William Ayers is retiring from the University of Illinois at Chicago, after more than 20 years of teaching there, the Chicago Tribune reported. At the university, Ayers has been a respected education professor, teaching and publishing books on education policy and lecturing nationwide. But his role as a one-time leader of the Weather Underground made him more of a political lightning rod after Republicans attacked him in the 2008 for allegedly close ties to Barack Obama. While the neighbors weren't actually close, the repeated focus on Ayers has led to his lectures off-campus drawing protests and sometimes being called off.
Higher Education Quick Takes
A student's protest at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in British Columbia, has escalated into a larger debate over outsourcing and free speech. As part of a class project on "criminal criminology," the students handed out leaflets criticizing the use of Sodexo to manage the university's cafeterias. The materials had been approved by his professor. But Sodexo officials and and four Kwantlen security guards tried to take away the leaflets and then forced him off campus, The Vancouver Sun reported. Now the student and his faculty members are criticizing the way the incident was handled.
Many more colleges and universities are having their bond ratings downgraded this year than are having their ratings upgraded, according to an analysis by Forbes of Moody's decisions in 2010. So far, four colleges and universities have received upgrades, compared to about two dozen that have received downgrades.
With backing from the New York State Human Rights Division, Csaba Marosan is suing Trocaire College, saying that the Roman Catholic institution discriminated against him because of his accent (he's from Hungary) and because he is straight, ABC News reported. The state agency investigated his complaint and found grounds to sue. Marosan claims in the suit that he was ostracized by a clique of gay men at the college who are known as the "Merry Men" and who are backed by administrators who may be gay or bisexual. The college is denying his charges that he was denied promotions or fired for speaking out, and says that he did not suffer any discrimination.
Despite a rhetorical and programmatic push in recent years, the 16 states that participate in the Southern Regional Education Board actually regressed in the number of young adults enrolled in adult education programs from 2005 to 2008, a report from the board shows. The report, "A Smart Move in Tough Times: How SREB States Can Strengthen Adult Learning and the Work Force," offers details on the progress (or lack thereof) that individual states and the region have made, and offers recommendations on how to improve the situation.
Jan Björklund, Sweden's education minister, is calling for legal changes that would allow universities to bar students from wearing full-veil burqas, Swedish Wire reported. "Teaching is communication. It's about being able to look at each other in the eyes and communicate with each other," Björklund said in a radio interview. "In that way, I mean it is extremely unsuitable to allow clothing which covers the face."
A court order has blocked the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, from trapping or killing hundreds of rabbits that it wants removed from campus, The Vancouver Sun reported. About 1,400 wild rabbits roam the campus; officials say that they cause considerable damage, and want to reduce the population to 200. The university is now appealing to the British Columbia Supreme Court.
New York State's Legislature had adopted a budget for the fiscal year that does not include a higher education reform measure that would have given the State University of New York and the City University of New York more authority over setting their tuition rates and using the tuition revenue. The measure has been a major goal of the university systems and of Gov. David Paterson. But members of the Assembly balked at some provisions. SUNY's chancellor, Nancy L. Zimpher, issued a statement in which she called the failure to enact the reforms "a missed opportunity" for the state. And she noted that the public university systems now face state budget cuts and increased enrollment pressures without the budget flexibility sought in the reform measure - and she vowed to continue to urge legislators to enact the reforms. John B. Simpson, president of SUNY's university center in Buffalo, said that the state's leaders had been unfair to their students. "On top of these very significant cuts, students have watched their tuition increase by large amounts, virtually all of which has gone as a tax to the state, while the university has been able to provide less and less. And we have been forced to continue to operate in a highly regulated environment, more befitting a state agency than a research university. Simply put, the regulatory status quo, which we are now left with, will not allow this university to thrive."
The Association of Research Libraries Board of Directors unanimously has adopted a set of nine principles to help university libraries in negotiations with publishers or other vendors over the digitization of special collections. The move comes as many libraries are looking for outside partners for such projects, but want to assure that these relationships are consistent with scholarly values. The principles cover such issues at the need for libraries to maintain their own copies of all materials, the need for as open access as possible to the digitized versions, and the need to protect the privacy of those who use digitized versions by limiting information that can be collected about them.
A cancer researcher at the University of Wisconsin at Madison resigned this spring after campus administrators began investigating alleged conflicts of interest involving clinical trials he led and a consulting arrangement he had with a manufacturer of cancer treatment devices, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The newspaper based its special report on the controversy involving Minesh Mehta on a series of open records requests, among other things.