Students at San Diego State University, who have for years taken advantage of their proximity to Mexico for various education and research programs, are protesting a California State University System decision shutting down all joint programs in Tijuana, the Los Angeles Times reported. While Cal State officials say the move was necessary in light of a surge in drug-related violence, the students say that parts of Tijuana are quite safe and that valuable projects are being stymied. On Saturday, 35 students and faculty members went to Tijuana to take part in everyday activities -- hoping to draw attention to the normal functioning that is evident in the city.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The U.S. Education Department on Friday awarded $250 million to 20 states to develop or expand longitudinal data systems to track students throughout their educational systems and into the workforce. The funds, for which all states and the District of Columbia applied, were made available through the American Recovery and Restoration Act. The states and their allocations are: Arkansas, $9.8 million; Colorado, $17.4 million; Florida, $10 million; Illinois, $11.9 million; Kansas, $9.1 million; Maine, $7.3 million; Massachusetts, $13 million; Michigan, $10.6 million; Minnesota, $12.4 million; Mississippi, $7.6 million; New York, $19.7 million; Ohio, $5.1 million; Oregon, $10.5 million; Pennsylvania, $14.3 million; South Carolina, $14.9 million; Texas, $18.2 million; Utah, $9.6 million; Virginia, $17.5 million; Washington, $17.3 million; Wisconsin, $13.8 million.
A year ago, the actor James Franco pulled out as commencement speaker at the University of California at Los Angeles, amid complaints from some students that he lacked the stature appropriate to their graduation day. This year, some students are organizing against the appearance of Gustavo Arellano, who is author of a syndicated column "Ask a Mexican," LA Weekly reported. Arellano posted a YouTube video of a phone message he received from a parent saying she was "disgusted" by his selection and asking him to withdraw.
Laramie County Community College went to a Wyoming judge last week and won an injunction to block The Wyoming Tribune Eagle from publishing an article about the conduct of Darrell Hammon, the college's president, on a 2008 student trip to Costa Rica, the newspaper reported. The Tribune Eagle has obtained a leaked copy of a college report on the trip, and is appealing the ruling. The college claims that publication of information based on the report would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which is known as FERPA.
Faculty members are warning that the University of Alabama at Huntsville is "in peril" because of flawed priorities, falling applicant interest and deep budget cuts, The Huntsville Times reported. Fifty-two faculty members issued a letter about their concerns last week, arguing that while the administration makes major investments in some areas, key academic fields face debilitating cuts. The university released a statement saying that while it would discuss these concerns with professors, it would not "debate these issues in the media."
The selection of architects for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics has renewed controversy over the University of Chicago's planned center to honor the late professor. The university announced last night that Ann Beha Architects has been selected for the project -- just hours after faculty critics issued a press release questioning why architects had been selected with minimal public discussions of the next stages of the project. The controversy isn't about the architects, but the center itself. Many professors have feared that the institute would be so focused on honoring Friedman that it would be associated only with one (right-wing) school of thought. Further, faculty members question the need for a new institute, especially compared with other priorities. "We would hate to think that the university's evident fixation on financial assets and its desire to exploit the Friedman brand name for fund-raising purposes would lead it to neglect its most valuable assets, its students, faculty and staff, while committing itself to a project whose very name reinforces a narrow, retrograde, and now demonstrably failed set of social and economic policies," says a statement announcing a drive to question the next stages in the center.
The architects hired by the university are being asked to renovate a building that has been used by the Chicago Theological Seminary, which is moving to a new facility. The university announcement was fairly routine (except being rushed out after the university was criticized for not having revealed the news). The university has said repeatedly that the Friedman project will be consistent with academic standards, and will not be restricted in any way to scholarship consistent with the late professor's views.
California State University campuses lost 10 percent of their collective teaching force in the last year, according to data released by the system's faculty union, the Los Angeles Times reported. The vast majority of lost jobs were held by adjunct lecturers, not by tenure-track faculty members. California State administrators said that while thousands of sections were eliminated due to budget cuts, the system hopes to restore many of those sections.
New Jersey's Senate approved legislation Thursday that would require government workers -- including faculty and staff members at public colleges -- to live in the state, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. The version of the measure that passed Thursday has been softened considerably from previous iterations, giving workers a full year to move and providing an appeals process. But given the nature of academic (particularly adjunct faculty) jobs, and the geography of New Jersey, which draws workers from nearby major metropolitan areas like New York and Philadelphia, the legislation, if it passes the Assembly and becomes law, could cause major headaches for public colleges in the Garden State.
Christopher Clark has resigned as president of Bryn Athyn College, after less than a year in office, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Clark's major campaign as president has been to increase enrollment from 190. Bryn Athyn is affiliated with the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and he planned to reach out to more students of other faiths, which concerned some college constituencies.
A student strike has effectively shut down most programs at the University of Puerto Rico, The New York Times reported. Students are protesting deep budget cuts, which university administrators say they have no choice but to impose due to their lack of funds.