University News

This week in higher ed: Feb. 18, 2015

University News Editor
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Iranians barred from some UMass Amherst programs

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst will cease admitting Iranians to certain programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Inside Higher Ed reported Monday. The university based its decision on U.S. sanctions imposed August 2012 that forbid Iranians who intend to participate in their country’s nuclear program from obtaining documentation to study in the United States.

UMass Amherst’s policy states that its Iranian students and those at other universities have encountered difficulty reentering the country after studying abroad, Inside Higher Ed reported.

The policy has spawned criticism for what some perceive as its broad understanding of the sanctions. Some feel the interpretation gives the university too much authority on the issue, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Government agencies such as the U.S. Department of State, rather than universities, should make decisions on how sanctions relate to admission to university programs, Jamal Abdi, policy director for the National Iranian American Council, told Inside Higher Ed.


Princeton wins literary lotto

Princeton received $300 million worth of books, including first folio Shakespeare works, one of 48 remaining Gutenberg Bibles and an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The gift is the largest in the university’s history, according to a Princeton press release.

Donated posthumously by William Scheide, a Princeton alum who died last year, the gift “will stand as a defining collection for Firestone Library and Princeton University,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in the press release. Anthony Grafton, a professor of history at Princeton who specializes in the cultural history of Renaissance Europe, deemed Scheide’s inventory a “treasure house.”

The collection will prove particularly useful for scholars and students looking to conduct research, Karin Trainer, university librarian at Princeton, said in the press release. “At its core, the Scheide library is the richest collection anywhere of the first documents printed in 15th-century Europe,” she said.


Yale sanctions fraternity for sexual misconduct

Yale barred its chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon from holding on-campus events and using university email until August 2016 after fraternity members made “inappropriate comments” about a female student at an initiation ceremony presentation, the New York Times reported Saturday. The fraternity attempted to stymie a university investigation of the incident, the Times reported.

In a letter signed by fraternity brothers and made available to the Yale community by the university, Sigma Alpha Epsilon denounced the controversial remarks, stating that brothers not directly involved in giving the presentation had no prior knowledge of the comments, the Yale Daily News reported Friday.

The letter also conveyed that the fraternity has taken action to improve its “internal culture,” as Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters now requires all brothers to receive sexual assault and harassment prevention training, the YDN reported.

The university’s disclosure of details surrounding the Sigma Alpha Epsilon sanctions “contributes to discussions aimed at improving our campus climate,” Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College, wrote in a message to the student body.

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