Higher Education Quick Takes
The University of Regina planned with a local business group to sponsor a series of lectures by professors in a public park during the summer, but the faculty members have all called off their talks after the business group objected to one of the topics planned for discussion, Global Regina reported. The lecture topic was the movement to boycott Israel as a means of helping the Palestinians. When Emily Eaton, the geography professor who planned that topic, said that she was uninvited to speak, her colleagues decided they would not speak either.
Authorities in South Korea report that they have found the body of Lim Sang-gyu, president of Sunchon National University, dead in an apparent suicide, the Associated Press reported. Lim, a former government officials, was reportedly facing a corruption investigation.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal challenge to New Jersey's rejection of the state grant application of a U.S.-born student whose parents immigrated to the United States illegally, the Associated Press reported. The ACLU says that New Jersey's Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, the state's aid agency, appears to be deviating from the legal norm of recognizing the rights of those born in the United States as citizens. The authority did not respond to questions, citing the ongoing litigation.
In today’s Academic Minute, James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame explains the limitations of how poverty is measured in the United States. Find out more about the Academic Minute here.
Remember how the Republican-led House of Representatives was going to eliminate earmarks? According to The Boston Globe, the House has allowed hundreds of millions of special authorizations (which in many ways resemble earmarks and which in many cases could benefit individual colleges and universities) to be inserted into the military spending bill. The authorizations are not as specific as earmarks and theoretically are open to competitions. But the Globe noted that many are written with language used by lawmakers to previously insert earmarks into the bills to benefit institutions in their districts, and that the language gives those institutions an apparent advantage, should the measures become law.
John Wendell, an accounting professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, suspects that the institution is spending too much on outside law firms, so he filed an open records request for three years of legal invoices. The Star-Advertiser reported that the university told him it would cost him $40,000 in fees -- and officials later said that the real bill might be $100,000. The university says that it faces real expenses in producing the records. But Wendell and other faculty critics say that the university is using the fees to discourage requests. "The university administration wants autonomy but not accountability. It's as simple as that," he said.
An article from Reuters profiles the Venezuelan Indigenous University, which educates 100 students from the country's various tribes, providing a mix of their own traditions and a modern university education.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is proposing legislation to increase tuition at the State University of New York by 5 percent annually for the next five years, with 8 percent increases at the system's four research universities, The New York Times reported. Further, he said that the funds raised would be used for SUNY, ending a long-standing practice -- the source of deep frustration to SUNY officials and students -- that only small portions of tuition increases actually support SUNY while the rest helps with the state budget. SUNY officials have been pushing for regular increases in tuition, and the research universities have been arguing for rates higher than those charged for other campuses. While Cuomo has pledged increased aid for low-income students, some have questioned whether the tuition increases would discourage students.
Officials at Southern Methodist University blocked The Daily Campus, the student newspaper, from including a column critical of the university's board in an issue mailed to incoming students. As recounted by The Student Press Law Center, SMU has asked for prior review of that issue (and not regular issues) as a condition of providing the paper with the addresses of the freshmen. SMU officials said that they didn't see the relevance of the column for that issue. The Daily Campus has now published the column on its website. The topic: the need for more transparency on the Board of Trustees.