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Higher Ed Roundup: Harvard group cancels address by controversial anti-immigration leader Gilchrist

Facing campus protests, a Harvard student group has rescinded an invitation to controversial anti-immigration activist Jim Gilchrist to speak at a forum this weekend.

The group, the Undergraduate Legal Committee, released a statement calling Gilchrist's appearance "not compatible with providing an environment for civil, educational and productive discourse on immigration."

Gilchrist is the founder of the Minuteman Project, which sends armed civilians to patrol the Mexican border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration.

In response to the disinvitation, Gilchrist released a statement on his organization's Web site that decried "campus philosophical fanatics" and raised questions about First Amendment rights. "That future graduates of the most renowned university in the world are literally afraid to support the very cornerstone of the foundation of our nation, namely ‘free speech,' ought to frighten anyone looking to America as the beacon of liberty, freedom, and justice for all," his statement read.

Gilchrist is no stranger to controversy: An appearance at Harvard last year set off student protests, and during a 2006 speech at Columbia activists stormed the stage as he spoke, knocking over furniture and sparking a brawl.

Gallaudet announces new president

Gallaudet University named T. Alan Hurwitz its next president on Sunday, nearly two years after a previous proposed presidential appointment wrought turmoil at the world's foremost university for deaf students.

The announcement that Hurwitz — who comes to Gallaudet from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and is deaf himself — has been met with support from the university community, NPR reported Tuesday.

Gallaudet — which is in Washington, D.C., and serves approximately 1,900 students, 90 percent of whom are deaf — is the world's only university that caters specifically to the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

In 2006, disputes over the school's leadership sparked widespread dissent that divided the campus and the deaf community at large. Jane Fernandes, then the provost, was appointed president of the school but quickly ousted after protests over Fernandes' leadership style and qualifications gripped — and at one point, even effectively shut down — the school's campus.

Gallaudet alum Richard Davila, a former NTID and Department of Education official, has served as Gallaudet's interim president since Fernandes' dismissal.

North Dakota State University president resigns amid spending inquiry

The North Dakota State University's president resigned last week amid mounting speculation that he spent university funds improperly.

Joseph Chapman, who has been president of the Fargo public university for 10 years, drew scrutiny from lawmakers and members of the university community after construction of his on-campus house ran more than $1 million over its original budget, for a total cost of $2 million, the New York Times reported over the weekend.

Last week, officials called for a detailed audit of financial records related to the construction. Other aspects of Chapman's perks and benefits have also come into question, the Times reported, including a $50,000-a-year appointment as an "ambassador" for the university that Chapman's wife receives and a car allowance.

In a letter to members of the university community about his resignation, Chapman acknowledged the growing scrutiny. "Controversies in recent days have created distractions that have made it impossible for me to provide the leadership this institution deserves," the letter said, according to the Times.


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