In today’s Academic Minute, Judyth Sassoon of the University of Bristol explains the discovery of a pliosaur fossil with signs of severe arthritis. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency, has ordered GoDaddy.com to take four university-branded Web domains out of the hands of a cyber-squatter who was allegedly using the sites to scam students out of cash. Mark "Omar" Quevillon, a resident of Cambridge, Mass., registered the domains Brandeis.me, Tufts.me, UVM.me and Babson.me in an alleged attempt to "sell" access to personalized apps to students, according to WIPO. But the websites have nothing to do with Babson College, the University of Vermont, and Tufts and Brandeis Universities. And so the universities jointly filed a complaint with WIPO, saying that Quevillon has been using their trademarked brands to confuse students and make a quick buck. Although WIPO is not a court, it is empowered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to resolve domain disputes and has the cooperation of domain registrants such as GoDaddy.com. Zick Rubin, a lawyer for the universities, said he does not know how much Quevillon is believed to have made from the scam. The phony websites are still live, but Rubin says GoDaddy.com has been instructed to take them down by Aug. 12 unless Quevillon fights the ruling.
The proportion of academic research involving more than one institution is going up, according to an analysis by the National Science Foundation. The NSF looked at the percentage of academic R&D funding that goes to "pass through" payments to a second institution. The figure is now 7 percent, up from 5 percent in 2000.
After years of litigation, Fisk University has finalized a deal to sell a half share in its renowned art collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Tennessean reported. Fisk will receive $74 million to give the museum the right to display the art for two-year periods, rotating with periods in which the art will reside at Fisk. Many in the art world have criticized Fisk for selling the collection, which was donated by Georgia O'Keeffe in 1949, with a request that it never be sold. Fisk, a financially troubled historically black college, has said that it needs the money to stabilize its budget.
The U.S. House of Representative last week passed legislation that would bar anyone outside the U.S. from receiving a student visa to enroll at an unaccredited institution. The measure provides an exemption if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified a new institution that has not yet obtained accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The legislation was prompted by recent scandals involving institutions in California that have attracted foreign students without accreditation.
The president and board chairman at Pennsylvania State University agreed to accept an unprecedented set of penalties imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association because the NCAA's leaders insisted that the association was poised to shut down the football program for several years, ESPN reported. The article provides more details than have previously been reported on the secretive negotiations that unfolded between the NCAA's president, Mark Emmert, and a small set of institutional leaders at Penn State.
According to ESPN, Emmert on several occasions told Rodney Erickson, Penn State's president, that most members of the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors favored barring the Nittany Lion football team from competing for four years. The article describes efforts by Penn State representatives -- without the knowledge of most of the university's trustees -- to persuade the NCAA to do otherwise, because they believed shuttering the program for that long would be too devastating. The article outlines the concerns of some Penn State officials (and other observers) that Emmert and the NCAA had overstepped their bounds by eliciting a remarkably punitive set of penalties by threatening an even tougher one.
The article quotes Gene Marsh, a lawyer and former NCAA official who represented Penn State, as saying: "In federal bankruptcy court, there is a concept of a cram-down -- a judge tells creditors, 'Here's the deal, this is all you are going to get, a few pennies on the dollar, and you should be happy with that.' You know, take it or leave it, because you don't really have any choice.... [T]his was the NCAA equivalent of a cram-down."
As expected, the college presidents who manage Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday put off a vote on its proposed new enforcement model. But it did “endorse” the recommendations of the working group that produced them, and suggested that the changes will indeed take effect Aug. 1, 2013. do you mean august 1, 2013? dl *** yes. so we don't have to specify the year, right? Or is it close enough to Aug. 1 that clarification would be helpful? Whichever is our style. -ag ---idk but I went ahead and added year for clarity, hope that's ok SG “Our intention is to make this real in October,” at the next meeting of the Division I Board of Directors, Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University and chair of the working group, said in a statement.
The recommendations would give enforcement officials and the Committee on Infractions more flexibility in how they handle NCAA violations. They include:
- Switching from a two-tiered to a four-tiered violation structure. The most egregious violations, including those that “seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA enduring values” of athlete success, the collegiate model, amateurism and competitive equity, would be classified as Level I violations: Severe breach of conduct. The least serious violations -- minor infractions that are “inadvertent and isolated, technical in nature and result in a negligible, if any, competitive advantage,” will be considered Level IV: Incidental Issue.
- Increasing the size of the Committee on Infractions from 10 to 24 to allow for more regular hearings and faster resolution of cases.
- Expanding the make-up of the panel to include university presidents and other administrators, athletic department officials, former coaches, conference officials, faculty members and citizens with a legal background.
- Creating new penalty guidelines regarding the NCAA’s code of conduct. These would give the committee “some discretion, although limited, in prescribing penalties while also assuring stronger and consistently applied penalties."
- Creating a means for the committee to hold accountable and punish coaches, who “set the tone and culture for compliance within the program.”
While women still make up only 18 percent of business school deans, there are signs of progress, The Wall Street Journal reported. Many deans move up from associate dean positions. There, women have increased from representing 20 percent to one-third of the population. And female associate deans report that search committees appear interested in encouraging their candidacies for dean's jobs.