Higher Education Quick Takes

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 3:00am

With the new Antioch College preparing to hire its first faculty members, the American Association of University Professors is reiterating its call for the college to turn to some of those who lost their jobs teaching at the Antioch College that was shuttered by Antioch University. A letter sent by the AAUP to the new college on Monday noted that while the college is correct that it legally is not the same entity that eliminated the faculty jobs, there may be still be obligations to those faculty members. "[T]he new college continues to invoke not only the history and legacy of the old institution and to bear the name and goodwill of the old, but to benefit from many of the tangible assets of the historic Antioch College, including the alumni, the campus and facilities, and the substantial endowment. The faculty of the old Antioch College, including those faculty who were laid off, were at the core of creating and sustaining those assets. Thus we believe that such benefits entail certain continuing responsibilities to those long-standing employees who are qualified for and remain available for positions in the new college -- especially the tenured faculty," says the letter. It goes on to note concern that at least one trustee leader may believe that donors would object to hiring those who were laid off by the university.

Antioch responded with a letter of its own, saying that it would welcome applications from the faculty members who worked for the previous institution, but that it was important to do broad searches to fill the positions. "We are grateful that the American Association of University Professors recognizes that Antioch College is a different legal entity from Antioch University. It is, therefore, inconsistent for the association to support a process of employee 'reinstatement' for those the AAUP asserts were 'laid off' by Antioch University," the college's letter says. "Despite the commitment of its trustees and leadership to the fundamental value of academic tenure, consistent with the AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the decision of the college to move forward with a faculty hiring process that both embraces equal opportunity employment practice and fundamentally protects the new institution against charges of discrimination and favoritism in hiring has not, as of yet, met with public support from the AAUP."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 3:00am

Raynard S. Kington, the new president at Grinnell College, said he was attracted to the institution by its commitment to social justice. The college has now announced a new award -- in which up to $300,000 will be awarded annually to honor people under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership in promoting positive social change. Up to three awards -- each splitting $100,000 between an individual and an organization committed to the individual's ideals of social justice -- will be made each year.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Phoenix is eliminating 700 jobs through layoffs, primarily in admissions departments, the university's parent company, the Apollo Group, announced Monday. “In recent months, we have accelerated the shift in our approach to student admissions, and have refined our business model. These staffing reductions are intended to better align our operations with these business decisions," a Phoenix official told Barrons.com.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 3:00am

Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Tex., accepted an invitation Monday to join the Big East Conference, effective summer 2012. TCU will become the conference's 17th member institution and the ninth to play football. The Big East primarily spans the Rust Belt, from the eastern portion of the Midwest into the Northeast. TCU will join the University of South Florida, which joined the conference in 2005, as the other geographical outlier in the conference. Many critics believe the TCU-Big East deal was struck to ensure that Texas Christian gains and the rest of the conference maintains their status as "automatic qualifiers" for the Bowl Championship Series, the controversial system that helps decide the national title winner in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-A). This year, TCU's football team finished with a perfect 12-0 record in the regular season, but it still may not have the chance to play for a national title because it is a member of the Mountain West Conference, a "non-automatic qualifier." Monday's announcement follows a tumultuous season in college football in which many major conferences expanded beyond their traditional geographic boundaries, primarily for economic reasons.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 3:00am

Hundreds of teaching assistants at the University of California have vowed to vote against a tentative contract deal negotiated on their behalf by their union, which is part of the United Auto Workers, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. Five members of the bargaining team for the union have endorsed the drive to reject the contract. The contract would provide some gains in pay and benefits, and the union leaders and its dissenters differ on whether those gains go far enough. The union's website offers reasons to approve the contract, while this site offers reasons to reject it.

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 3:00am

President Obama on Wednesday ordered the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to conduct a review of the rules regarding the protections of human subjects in research -- both studies conducted in the United States and abroad. He noted the recent revalations that the U.S. Public Health Service "conducted research on sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 involving the intentional infection of vulnerable human populations. The research was clearly unethical. In light of this revelation, I want to be assured that current rules for research participants protect people from harm or unethical treatment, domestically as well as internationally." Obama's statement said that "[w]hile I believe the research community has made tremendous progress in the area of human subjects protection, what took place in Guatemala is a sobering reminder of past abuses." He asked for a report to be completed within nine months.

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 3:00am

More universities are threatening to sue high schools that have similar logos or mascots, The New York Times reported. The article cited moves by Pennsylvania State University against a cougar found to be similar to a Nittany Lion -- even though the offending high school was 1,400 miles away, in Texas. The University of Texas at Austin, meanwhile, went after a Kansas high school whose logo was similar to a Longhorn design.

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 3:00am

Just as campus health officials are celebrating their efforts to stop distribution of Four Loko, a new "mixed" product may be gaining ground among students. WFTV News reported that the hot product among students at the University of Central Florida is Whipped Lightning, which boasts that it is the "world's first alcohol-infused whipped cream." As with Four Loko, the concern is that students are especially prone to excessive alcohol use if they aren't completely aware of what they are consuming. Liquor stores near the university are seeing the new whipped cream "fly off the shelves," WFTV reported. One student told the station why: "I think it's awesome, you can throw it on some Jell-O shots. It'd be fantastic."

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 3:00am

Kofi Lomotey last week announced his resignation as chancellor of Southern University's Baton Rouge campus on the eve of a possible board vote to oust him, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported. Lomotey had been in office only since 2008. He declined to comment on his decision and was praised by Southern system leaders. But the faculty voted no confidence in his leadership this month, citing his handling of budget cuts, among other issues.

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 3:00am

A new gay student organization at Cabrillo College wants to know why the student government president vetoed the use of funds for the group's first big event -- a prom for students who weren't able to take same-sex partners to their high school proms, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. The student government president says that he's not anti-gay, but that the group was "double dipping" because it was already receiving funds from another college source. But the gay student group notes that similar funding hasn't been a problem for other groups.

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