Academics Worldwide Protest Possible Closure of Israeli Political-Science Department

More than 600 academics worldwide are protesting the threatened closure of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s department of politics and government, sending a petition to Gideon Sa’ar, Israel’s education minister, to halt the move. A subcommittee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education has recommended suspending registration of students for the next academic year after it said the department had failed to carry out the recommendations of an international quality-assurance committee. But…

Israel Plans to Double Enrollment of Ultra-Orthodox Students

Israel plans to spend about $47-million to double the college enrollment of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students to 12,000 by 2017, reports Ynet News. Twelve new campuses for the students will be built near existing colleges. They will offer similar courses as the host institutions but maintain a strict separation of male and female students.

McGill Inquiry Finds No Industry Collusion in Professor’s Asbestos Research

McGill University has cleared a former health researcher at the university of misconduct over allegations that he colluded with the asbestos industry, reports CBC News. The university says its investigation found no evidence that John Corbett McDonald, who is now retired, improperly collected data on the health effects of asbestos or was influenced by the financial support he received from the asbestos industry. His research became a source of controversy this year after a television documentary…

Mexican Police Raid 3 Campuses to Shut Down Student Protests

Police raided three teachers’ colleges in western Mexico on Monday after dozens of students had taken over campuses to protest changes in the curriculum, reports the Associated Press. The takeovers started over a week ago to protest the colleges’ plans to require English and computer-science courses. Some students argue that the institutions are meant to prepare teachers for rural areas where the teaching of basic skills should be the priority. Mexico has a long history of campus takeovers by st…

Sri Lanka’s Campuses Reopen as Faculty Strike Ends

Public universities in Sri Lanka reopened on Monday after the government agreed to terms with striking faculty members, reports the Colombo Page. The country’s Higher Education Ministry shut down the campuses in August, when negotiations stalled between the ministry and the Federation of University Teachers’ Association. The strike ended after the government agreed to a pay raise for instructors and to increase spending on education in next year’s budget, the newspaper reports.

Nigerian University Closes After Lynching of 4 Students

The University of Port Harcourt, in southern Nigeria, has been shut down because of violent student protests following the lynching of four students by local villagers, reports the BBC. The four were accused of stealing laptops and mobile phones from people in the village of Aluu, a charge that the protesters refute. A video of their brutal murders was posted to YouTube, helping to inflame university students who blocked a major highway and attacked houses in Aluu. The campus will remain closed …

Chinese Couple Sues U.S. Education Consultant for Breach of Contract

A Chinese couple is suing an American education consultant to whom the two allegedly gave more than $2-million on promises to get their sons into an Ivy League institution, reports The Boston Globe. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Boston, Gerald and Lily Chow have accused Mark Zimny, a former lecturer and visiting assistant professor at Harvard University, of fraud, breach of contract, and other charges. The family and Mr. Zimny declined to comment for the article.

In court docu…

A University’s Name Change in Afghanistan Sparks Violent Protests

The second-largest university in the Afghan capital of Kabul has been rocked by student protests and violence after President Hamid Karzai’s decision to change its name from the Kabul Education University to the Martyr of Peace Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani University, reports The New York Times. Mr. Rabbani, a leader of a Tajik political party,  was killed last year by a suicide bomber. The change has become a fault line between ethnic groups in the country, with Tajiks, mostly from outside th…

Spanish Police Arrest Suspect in University Bomb Plot

Spanish police officers have arrested a man who was reportedly planning a bomb attack on the University of the Balearic Islands, report the BBC and the Associated Press. The university’s rector told the BBC that the 21-year-old suspect had no reported connection to the university, nor had the institution ever received any threatening letters from him.

The police were alerted to the plot by online postings in which the suspect expressed admiration for the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine massac…

Caltech Retains Top Spot in ‘Times’ World Rankings

The California Institute of Technology has retained the top spot in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the second year in a row. Oxford and Stanford  tied for second place, pushing ahead of Harvard University, which came next on the list.

American universities continue to dominate the list, which is one of the most closely scrutinized in the increasingly crowded field of university rankings. But although American universities hold 76 of the top 200 spots, 51 of them have d…