Students Pepper-Sprayed for Wanting to Attend a Community College

This is a guest post by Lenore Beaky, a member of the AAUP Committee on Community Colleges.

“Santa Monica College—The Shape of Things to Come, or The Future That’s Already Arrived?”

What happened at Santa Monica College this spring embodies many of the most urgent threats and challenges facing community colleges in the United States now: vanishing government support, escalating tuition, pressures to limit access, proposals to privatize, competition from for-profit outfits, and anger and resistance from students.

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One Year Later, “Gainful Employment” Still Looks Too Weak

About a year ago, the Department of Education released its highly-anticipated “Gainful Employment” rules, which were meant to solve the problem of students spending a lot of money on job-preparedness programs that didn’t actually prepare them for jobs. The basic idea was that if too many of a school’s graduates were left unable to pay back their loans, the school would stop being eligible for federal loans.

Unfortunately, the rule that ultimately came down from the department was heavily watered down compared to earlier proposals, thanks to intense lobbying from the for-profit industry. One criticism of the final rule is that in order to lose funding, programs will have to fail to meet three student-loan-related benchmarks for three years in a row, starting in 2013. That means the earliest a program can lose funding is 2015.

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AAUP Launches Investigation of the University of Virginia

The AAUP has authorized a governance investigation into the situation at the University of Virginia, where the board of visitors demanded the resignation of president Teresa Sullivan. (The AAUP currently has six colleges on its “sanction” list for violations of shared governance.) At its June 16 meeting, the AAUP members passed a resolution criticizing the University of Virginia board of visitors:

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News from the 2012 AAUP Annual Meeting

The 2012 AAUP Annual Meeting and conference on higher education occurred this past week, and it was another interesting event. The AAUP censured 3 Louisiana Universities: Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, Northwestern State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.

The AAUP also passed a resolution critical of the University of Virginia board for a secret coup to oust its well-regarded president Teresa Sullivan (apparently because she resisted eliminating the German and classics departments).

Outgoing president Cary Nelson announced the 100,000-word draft report on Recommended Principles & Practices to Guide Academic-Industry Relationships, for which the AAUP is currently soliciting comments.

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The Hypocritical Accusation of Hypocrisy by Accuracy in Academia

Malcolm Kline of Accuracy in Academia (whom I will be debating on Thursday in Washington DC at the Heritage Foundation), has a blog entry today responding to Academe Blog’s coverage of the Norman Finkelstein case at DePaul, and complaining that the AAUP (and I) failed to defend DePaul adjunct Thomas Klocek when he was fired by DePaul: “Klocek’s name never turns up in a search of either Wilson’s academe blog or of the website of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), of which Wilson is a member. The AAUP protested Finkelstein’s dismissal but not, from any record we have been able to unearth, Klocek’s.”
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Higher Education Events This Summer

How Biased Are the Campuses? A Debate in DC
How biased are the campuses? A debate between John K. Wilson & Mal Kline, Executive Director, Accuracy in Academia (AIA)
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 6-8 PM
The Van Andel Center, The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Washington, DC.
The event is free but please RSVP or call (202)364-3085 so that we can get a head count for free pizza.
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A New Look at the Ward Churchill Case

This is a guest post by Don Eron, one of the authors of the just-published “Report on the Termination of Ward Churchill.

The new AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom contains a report by the AAUP’s Colorado conference chronicling the University of Colorado’s prosecution of Native American studies professor Ward Churchill, in response to Churchill’s characterization of some victims of the 9/11 attacks as “little Eichmanns.” Under intense pressure from the media, the legislature, and university regents to fire him, the University of Colorado administration found that Churchill’s speech was constitutionally protected, but charged him with numerous, unrelated allegations of academic misconduct. A faculty committee appointed by the administration convicted Churchill, who was subsequently fired by the university’s Board of Regents.

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The Significance of Norman Finkelstein

By Matthew Abraham

The facts on the Finkelstein case at DePaul have been covered in some detail elsewhere, so I will not review here what is already quite well known. It is difficult to dispute that DePaul was subjected to enormous financial and political pressure as it considered Finkelstein’s tenure application. The documentary record itself will present interesting reading for future historians of academic politics. I would like to examine the significance of Norman Finkelstein’s example for academic activism on the fifth anniversary of the tenure denial.

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