Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

February 27, 2009

A parody issue of a student newspaper at the University of Oxford has cost its editors their jobs. The Times (of London) reported that the parody included an image of a former editor dressed in a Ku Klux Klan uniform and quoting him using racist phrases; a front-page story describing students sexually abusing and killing babies; pornographic photos in which the faces of students and employees were superimposed on the faces of the porn actors; and mocking references to the Holocaust. The editors, who were ordered to resign, said that the issue was intended as satire.

February 27, 2009

Goucher College has decided to let Leopold Munyakazi, a visiting French professor who was suspended after Goucher officials learned he is accused of participating in the genocide in Rwanda, use the college library, The Baltimore Sun reported. Munyakazi denies participating in genocide and some human rights experts are skeptical of the charges he faces. Goucher officials said that they decided to let him use the library, despite his suspension, in response to a student-organized petition that argued that scholars should not be denied access to a college library.

February 26, 2009

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh together had about $114 million in investments under the control of Westridge Capital Management, whose managers have been charged with swindling $500 million from the fund to support lavish spending habits, including spending on teddy bears, horses and rare books, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The two universities are trying to determine their losses and their options.

February 26, 2009

Faculty members at the University of New Mexico voted 329 to 106 Wednesday that they have no confidence in President Schmidly. The resolution cited a "substantive increase of administrative lines and costs at the expense of necessary faculty lines, thus weakening the university's ability to cover its core mission of teaching, research, and service" and also said that Schmidly "has breached his administration's commitment to public transparency and shared governance." In a statement, the president said: "While the decisions we have made may have not been popular with some, we have nevertheless so far managed to avoid any layoffs or furloughs, unlike so many other colleges and universities. ... Nevertheless, the University of New Mexico is a family, and as I said yesterday, we will redouble our efforts to reach out and gain the support and confidence of every member."

February 26, 2009

For years now, many resort towns have discouraged spring break visitors, fearing the damage they cause and the impact on business from families or business travelers. But the recession changes everything, Hotels that once wouldn't deal with student groups are encouraging reservations this year, and local organizations that once tried to keep student parties out of town have disbanded, The New York Times reported.

February 26, 2009

The University of Michigan announced Thursday that it will no longer use live dogs in a medical school course on trauma and life support, The Ann Arbor News reported. The announcement followed protests by animal rights groups. Michigan's statement specified that it had determined that simulations could work for this particular course.

February 26, 2009

Southern Methodist University technically won Wednesday night's debate competition with Wiley College, but participants saw a moral victory for both sides. The Dallas Morning News reported that SMU called off a contest with Wiley in 1935, apparently concerned about civil rights activism by the coach of the historically black college's debate coach. The story of Wiley's debate victories in a segregated era captured national attention last year with a movie whose star, Denzel Washington, donated funds to Wiley to revive its debate squad. And that made it possible for SMU and Wiley to finally meet.

February 25, 2009

A conflict over the state funding formula for community colleges is getting bitter in Nebraska. Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, has been kicked out of the Nebraska Community College Association. Metro says that it wouldn't pay for lobbying against its own interests. “They threw us out because we were unwilling to pay for their lobbyist who lobbies against us,” Dave Newell, chair of the college's board, told KETV News. Metro argues that the funding formula used by the state needs to change because it doesn't link funding sufficiently to enrollments. Rural legislators like the formula as it is, saying smaller institutions need extra help. One lawmaker has proposed legislation that would cut funds from colleges that aren't member of the Nebraska Community College Association, the group that kicked Metro out.

February 25, 2009

Tennessee's public colleges and universities are facing huge budget cuts. So students at Middle Tennessee State University are not amused about their institution spending $10,000 on a public relations campaign to get students to vote for a student fee hike to pay for a new parking garage. The idea that money that the students have already paid is being used to urge them to spend more has many of them angry. "Lobbying the students for a fee increase with student money is unethical and incorrigible. Students should vote “NO” to unethical administrators," wrote one blogger. Administrators say they have no choice and that they needed outside help to reach students.

February 25, 2009

As the Obama administration prepares to unveil a bare-bones version of the federal budget for the 2010 fiscal year today, Congress is moving ahead with polishing off the 2009 budget. The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed an omnibus spending bill, largely along party lines, that would increase funds for Pell Grant and several science agencies, but keep most student aid programs at their 2008 levels.

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