Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have formed a new union, affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. Organizers plan to focus on working conditions and health care.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A former professor at the University of Texas at Austin is pushing for the institution to change the name of Simkins Hall, which honors a former professor who was an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan, KXAN News reported. University officials say that they agree that William Stewart Simkins stood for some terrible ideas, but that it is not worth the time and money to rename every building that honors someone with terrible views that were once more accepted than they are today.
Drake College of Business, a for-profit college, has announced that it will stop recruiting students in homeless shelters, Bloomberg reported. The news service exposed the practice, noting that many of those recruited borrow money to enroll, but don't advance very far in their programs, leaving the college with additional revenue and the homeless with debt.
Colorado State University on Wednesday rescinded its gun ban, citing a recent ruling by a Colorado court that invalidated a similar ban at the University of Colorado, the Associated Press reported. While advocates of the ban said it would promote safety, critics said that the university was exceeding its authority in an area in which the state has strict limits on the ability of agencies to regulate the carrying of guns.
The University of California at Berkeley, citing "genuine confusion" over when authorities ordered some protests to disperse in the fall, has dropped charges against dozens of students involved, and said it is reviewing some of its judicial rules, The New York Times reported. Students in the protests, with significant faculty backing, have criticized the university for restricting their right to protest.
Average tenured faculty salaries at the University of Toronto ($157,566) are the highest in Canada, according to new data from Statistics Canada, Canwest News Service reported. Fourteen universities now have average salaries for tenured faculty members that exceed $100,000.
About 20 students at the University of California at Berkeley started a hunger strike Monday, vowing not to eat until university officials take a strong stand against the new immigration law in Arizona that is viewed by many as encouraging ethnic profiling, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The students are also demanding that disciplinary charges be dropped against those involved in an earlier protest, and that some janitors who lost their jobs be rehired.
Berkeley is among many campuses nationwide that have seen protests over the Arizona law and measures designed to punish those who live in the United States without legal authorization. At Texas A&M University, however, some students have been pushing the Student Senate to oppose the Texas policy of letting some undocumented students pay in-state tuition rates, The Bryan-College Station Eagle reported. After an intense debate in the Senate Tuesday -- with an unusually large audience at the meeting -- senators decided to have a committee review the proposal.
The president of the University of Maine, Robert Kennedy, announced Tuesday that the university is accepting the controversial recommendations of a panel that identified ways for the Orono institution to save money and refocus on key areas. Among the changes: the elimination of the public administration department, the suspension of majors in German, Latin, theater and women's studies. and a range of other consolidations. The plan will preserve some instruction in some of the areas that will no longer have majors.
The Chicago Tribune, which broke the story last year about the "clout" list that enabled the politically connected to have preferences in University of Illinois admissions, is now reporting on who was helped by Michael Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. According to the Tribune, only 5 of the 28 applicants he helped in three recent years lived in Madigan's district, and many "would not have been admitted on their own merit." In one case, three relatives of a major donor to Madigan enrolled -- two of them after having first been wait-listed and one after being given the admissions office's lowest rating.
A federal judge has ordered a former professor who sued the University of Nevada at Reno, Hussein S. Hussein, and his former lawyer to pay the state $1.2 million for costs associated with lawsuits filed after Hussein lost his job, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. The judge's ruling said: “Dr. Hussein should be required to pay defendants fees because he transformed what could have and should have been a straightforward employment matter into a full-scale assault against nearly everyone who crossed his path at the university." Hussein couldn't be reached for comment.