Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

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Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

Many residence life officials have been keeping a careful watch this fall for bedbugs, as a handful of colleges have reported their presence on campus, while New York City and other urban areas suffer major infestations. In the past week, bedbugs have been spotted at several additional campuses, including: Indiana University at Bloomington (where a quick response is being credited with minimizing problems), Lehigh University, Oklahoma State University and Reinhardt University.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

The University of Minnesota violated a former dental student's due process rights last year when administrators upheld his two-year suspension by a student judicial panel without considering evidence he had proffered, a state appeals court judge ruled Tuesday. The decision by a judge on the state Court of Appeals came in a case in which the university's Campus Committee on Student Behavior suspended Noah Berge after concluding that he had engaged in “[t]hreatening, harassing, or assaultive conduct" against a female student who had accused him of sexually assaulting her. Although an advisory committee to the university's provost found that the judiciary panel had violated his due process rights by barring him from preventing evidence about the impact a suspension would have on his career, the provost reinstated the panel's ruling. The provost's decision was "arbitrary and capricious," the appeals court judge said, because the university lacks guidelines for disciplinary actions by the provost, among other reasons. The judge ordered Minnesota to give Berge another hearing before a new student behavior panel.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

Playoff PAC, a group opposed to the current, bowl-based system of determining the national champion in college football, is filing complaints with the Internal Revenue Service about the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls, charging them with paying excessive salaries that violate their tax-exempt status, the Associated Press reported. The CEO of the Sugar Bowl, for example, earned $645,000 in 2009, $200,000 more than he earned in 2007. Bowl officials are defending their operations as legitimate and accuse Playoff PAC of simply trying another way to attack the current championship system.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

A day after Harvard University's president said that it would reinstate a Reserve Officer Training Corps unit after the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy ends, Massachusetts' newest U.S. senator blasted the university for not having already done so -- at a time when its officials are pushing for a law that would help illegal immigrants attend college, The Boston Globe reported. “I am extremely disappointed to learn of Harvard University’s decision to continue to ban ROTC from its campus,’’ Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible to me that Harvard does not allow ROTC to use its facilities, but welcomes students who are in this country illegally.’’ He added: "Harvard has its priorities upside down. They should embrace young people who want to serve their country, rather than promoting a plan that provides amnesty to students who are in this country illegally.’’ President Drew Gilpin Faust had said Wednesday that Harvard, like other institutions that ended ROTC units when the military began formally discriminating against gay people, would eagerly "regularize our relationship" with the armed forces when they end their policy that conflicts with Harvard's nondiscrimination policies.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

Football, men's basketball and other coaches at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sent scores of impermissible text messages and made dozens of impermissible telephone calls to recruits in 2008 and 2009, breaking major National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, the association said Thursday. The Division I Committee on Infractions and the university, working together in the association's summary disposition process, also concluded that the university had failed to adequately monitor its sports program and ensure compliance and integrity in the investigation into the wrongdoing. The university faces recruiting and coaching restrictions as a result.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

The chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley said the institution plans to cut another 200 jobs to save $20 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In a letter to employees this week, Robert Birgeneau said that Berkeley "cannot continue with our current administrative structures and operations and be the best run public university in the country." The cuts, which he said will be achieved through "a combination of attrition, retirements, voluntary separations and layoffs," would be in addition to about 600 positions eliminated since last year.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

Days after it called off the screening of a potentially controversial new documentary on the environment, the University of Minnesota has announced that it will show the film, as planned, The Pioneer Press of St. Paul reported. Minnesota officials had said the delay was to give faculty members time to review the documentary produced by its natural history museum, "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story," for factual accuracy, but the decision raised questions in some quarters about whether the university was yielding to concerns of agricultural interests. The head of the museum, Susan Weller, told the newspaper that the show would go on as planned after she reassured Minnesota administrators that a review process had been conducted and that no more faculty review was needed.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - 3:00am

Robert M. Berdahl announced Thursday that he will retire as president of the Association of American Universities on May 1. Berdahl has led the association of 63 research universities in the United States and Canada since 2006. Berdahl said that he plans in retirement to remain active on higher education issues and to pursue various writing projects. Before coming to the association, he served as chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley and president of the University of Texas at Austin.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:00am

A former assistant to Mills College's president has sued the institution for wrongful termination, charging that Mills fired her after she complained that the president's dog had bitten her, the Contra Costa Times reported. According to the newspaper's account, Pamela Reid's lawsuit asserts that she lost her job as assistant to President Janet Holmgren in January, several months after she called Oakland Animal Services to report that Holmgren's dog, a terrier mix, had bitten her outside the president's on-campus home in August 2009. Mills officials called the lawsuit "meritless." No word on the fate of the dog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:00am

Drew University students are complaining that the university has made it a bit more difficult for them to obtain free condoms, The Star-Ledger reported. Students can get free condoms by asking dormitory resident advisors for them. In the past, the university had condoms for the taking in a wicker basket in the lobby of the university health office, but changed the system because students were grabbing handfuls of them at once -- and sometimes taking the basket too, officials said. Students say that they may be embarrassed to ask their R.A.'s for the condoms. But a university spokesman said: "If a student is mature enough to engage in sexual activity, they should be mature enough to ask for a condom or buy them. At the end of the day, everyone is responsible for their own health and welfare."

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