All posts by Andy Thomason


President of Brandeis Will Step Down

The president of Brandeis University will step down less than five years after taking office, The Boston Globe reports. Frederick M. Lawrence, who was named president in 2011, will become a senior research scholar at Yale Law School at the end of this academic year. In a campuswide letter, Perry M. Traquina, chairman of the Board of Trustees, credited Mr. Lawrence with a balanced budget and an increase in applications. The university’s provost, Lisa Lynch, will become interim president on July 1.

Brandeis University President Frederick M. Lawrence announced Friday he will step down at the end of the academic year to become a senior research scholar at Yale Law School. In a campuswide letter, Lawrence said that he was “tremendously proud of the ways Brandeis has grown and thrived” since he took over the Waltham college in Jan.

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Another San Francisco Campus Closes Over Earthquake-Safety Concerns

Literally and figuratively, City College of San Francisco is on shaky footing.

Officials at the community college announced on Thursday that it would close its second campus in three weeks out of earthquake-safety concerns, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The announcement three weeks ago—one day before classes were set to begin—that the college’s Civic Center campus would close was greeted with consternation from faculty members. “It’s not ideal,” a college spokesman, Jeff Hamilton, told the newspaper. “It’s highly disruptive to our students and faculty. We’re sorry about that.”

City College of San Francisco has, for the past few years, been locked in a battle with its accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, to stay open. The commission recently granted the college a two-year reprieve from closure.

The student shuffle continues at City College of San Francisco. The Gough Street campus will now close due to seismic safety concerns, school officials told faculty Thursday. This follows the announcement three weeks ago that CCSF’s Civic Center campus on Eddy Street would close because it too is seismically unsafe.

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Chinese Minister Rips Textbooks Promoting ‘Western Values’

China’s education minister says there is no place in the country’s college classrooms for textbooks that promote “Western values,” The New York Times reports. Included in language that should be banned are anti-Communist or anti-socialist rhetoric, according to Yuan Guiren, amplifying a crackdown on dissent that goes back several years and heightened restrictions on Internet use.

“Never allow statements that attack and slander party leaders and malign socialism to be heard in classrooms,” Mr. Yuan said, according to the state news agency. “Never allow teachers to grumble and vent in the classroom, passing on their unhealthy emotions to students.”

In law school at Peking University in the late 1970s, Li Keqiang, now China’s premier, was an avid student of English and helped translate texts that gave his generation its first, exhilarating exposure to Western legal ideals after the death of Mao. Today, however, Mr. Li’s work might be considered dabbling in subversion.

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2 Resign in Protest of Popular Dean’s Removal at Western Michigan U.

[Updated (1/30/2015, 5:22 p.m.) with news of the no-confidence vote.]

Two associate deans at Western Michigan University have stepped down to protest the treatment of a popular dean whose contract was not renewed, reports, a Michigan news site. And in a meeting on Friday, the faculty union voted no confidence in the institution’s provost for his handling of the incident, though the result is unofficial because professors have until Monday to vote electronically.

The provost, Timothy J….


Dartmouth Will Ban Hard Liquor on the Campus, President Says

Dartmouth College’s president on Thursday proposed that hard liquor be banned at campus parties, among other steps to curb what he called “harmful behaviors,” The New York Times reports. Philip J. Hanlon’s proposal is the latest effort in the college’s longstanding battle with its legendary fraternity culture.

In a speech, President Hanlon proposed that hard liquor be banned at all events open to the public, whether they are sponsored by Dartmouth or by student groups. He also said the college w…


Cache of Records Released by U. of Oregon Is Returned

The 22,000 University of Oregon records that were released without permission to a professor have been returned, The Register-Guard reports. According to the university, the records contained confidential information about faculty members, staff members, and students that should have been combed out before their release.

The Chronicle identified the recipient of the records as William T. Harbaugh, an economics professor who runs the blog UO Matters, which advocates for administrative transparenc…


Health Officials Shut Down California Graduate Students’ Community Fridge

Three graduate students at the University of California at Davis are fighting for the right to set up a community refrigerator on their front lawn, The Sacramento Bee reports. Looking to reduce food waste and become closer to their neighbors, the students set up the refrigerator with the instructions “Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.”

Dozens of items were exchanged through the project, until it was shut down late last year by county health officials over concerns about food safety. The three graduate students—Ernst Bertone, Eric Yen, and Ali Hill—say they plan to lobby Davis politicians for community refrigerators.

Mr. Bertone said he had the idea for the community refrigerator while traveling in Europe. “It was in Romania,” he told the Bee. “We were talking about food waste at the time. When I came to Davis for grad school, it was the perfect moment.”

Three UC Davis graduate students experimented last fall with a communal fridge on their front lawn until health officials shut them down.

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Northwestern Gets Largest Donation in Its History From Warren Buffett’s Sister

Northwestern University has announced its largest donation in history—$101-million to create a global-studies institute and fund scholarships for international students, among other things, the Chicago Tribune reports. The gift comes from Roberta Buffett Elliott, a Northwestern graduate and sister of the billionaire businessman Warren Buffett.

Northwestern is in the midst of a multibillon-dollar fund-raising campaign. It was one of five institutions that reported receiving a single gift of $100-million or more in an annual fund-raising survey, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

Northwestern University announced Wednesday morning the largest donation in its history – more than $100 million to boost the field of global studies and fund scholarships for international students. The donation comes from Northwestern alum Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, sister of business magnate and billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett.

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Former Vanderbilt Football Players Are Convicted of 2013 Campus Rape

Two former football players at Vanderbilt University have been found guilty of all charges for their roles in a 2013 campus rape, the Associated Press reports. Cory Batey, 21, was convicted on seven counts of rape and sexual battery, and Brandon Vandenburg, 21, was convicted on nine counts of rape, sexual battery, tampering with evidence, and unlawful photography.

Prosecutors said Mr. Vandenburg brought an unconscious woman back to his dormitory room, where she was assaulted while he took video….


Amid Political Pressure, Obama Drops Plan to Curb College-Savings Plans

President Obama has backed away from his proposal to roll back tax breaks for 529 college-savings plans amid mounting political pressure, The New York Times reports. The proposal was slated to be a piece of Mr. Obama’s budget plan for the 2016 fiscal year, due on Monday.

Under the initial proposal, 529 plans would be scaled back in favor of expanding the American Opportunity Tax Credit, out of a desire to better channel the benefits to lower-income families. The popular college-savings plans mos…