Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 1, 2012

James Holmes, who is charged in the Colorado movie theater killings, threatened a psychiatrist he was seeing at the University of Colorado at Denver, according to court documents released Friday, The Denver Post reported. Holmes, who left a graduate program at the university, was reported by the psychiatrist as a danger and she ended the professional relationship with Holmes, the documents indicate. The documents do not indicate -- as many have reported -- that the university banned Holmes from campus.

October 1, 2012

The University of Mississippi has held a series of events in recent weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of its desegregation. But as The New York Times noted, some have questioned whether the emphasis is on the wrong time period. Much discussion has noted the progress of the last 50 years to the point where the president of the student body is a black woman. But Charles W. Eagles, a history professor and the author of The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss, has prompted campus discussion with a talk in which he said that the university was celebrating its progress and not talking about the realities that came before integration. "The doors were open for 50 years yes, but they’d been closed for a century,” he said. “We don’t want to talk about that do we?"

October 1, 2012

Southern Methodist University -- facing criticism over its handling of sexual assault reports -- has announced a new task force to study the issue, The Dallas Morning News reported. In the last month, two SMU students have been arrested on sexual assault charges. In one of the cases, the district attorney's office was not informed of the allegations until eight months after they had been made. In that case, a campus disciplinary body found the accused guilty of misconduct over an allegation that he raped another student. An appeals panel overturned that ruling and it was only then that information was sent to the district attorney, who convened a grand jury, which indicted the accused. "We want to make sure victims get their day in court. And eight months is too long. Eight months is way too long," said a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

 

September 28, 2012

Carleen Basler, an assistant professor of American studies and sociology at Amherst College, resigned last week after senior faculty members discovered that she had plagiarized some of her scholarly work. The plagiarism was found as Basler was being evaluated for tenure, officials said. “She accepted responsibility and decided to resign,” said Gregory Call, the dean of faculty at Amherst and a mathematics professor. Biddy Martin, president of the college, said that Basler had worked at Amherst since 2003. When asked about the extent of plagiarism, Martin said it was "extensive." An automatic reply to an e-mail sent to Basler’s college e-mail account said: “Carleen Basler is no longer with Amherst College.” Basler did not reply by deadline to an e-mail sent to her private address.

September 28, 2012

John R. Silber, whose 25-year reign atop Boston University remade the institution in ways that enthralled supporters and often enraged critics, died Thursday, the university announced. Silber came to B.U. in 1971 after a career as a philosopher and dean at the University of Texas at Austin; his deanship there ended in dismissal when he battled regents over a plan to split up the College of Arts and Sciences. At Boston, he was expansionistic and at times imperialistic, greatly strengthening the quality of the university's faculty and its financial standing while simultaneously doing battle with his many critics, who took offense at his unguarded style of speaking and his pay, unmatched by other presidents' at the time.

Assessments, tributes and other articles on Silber can be found in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, B.U.'s public radio station, and elsewhere.

September 28, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation Thursday designed to give college students free digital access to textbooks in 50 popular lower-division courses offered by the state's public universities and colleges, and another bill Wednesday that requires significantly greater reporting of information by for-profit colleges in the state. The textbook legislation will, according to the Los Angeles Times, also make print copies of the key textbooks available for no more than $20.
 

September 28, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan will stay for a second term if President Obama is re-elected -- "unless the president gets sick of me," he told National Journal Thursday. According to the political publication, Duncan made his statement after a K-12 event here, and signaled that he would focus (as President Obama has in speeches and on the campaign trail this year) on trying to drive down college tuitions. “We need to crack the nut on higher education," Duncan said Thursday, according to National Journal. "Middle-class families think college is not for them.”

September 28, 2012

In today’s Academic Minute, Elaine Treharne of Florida State University explains the discovery of an inscription that provides rare insight into the nature of romantic relationships at the Tudor court. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

September 28, 2012

Texas Southern University has suspended its marching band, pending an investigation of a report about hazing by one section of the band, the Associated Press reported. The band did not perform Thursday at a football game between Texas Southern and Sam Houston State University.

September 27, 2012

Administrators at Bryan College, a Christian college in Tennessee, tried to stop the student newspaper from publishing an article about an assistant professor's arrest in an FBI sting. The assistant professor was accused of trying to meet underaged girls at a gas station. The editor of the weekly newspaper, The Triangle, published the article himself, posting copies in public spaces at the college, after the president asked him not to print it, he said in a note attached to the article. A spokesman for the college told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press that administrators didn't want the story published because they couldn't verify its facts.

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