University News

This week in higher ed: Nov. 13, 2014

By
University News Editor
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Princeton violated Title IX, federal government finds

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found Princeton violated the Title IX federal statute in its handling of sexual misconduct cases, the New York Times reported Nov. 5.

OCR’s decision, which concludes its investigation of Title IX complaints filed against Princeton in 2010 and 2011, stated that the school did not respond swiftly and fairly to sexual misconduct allegations.

In accordance with the terms of its resolution agreement with OCR, Princeton will need to reexamine all sexual misconduct cases heard by its Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline during the last three years, the Daily Princetonian reported. At least 11 cases will be reexamined, including seven in which the defendant was determined to have committed sexual assault.

Princeton aims to finish reexamining the cases by February, the Daily Princetonian reported.

The school enacted changes to its policies governing sexual assault allegations in September, lowering the standard of proof needed to find a student responsible for sexual misconduct to “a preponderance of evidence,” a metric which the rest of the Ivy League uses, the Times reported.

 

U. of Florida political science department nixes online degree proposal

The University of Florida’s political science department rejected a proposal to offer an online bachelor of arts degree in political science through the school’s online education division, known as UF Online, Inside Higher Ed reported Monday. About two-thirds of the department’s faculty members voted against the proposal.

Though the department already offers a number of courses through the online platform, faculty members expressed hesitation about the quality of a major completed entirely online, Inside Higher Ed reported.

“We felt that there were so many things (students) weren’t going to be exposed to,” Kenneth Wald, professor of political science at the U. of Florida, told Inside Higher Ed. “It was going to be effectively a second-class degree.”

Policy uncertainty at both the university and state level also influenced the result, as faculty members worried that possible leadership changes at the university and in Florida could shift priorities, Inside Higher Ed reported.

The vote marks a setback for UF Online, which had expected an online political science program to launch during the 2017-18 academic year, Inside Higher Ed reported.

 

Harvard admits taking photos of classes without consent

Harvard used hidden cameras to photograph students and faculty members in 10 classes last spring for a study on attendance, the Harvard Crimson reported Nov. 5.

The university did not inform the subjects that they were being photographed out of concern that doing so might distort research results, the New York Times reported.

The secret photography came to light at a Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences meeting Tuesday when Professor of Computer Science Harry Lewis asked about the study, which was confirmed by Peter Bol, the school’s vice provost for advances in learning, the Crimson reported.

Administrators promised to notify students in surveilled classes that their photographs were taken, the Times reported.

For many, the photographs add to privacy concerns at Harvard after controversy erupted last year when it emerged that the school searched through some junior faculty members’ email accounts.

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