All posts by Nick DeSantis

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After Controversy, UMass Rolls Out New Measures for Iranian Students

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has unveiled new measures concerning its treatment of Iranian students, four months after a short-lived controversy in which the institution banned some such students from certain graduate programs, The Boston Globe reports.

The university announced the ban in February, saying it was necessary to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. But it reversed the ban just days later, after it drew heated criticism.

The university will continue to admit Iranian graduate students, but it will require faculty members and the students to undergo new training. It will also require international students to write, and obtain faculty approval of, a summary of their research before traveling abroad. Last December an Iranian student went home for the holidays and was denied re-entry to the United States after being questioned by federal officials. The student is still in Iran.


Iranian students Tuesday had mixed reactions to the new measures. One student praised the fact that Iranian students were included in the process of drafting the measures and said the school listened to their suggestions. “We are pleased to see students do … training instead of being rejected only based on their nationality,” said Ali Rakhshan, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering and past president of the Iranian Graduate Student Association at UMass, which spoke out against the initial policy banning Iranian graduate students.

Read more at: www.bostonglobe.com

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NCAA Proposal Would Refine Definition of Academic Misconduct

The NCAA on Friday said its Division I members would consider a new proposal that is designed to refine the definition of academic misconduct and clarify what constitutes impermissible academic assistance, the Associated Press reported.

The proposal would define impermissible assistance to an athlete as that which is “not generally available” to a college’s other students, or that which is not allowed under other Division I rules. It also would prohibit the creation of an “academic excep…

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College of Charleston’s President Backs Call to Remove Confederate Flag

The College of Charleston’s president, Glenn F. McConnell, on Thursday backed the governor of South Carolina’s call to move a Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds, breaking his silence on the issue following last week’s mass shooting in a black church.

Many observers had been waiting for Mr. McConnell to speak out about the issue. He is a former lieutenant governor and state senator who, in 2000, helped arrange a compromise that moved the flag from atop the state Capitol’s dome to…

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Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory Consider Merger

The governing boards of the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory have approved plans to pursue a possible merger that could take place as soon as 2016, The Boston Globe reports.

Under the proposed arrangement, the two institutions’ boards and endowments would be merged, but they would maintain separate admissions procedures and their presidents would keep their titles. The conservatory would become known as the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

The colleges’ leaders said a merger…

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For-Profit Educator Will Pay the U.S. $13 Million to Settle Fraud Claims

The for-profit higher-education company Education Affiliates will pay the federal government $13 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims for federal student aid for students in its programs, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

The company operates 50 campuses in the United States under various trade names, the department said, including All-State Career, Fortis Institute, Fortis College, and others. The settlement resolves five lawsuits filed under the fed…

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The Citadel’s Board Votes to Move Confederate Naval Flag From Chapel

The Board of Visitors of the Citadel, the public military college in South Carolina, on Tuesday voted to remove a Confederate naval flag from the campus’s Summerall Chapel, as scrutiny of Confederate symbols has intensified nationwide following a mass shooting last week in a black church in Charleston, S.C.

The flag, known as a Confederate Naval Jack, was presented to the college’s president in 1939 and is one of 57 flags that hang in the interior of the chapel. Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, the Citade…

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Deal Is Reached to Keep Sweet Briar College Open Next Year

[Updated (6/21/2015, 9 p.m.) with additional reaction.]

Virginia’s attorney general announced on Saturday that an agreement had been reached to keep Sweet Briar College, which abruptly announced in March that it planned to close this summer, open next year after all.

The announcement of the women’s college’s closure sparked an outcry on and off the campus, as well as a flurry of legal challenges, and raised questions for other small institutions. The agreement announced by the attorney general, …

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‘Colorism Has Its Limits’: Campuses React to Storm Over White Adjunct Who Posed as Black

An adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University became the focus of a fierce debate about race and identity last week, when her parents asserted that she was white, despite having passed herself off for years as a black woman.

Rachel A. Dolezal, 37, earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Howard University and has worked as an adjunct in Eastern Washington’s Africana-education program, teaching such courses as African and African-American art history and “the Black Woman’s Struggle…

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U. of Minnesota Says Scientists May Not Take Fees From Research Sponsors

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents on Friday endorsed a new ethics policy that will bar researchers from accepting consulting fees from companies that sponsor their work, the Star Tribune reported. In the past, researchers were allowed to do research for drug companies while serving as their paid consultants.

Eric W. Kaler, the university’s president, asserted that the new policy — which is designed to guard against conflicts of interest — is one of the strongest among academic research centers nationwide.

The board’s endorsement followed widespread criticism of the university’s handling of human research subjects, prompted in part by the 2004 suicide of a schizophrenia patient who was participating in a drug trial.


The Regents unanimously endorsed the 75-page plan, which recommends a series of changes to tighten safeguards for patients who volunteer in university research trials.

Read more at: www.startribune.com

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Faculty Group Blasts University Over Handling of Sculpture Satirizing President

Capilano University violated an instructor’s academic freedom by seizing his satirical sculpture about the Canadian institution’s president, concludes a report released on Thursday by the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

The instructor, George Rammell, made an unflattering sculpture of Capilano’s president, Kris Bulcroft, and her poodle, wrapped in an American flag. Last year Mr. Rammell learned that his artwork had been removed from the campus, and it was destroyed in the process of being moved.

The faculty group’s report asserts that the sculpture, while unflattering, was a form of “legitimate expression, not bullying or personal harassment.” It called on the university to apologize to Mr. Rammell, who told The Globe and Mail that his work was “a cheeky satire” and “an anti-monument.”


Shelley McDade, chair of Capilano’s board, issued a statement that said the Canadian Association of University Teachers has no “relationship, authority or jurisdiction” when it comes to the university, which considers the matter closed.

The CAUT can, however, censure the university and recommend that professors avoid teaching there.Mr. Rammell, now working out of his small studio in Vancouver’s hip Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, said he was “absolutely enamoured” by the CAUT’s findings.

Read more at: www.theglobeandmail.com