Higher Education Quick Takes
Russell Davis, president of Gloucester County College, has resigned amid an investigation into possible financial irregularities that had the college turning over numerous records to country prosecutors, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Davis had been president at the college since September 2008.
The University of California Hastings College of Law took last-minute action to remove its name (and to have its dean withdraw from plans to offer opening remarks) at a conference on how legal systems could be used to support Palestinian rights, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The college's board met just prior to the conference, in response to complaints from pro-Israel organizations that said the conference was one-sided. Many faculty members say that the academic freedom of conference organizers was violated when the dean was told not to welcome participants.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has replaced the only trustee on the board of the Medical University of South Carolina who was a woman or an African American, The State reported. Some legislators are charging that the governor, a Republican, is taking away needed diversity from the board. The governor has defended the quality of those she is appointing to boards.
An internal audit has found little oversight over the travel expenses of Allen Sessoms, president of the University of the District of Columbia, The Washington Post reported. The audit noted that no budgets were ever developed for the president's travel -- which has come under scrutiny -- and that there was little evidence that the university's board monitored these expenses. A spokesman said that the university would not comment until the board reviews the audit.
More than 400 sociologists have signed a petition urging colleagues to vote against a proposed dues increase by the American Sociological Association unless the group provides more details on why the money is needed. The petition notes that the ASA has explained that a new dues structure is needed to make the system more progressive, and the petition endorses that principle. But it notes that, more than make dues more progressive, the new structure increases fees for all working sociologists and produces significantly more revenue for the ASA. "We believe that such a large aggregate increase in dues should be explained to members, before any vote, by a clear account of what more the ASA will be doing or why it needs to raise funds beyond a cost of living increase to continue existing services. This explanation must be specific about the services to be funded by additional dues revenue, and distinguish services that need additional dues funds from those that generate enough revenue on their own to break-even or make a profit."
Sally T. Hillsman, executive officer of the association, noted in response that the ASA publishes its annual audit online and has shared detailed financial plans with members, and will continue to do so. She added, however, that "it is clear that our members need and want more information," and said more would be forthcoming. "While we believe that revising the dues structure will benefit ASA, it is important to note that it is a proposal. ASA members have the final say," she said. "We have been glad to see vibrant discussion among members about the proposed dues change."
Lambuth University, a private institution in Tennessee that has been facing financial struggles for years and a revocation of its accreditation in the last year, may need "a miracle" to survive, a state legislator told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The legislator is one of a group of three who are pushing a plan for the university to become a branch of the University of Memphis, the newspaper reported. Today could be the crucial day for the institution, with its board considering whether it can continue to operate. The university scheduled a special prayer service for Wednesday night, in advance of the board meeting.
The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers has barred Damian Bonazzoli from practicing law for six months, after learning that he was advertising on Craigslist to write (for a fee) term papers for others, The Telegram & Gazette reported. He was discovered after CommonWealth Magazine wrote an article about his side business. Bonazzoli declined to comment.
Higher education groups are expressing concerns over the impact on student health centers of parts of proposed regulations to carry out various parts of health care reform legislation passed last year. A letter submitted from the American Council on Education raised concerns about the definitions of student health plans and the impact on self-funded student plans, among other issues. Similar concerns are also being raised by the American College Health Association.
Michele Dufault, a Yale University senior, was killed Wednesday in an unusual lab accident in which her hair became caught in a lathe and she died of accidental asphyxia by neck compression, The Hartford Courant reported. Yale, state officials and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are all investigating the accident.