Academics and literary figures are questioning the decision by Delhi University to stop teaching an essay by a respected academic, A.K. Ramanujan, because its references to Rama, a hero-god, are deemed offensive to some nationalist Hindus, Reuters reported. The move by the university is seen as giving in to political pressure and undercutting freedom of expression. On Twitter, Salman Rushdie called the decision "academic censorship."
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Ohio State University is not entitled to tax exemptions on property it owns but leases to others for non-university use, The Dayton Daily News reported. A lower court ruled that the revenue generated by the rentals constituted university use, but the Supreme Court rejected that argument.
Republicans have for weeks been attacking Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, as a liberal academic, citing her career teaching at Harvard University. Warren's academic ties may be helping her out, however, in raising money from fellow professors. The Associated Press reported that nearly $124,000, or 9 percent of Warren's itemized donations, have come from academics, many of them at leading universities.
Cooper Union, which has offered a top engineering and architecture education without charging anyone tuition for more than a century, may have to start charging tuition, The New York Times reported. The institution has made no decision on tuition, and officials have said that any tuition plan would not affect low-income students. Financial difficulties have raised the need to charge, Cooper Union leaders say. Many alumni and students are furious about the potential end of a tradition that they see as central to Cooper Union. Students are planning to walk out of classes Wednesday as part of a protest. A petition to preserve free tuition has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has released a letter finding Spring Arbor University to have violated the civil rights of a student with a mental health disability when it required him, after withdrawing voluntarily and in good academic standing, to meet certain conditions for readmission. OCR faulted the university for not determining that the student posed a "direct threat," which would have justified those conditions. A brief analysis of the case by the National Association of College and University Attorneys noted that OCR -- consistent with recent Justice Department interpretations but in a shift for OCR -- indicated that the threat would have to be against others, not to the student himself and others.
Many colleges compete every four years to play host to one of the presidential debates. On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the 2012 events would be held at the University of Denver, Hofstra University and Lynn University -- with the vice presidential debate to be held at Centre College.
Investigations by Tilburg and Groningen Universities, in the Netherlands, have found that Diederik Stapel faked research data that was used in at least 30 research papers, Dutch News reported. Stapel, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at Tilburg, was suspended in September as inquiries began into some of his work. In a statement Stapel posted on a newspaper site, he said that he has "failed as a researcher and academic," adding that "I realize now that my behavior has stunned and angered my colleagues and put my area of expertise – social psychology – in a bad light."
An Iowa jury has rejected a lawsuit by Bradley Barrett, who sued the University of Northern Iowa when he was fired as a music professor, The Waterloo Daily Courier reported. Barrett was fired after Northern Iowa officials learned that he had been named in a sex abuse suit filed by a former student of his when he taught at a high school. That suit was dropped based on a ruling on the statute of limitations.
Jorge Posadas, director of student life at San Antonio College, has apologized for telling students who write for The Ranger, the newspaper at the college, that he would charge them for in-person interviews, The San Antonio Express-News reported. The request to be paid alarmed the journalists and others who learned of it. Posadas said that he made the request because he thought he was being asked for consulting work, not to be interviewed.