University News

This Week in Higher Ed: March 31, 2015

By
University News Editor
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rhodes Scholarship eligibility to expand

Individuals from China will soon be eligible for Rhodes Scholarships, the New York Times reported Monday. The change is part of a larger plan to expand into additional countries, marking the first major growth of the program since the 1970s, when women became eligible.

The expansion has sparked both positive and negative comments, the Times reported. While some said the change in eligibility is long overdue and will increase the diversity of scholars, others questioned the influence of the Communist Party in excluding individuals from nomination who do not follow the party’s ideals.

The expansion is also a mechanism through which the Rhodes program may increase funding, the Times reported.

The inclusion of China is part of a larger trend in which selective universities are admitting more Chinese students and expanding research initiatives in the country, the Times reported.

Swastikas found on Northeastern whiteboard

Swastikas were found on Northeastern University’s campus for the second time this academic year, the Boston Globe reported Sunday.

A residential assistant found the anti-Semitic symbol on a dormitory whiteboard early Sunday morning. According to President Joseph Aoun’s community-wide email, campus police are investigating the incident. Aoun condemned the “hateful act,” the Globe reported.

Swastikas were previously discovered on fliers for a lecture given by an officer of the Israeli Defense Forces in November, the Globe reported.

OU SAE members were taught racist chant on national organization cruise

Members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma learned a racist chant at a national fraternity event four years ago, according to a university investigation, the New York Times reported Friday. The investigation was prompted by a widely disseminated online video that depicted fraternity members shouting the chant, which includes threatening racial slurs.

The chant was taught to members on a “national leadership cruise,” and then incorporated into the chapter’s pledge process, the Times reported. The national fraternity organization corroborated the story in a statement, though it has not found the use of the chant in other chapters.

It remains ambiguous whether members learned the chant directly from a national chapter leader, Inside Higher Ed reported Monday.

Since its discovery, the video has led to the expulsion of two students, both identified in the video as leading the chant. The university’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was also disbanded by both the university and the national organization, the Times reported.

Twenty-seven students are facing punitive measures from the university, Inside Higher Ed reported.

The university’s investigation was presented in a news conference Friday, where President David Boren denied that the expulsion of the students was a violation of free speech. He said the “threatening and hostile environment” created by the chant warranted disciplinary action, the Times reported.

No evidence found to corroborate Rolling Stone sexual assault article

No evidence was found supporting a November Rolling Stone article’s description of an alleged gang-rape at the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi in 2012, the New York Times reported March 23. Rolling Stone has come under intense criticism for the article, entitled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA.”

Charlottesville police opened the investigation into the alleged rape four months ago. “No substantive basis” for the claim has been found, the Washington Post reported March 23.

The student who was allegedly raped, referred to as Jackie in the article, did not cooperate in the investigative process, and police were unable to determine who her date that night was, the Times reported.

Officials also found no evidence that a party happened in the fraternity house Sept. 28, 2012, when the incident allegedly occurred. The Rolling Stone article described scenes of sexual assault and binge drinking, but police did not find evidence of either, the Post reported.

Chief of Police Timothy Longo said the investigation has been suspended but left the possibility open that an incident occurred, pending further evidence, the Times reported.

Rolling Stone announced in a statement that a review of its general editorial process and the disputed article in particular is being conducted by Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. The results will be published within the next few weeks, the Times reported.

The UVA chapter of Phi Kappa Psi is currently looking into legal measures to levy against Rolling Stone, the Times reported.