Higher Ed

Higher Ed Roundup

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feds investigate anti-Semitism at UC Santa Cruz

The University of California at Santa Cruz is under investigation by the United States Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights after a professor accused the university of anti-Semitism. In a letter addressed to the office, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer in Hebrew, wrote, “Professors, academic departments and residential colleges at UC (Santa Cruz) promote and encourage anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish views and behavior.” She added that “rhetoric heard in UC (Santa Cruz) classrooms and at numerous events sponsored and funded by academic and administrative units on campus goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.” According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, this is the first time the office has conducted a major investigation of anti-Semitism at a university. Carole Rossi, UC Santa Cruz’s chief campus counsel, said while the university would “fully cooperate” with the office, the “office’s decision to review an individual’s allegations in no way implies that the agency has determined that the allegations have merit.”


Bucking trend, Canada ups higher ed spending

While other countries cut higher education budgets, the Canadian government has proposed a spending increase on higher education and research for the coming fiscal year. The proposal includes tens of millions of dollars toward brain research, student financial aid and study abroad, according to the website for the Canadian Department of Finance. “Canada’s research universities play an integral role in advancing our economy and improving the social and economic well-being of all Canadians,” said Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, according to the university’s website.

Couple accused of theft from Vassar

A former construction project manager at Vassar College and his wife allegedly stole $1.9 million from the college. Arthur Fisher and his wife were accused of creating a fictitious company and depositing money from the college’s capital construction account into the company’s bank account, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. The couple was arrested by Poughkeepsie police and charged with the felony of grand larceny. Jeff Kosmacher, Vassar’s spokesman, said the college asked the police to investigate after noticing “financial irregularities” in a construction project.

Yale to open campus in Singapore

Yale recently announced the official launch of its new campus in Singapore. The college will be jointly run by Yale and the National University of Singapore, according to the Yale Daily News. It will be the first liberal arts college in Singapore and will consist of three residential colleges with 330 students each, according to the press release from the universities. “We also believe the new college can have a profound impact on the advances now being made in higher education throughout Asia,” said Yale President Richard Levin, according to the press release. The campus will be located adjacent to the Singapore university’s present location and is expected to open in 2013. Designs for the campus represent the architectural styles of both universities, according to the YDN.

Colleges halt payments to cities

Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University, both located south of Boston, have stopped making the annual payments they were giving in lieu of taxes to the cities they call home, according to the Boston Globe. The relationships between the institutions and the local municipalities have been on edge due to the high cost of services demanded by the universities. Easton, Mass., also charged Stonehill $55,000 for beginning a major construction project without a building permit. The college aims to reclaim this money through litigation.

Harvard under scrutiny for links to Gadhafi

A Harvard professor called on the president of the university to express “shame” on behalf of the institution for the financial relations between a senior faculty member and Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Harry Lewis, a computer science professor, said at the arts and sciences faculty meeting that students should not get the impression that ethical conduct can be compromised for financial gain. The university has also come under recent scrutiny for a public relations firm started by Harvard professors and used by Gadhafi to improve the image of the Libyan government.

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