Higher Education Quick Takes

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Monday, June 21, 2010 - 3:00am

After months of refusing to answer questions about access to a talk by Sarah Palin, California State University at Stanislaus has announced that reporters will be allowed to cover the event, the Associated Press reported. The appearance -- a fund raiser for the university foundation -- has been criticized for the selection of a divisive speaker, her high speaking fees, and secrecy over plans.

Monday, June 21, 2010 - 3:00am

A new international affairs institute in Canada is the focus of a debate over academic freedom. The Globe and Mail reported that concerns have grown since the ouster of Ramesh Thakur, formerly vice rector of United Nations University, as the first director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The school is affiliated with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and a private think tank founded by Jim Balsillie, an entrepreneur. The concerns focus on the control that the think tank has over appointments at the university-affiliated international affairs center. Thakur, in an e-mail to the Globe and Mail, said: "Academic freedom is the bedrock of the university, and autonomy from outside interests (however well-meaning) is important in protecting that academic freedom.”

Monday, June 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Harvard University's medical school, suffering from its endowment decline, has negotiated a deal in which hospitals with which it works will provide $36 million for operations over the next three years, The Boston Globe reported. Harvard's medical school has been unusual in being able to rely largely on endowment income and research grants, but that is no longer viable. As part of the negotiations for the funds, the hospitals asked for speedier decisions on matters involving their doctors and for detailed information about the medical school's finances.

Monday, June 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Bangladesh's University of Engineering and Technology closed indefinitely Sunday following student riots calling for time off to watch World Cup games, AFP reported. Five people were injured in the riots; many more were injured in similar riots during the last World Cup

Monday, June 21, 2010 - 3:00am

Errol Davis, chancellor of the University System of Georgia, left the board of BP just days before the disaster that has created chaos for the Gulf region and the company. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that he has been named in four current lawsuits by company shareholders.

Friday, June 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Stanley Ikenberry, who returned to his old job as president of the University of Illinois when when institution found itself between presidents due to a scandal over politically influenced admissions decisions, has called off a plan by the university to honor him with a $100,000 statute, the Chicago Tribune reported. Plans for the statue were set and an artist selected, but when the Tribune started looking into the statue, Ikenberry killed the project. The university is facing deep budget cuts and a spokesman said that Ikenberry "didn't want to generate any ill will toward the university or put the university in an embarrassing situation."

Friday, June 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Students who have been on strike at the University of Puerto Rico for two months reached a tentative agreement Thursday that could allow normal operations to resume, The New York Times reported. Under the agreement, the Board of Regents would call off plans to increase fees in a way that would have doubled the cost of attendance. Further, strike organizers have been assured that they will not face punishments.

Friday, June 18, 2010 - 3:00am

Athletes at the University of San Francisco spent thousands of dollars designated for textbooks on other expenditures, one of several violations that led the National Collegiate Athletic Association to place the university on two years' probation Thursday. The case, which was adjudicated through the NCAA's summary disposition process, also involved 535 long-distance phone calls that athletes were inappropriately allowed to make free, and a finding that the university failed to monitor its sports program adequately. USF agreed to donate $28,000 -- about double the value of the violations -- to charity as part of its penalty.

Friday, June 18, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Memphis has agreed to let a lesbian couple (one of whose members is a senior at the university) and their children get a family pass to use the recreation center, reversing an earlier denial of the pass, The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The two women were originally told that they needed some proof of their relationship so they registered as domestic partners in Eureka Springs, Ark., but the university said that didn't count -- and Tennessee law bars the recognition of same-sex couples. Amid criticism of the policy, the university has now agreed to provide the family passes to any family that can show it is living as a family unit, regardless of legal marriage status.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 3:00am

The Pac-10 Conference is about to have 12 members. It has invited the University of Utah to join, following an invitation this month of the University of Colorado at Boulder. With 12 teams, the conference could have a football championship game. By abandoning the Mountain West Conference, Utah will gain membership in a Bowl Championship Series conference, and will receive a much larger television payout.

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