University professors in China and Chinese students hoping to study in the United States are among the sharpest critics of recent efforts by Beijing to hamper the widespread use of virtual private networks to bypass the country’s tight Internet restrictions, The New York Times reports.
The students have used the networks, known as VPNs, to submit online applications to American colleges. The professors say the government’s new crackdown, which has disrupted VPNs to an unparalleled degree, has made it impossible for them to use Google Scholar, a search tool providing links to a vast archive of scholarly papers.
The Times quoted a naval historian as saying, “It’s like we’re living in the Middle Ages.” A biologist said the results of the crackdown “suggest little respect for the people actually engaged in science.”
The City University of New York’s Graduate Center is advising its faculty and staff members to avoid using such courtesy titles as “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Mrs.” in written correspondence with students and instead to address them by their full names, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The goal of the new policy, which was laid out this month in a memorandum from the provost’s office and goes into effect this spring, is to “ensure a respectful, welcoming, and gender-inclusive learning environment … and to accommodate properly the diverse population of current and prospective students,” the memo says.
A university spokeswoman told the Journal that the policy stemmed from efforts to comply with Title IX, a federal gender-equity law. But Saundra Schuster, a lawyer and Title IX expert quoted by the newspaper, called the decision to base the new policy on the federal law “ridiculous.” “I love the concept,” she said, “but they are not mandated to do this.”
In intercepted phone calls, participants in a Russian spy ring, who were charged on Monday, “discussed their attempts to recruit U.S. residents, including several individuals employed by major companies, and several young women with ties to a major university located in New York City,” according to a federal complaint quoted by the Associated Press. The complaint did not specify which university, but Newsweek noted that both Columbia and New York Universities have major Russian-research centers.
Western Illinois University has suspended a student as editor in chief of The Western Courier, the student newspaper, for selling video he recorded of a campus brawl in December, according to KHQA, a television station in Quincy, Ill.
The student, Nicholas Stewart, was told he was being punished for violating the university’s code of student conduct. In a letter, the university’s vice president for student services, Gary Biller, said Mr. Stewart’s actions represented “a threat to the normal operations of the university.” Mr. Biller also stated that neither the newspaper nor the university had received the proceeds of the video sales.
Jim Romenesko, who writes a blog on the news media, interviewed Mr. Biller on Friday about the case. According to the interview, Mr. Biller declined to say in what way Mr. Stewart had threatened the university’s operations. He also said he didn’t know how much money the video had sold for, but even $10 would have warranted the penalty he imposed. And he denied that the university was punishing the student because his video had brought bad publicity to the campus.
For his part, Mr. Stewart told Mr. Romenesko that he was seeking legal representation for a meeting, scheduled for Monday, with the university’s internal-auditing department.
Amherst College and an unnamed student have settled a lawsuit over the college’s decision last year to withhold his diploma over his alleged rape of another student in 2009, according to The Republican, a newspaper in Springfield, Mass. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, so it was unclear if the college had paid the student, identified in court documents as “John Doe,” any of the $2-million he had demanded.
The student’s accuser, identified as Student A, said he had spoken to college officials about the alleged 2009 encounter but never filed a formal complaint about it. The college withheld the diploma after Student A restated the complaint a week before the 2014 commencement.
David Pitts, the 38-year-old chairman of American University’s department of public administration and policy, pleaded guilty on Friday to burglary and identity theft, The Washington Post reported. He had also faced charges of breaking into an office building and setting several small fires last September, after which the university put him on leave.
Prosecutors said Mr. Pitts had broken into the building to steal prescription drugs from a pharmacy and prescription pads from doctors’ offices. After his arrest at the scene, a police search of his apartment turned up more than 5,000 pills and prescription pads from at least nine doctors, leading to the identity-theft charge. Mr. Pitts could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
Some 30 students are continuing a sit-in at a building at Humboldt State University to protest the dismissal last semester of the director of the campus’s program in Indian natural resources science and engineering, reports the Times-Standard, a newspaper in Eureka, Calif. The protesters seek the reinstatement of the official, Jacquelyn Bolman, and a greater role for students in making decisions on the Cal State campus.
In a visit to the protesters on Friday, the university’s president, Lisa A. Rossbacher, said she shared their goals of increasing access and completion for students, especially Native American students. But she said she could not discuss personnel matters such as the dismissal of Ms. Bolman.
President Obama will speak at two universities—Boise State University and the University of Kansas—in the two days after he delivers his State of the Union address, on Tuesday. He will appear at Boise State on Wednesday and at Kansas on Thursday. No further information was yet available on his plans.
Columbia University’s football coach resigned on Friday, days after 25 members of the team said in a letter, since withdrawn, that he had physically and verbally abused them and had disregarded their safety, the Columbia Daily Spectator reports.
The coach, Pete Mangurian, resigned “in the best interests of Columbia athletics,” according to a university news release quoted by the Spectator, the Ivy League campus’s student newspaper.
The letter, which was sent to the university’s president as well as the current and former chairmen of its Board of Trustees, also alleged that Mr. Mangurian had pushed members of the team to play despite concussions they had suffered. It was not immediately clear why the letter had been withdrawn, and the players who sent it declined to speak to the Spectator.
The team compiled a dismal 3-27 record in Mr. Mangurian’s three years as coach, including a 21-game losing streak that is still in progress.
James W. Kilgore, a member of the militant Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s who served more than six years in prison for his role in a bank robbery in which a customer was killed, will return as an instructor next spring at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Mr. Kilgore’s criminal past came to public attention this year, when a local newspaper reported on it. Until then, he had been a part-time, non-tenure-track instructor at the university. But his contract was not renewed after the newspaper article appeared, raising questions about possible political interference in academic decisions.
Mr. Kilgore, who is 67, never hid his criminal record from the university and spoke of how he was ashamed of his actions four decades ago. Still, some critics felt his past disqualified him from teaching at the university, noting that he had evaded prosecution by fleeing abroad, and one major donor has threatened to withhold a $4.5-million pledge if Mr. Kilgore returned to the classroom.
After a “robust debate” at its meeting last month, the university’s Board of Trustees cleared the way for Mr. Kilgore to be rehired. According to the Tribune, he has been engaged to teach a one-credit course, titled “Sweat Shops or Flat World Opportunities? Exploring the New World of Work.”