprehensive reform of student transfer between the system’s two- and four-year institutions. The effort would create a general education framework for all of the system’s institutions, causing some senior institutions to significantly trim their requirements. The overarching transfer agreement would guarantee that liberal arts and sciences courses taken for credit at any CUNY institutions be accepted for credit by any other CUNY institutions, even if an equivalent course exists at the transfer institution. The University Faculty Senate, a group representing all institutions but dominated by four-year faculty, argues that the reforms, as initially written, “would have undermined educational quality and threatened the accreditation of many CUNY programs.” It also argues that a recent revision of the transfer proposal, done with what it feels was insufficient faculty input, “still does not adequately provide for student transfer in a way that safeguards the quality of general education at CUNY.” In response, Jay Hershenson, system spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed: "Allowing transfer students greater access to quality course choices is a big change from a highly prescriptive out-of-the-mainstream system installed in the last century. But the students deserve our support and commitment to academic quality."