University News

This Week in Higher Ed: Oct. 15, 2014

By
University News Editor
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No referee off the field for FSU football players

A New York Times investigation published Friday revealed a pattern of action by Tallahassee, Fla.  police designed to protect Florida State University football players accused of crimes.

The most prominent of the cases involves star quarterback Jameis Winston, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, who was accused of rape in January 2013. The Times found that the police investigation was sloppy and often nonexistent, resulting in insufficient evidence to prosecute Winston.

But the Times’ recent evaluation of police records, court documents and interviews with witnesses demonstrated that Winston’s was not an isolated case. A suspect’s status as a member of the football team is frequently mentioned in police reports and has occasionally played a part in helping players sidestep arrest, the Times reported. In other cases, investigations have proceeded at a glacial pace or been cut short.

Many Tallahassee police officers are major Seminoles fans, and dozens serve as security guards and coordinate traffic at home games, the Times reported.

Michael DeLeo, who became Tallahassee’s chief of police last December, said in a statement, “I take seriously the responsibility entrusted to us to keep (the city’s college students) safe and also hold them accountable for their actions,” the Times reported. When officers make mistakes, “we immediately investigate and hold them accountable,” he said.

 

Harvard CS course may travel to New Haven

Harvard’s popular introductory computer science course, widely known as CS50, may be offered at Yale next fall, the Harvard Crimson reported last Wednesday.

Yale is weighing a proposal to offer a version of CS50 that would combine Harvard course instructor David Malan’s filmed lectures, which would be streamed live, with a Yale instructor and teaching assistants who would grade assignments, hold office hours and run sections, Joan Feigenbaum, head of Yale’s computer science department, told the Crimson. Both schools’ faculties must still approve the proposal.

James Aspnes, director of undergraduate studies for Yale’s computer science department, told the Crimson that Yale has struggled recently to bolster its introductory computer science offerings because of limited resources.

But Harvard has had no such problem. The Crimson reported last month on the enormous popularity of CS50, which has 848 Harvard students enrolled this semester. During the 2012-13 school year, approximately  160,000 others took the massive open online course through HarvardX. The course has a staff of more than 100, including videographers and a production team.

If approved, the cross-campus course would mark a major inroad for digital learning in the Ivy League. It would “allow us to combine the great things about online instruction and the great things about person-to-person, face-to-face on-campus instruction,” Feigenbaum said.

 

Ebola researchers at Yale choose not to sequester themselves

Two Yale public health students who recently returned to campus from researching Ebola in Liberia have decided not to isolate themselves, the Yale Daily News reported Monday.

The students were engineering a computer system that would map Ebola’s transmission and never directly encountered the virus, wrote Yale School of Public Health Dean Paul Cleary in a pair of emails to public health students.

The researchers had originally offered to remain at home for three weeks — the virus’s incubation period — primarily in order to mitigate public fear, the Yale Daily News reported. But after consulting with several physicians, epidemiologists, administrators and people at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the students changed their minds.

They will still adhere to the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the virus’s spread, Cleary wrote, adding that the odds of any Yale community members getting infected are slim.