Higher Education Quick Takes

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Friday, April 20, 2012 - 4:32am

A Colorado judge on Thursday denied a request by six individuals who sought to block the University of Colorado at Boulder from keeping everyone who is not a student or employee off the campus today, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. The university imposed the rules to try to prevent an annual gathering on April 20 of people who smoke pot together in an unofficial party. Civil libertarians have said that the university is effectively squelching political debate because the event is also a forum for opposing current drug laws. But Judge Andrew Macdonald said that the university had legitimate reasons to block the event. "Why doesn't CU have the right to say, 'We don't want to pay $60,000 a year for this?'" he said. "Why don't they have the right to say, 'We're tired of this?'"

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Mehnaz Afridi of Manhattan College explains how many Islamic communities resisted Nazi efforts during the Holocaust. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Franklin & Marshall College officials said Wednesday that the liberal arts college had fired its women's lacrosse coach in the wake of an investigation into a hazing complaint, Bloomberg reported. Franklin & Marshall officials said that they had dismissed Lauren Paul, whose team won a Division III national championship in 2009, and suspended a group of junior and senior players for conducting the hazing incident last year. “We make student athletes aware that there is a zero-tolerance policy against any form of hazing, and our coaches are responsible both for conveying and stewarding this policy,” Cass Cliatt, the college's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “Not only is hazing a violation of our rules of conduct, it is against state law, and we cannot allow any activity in which students endanger themselves or others.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

The office of the chancellor of the California Community College has announced that its review of two-tiered tuition at community colleges in the state has found that the practice would be illegal. The office has been studying the issue since Santa Monica College announced a plan -- since abandoned -- to charge more for some high-demand courses. The chancellor's office consulted with the state attorney general's office on the issue, but a spokeswoman for the chancellor's office said that no formal opinion was requested or provided. But she said that, based on the review and the consultations, the chancellor's office is "comfortable" feeling that two-tiered tuition "is not permissible and is therefore illegal" under California's education code.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Two University of Michigan graduate research assistants have filed a lawsuit against the state over a new law that bars graduate research assistants from unionizing, The Detroit Free Press reported. Republican lawmakers pushed through the legislation just as organizers appeared on the cusp of winning the right to form a union. The suit charges that the law violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection requirements by creating a special class of workers (graduate research assistants) who are denied rights available to other workers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Annette M. Spicuzza has announced plans to retire as police chief at the University of California at Davis, The Sacramento Bee reported. Spicuzza has been criticized for the use of pepper spray on seated, peaceful students at a protest in November. In an e-mail message, she said: "As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine. I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed."

 

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 3:00am

Rudy Fichtenbaum, an economics professor at Wright State University, will be the new president of the American Association of University Professors, the organization announced late Wednesday. Fichtenbaum won 2,246 votes in the AAUP elections, nearly 1,000 votes more than Irene Mulvey, a professor of mathematics at Fairfield University, who was also competing for the post. “The current crisis calls on us to shift our focus and place our highest priority on organizing to defend our profession and genuinely reform higher education,” Fichtenbaum said in an e-mail statement after the results were announced. He has served as president of the AAUP’s Ohio Conference and has been a member of the organization’s National Council.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 4:45am

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences on Tuesday announced the election of 220 scholars and other new members, the vast majority of whom are college and university professors. An alphabetical list appears here.

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 3:00am

The College Board will subsidize Advanced Placement classes in about 200 California high schools in hopes of bringing more of the college-level courses to poorer communities. In part a response to a new state law asking high schools to offer at least five AP classes, the program will provide teacher training and course supplies. The College Board will identify potential new AP classes based on students’ PSAT scores.

Students receive credit (or at least place out of requirements) for high AP test scores at many colleges. But the test takers tend to be whiter and wealthier than the population at large, leading critics to suggest that AP can place poor or minority students at a greater disadvantage. This project targets schools with a high number of students whose test scores suggest they can succeed in AP courses that aren’t offered.

Participating schools must offer the new AP classes for three years starting this fall or next fall. The College Board will then study the results to see if students in those classes are better prepared for college and then consider expanding the program elsewhere.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 3:00am

State leaders in Texas have set admirably ambitious goals for its public colleges and universities, but some of those goals are not compatible, and huge inequities persist across the system, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Higher Education Research. Texas has also failed to understand the "policy tradeoffs" required to make needed improvements, the report said. For example, the state's push to expand the research capacity of its "emerging" universities is an expensive venture at a time when state financial aid has not kept pace with tuition increases. The report is the fourth of a five-state study from the institute.

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