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In a case involving free speech and academic freedom at private institutions and faculty responsibilities toward students, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday ruled, 4 to 2, in favor John McAdams, the Marquette University professor who was suspended for criticizing a graduate student instructor on his blog in 2014.
A lower court had ruled against the professor in his breach of contract suit against Marquette last year, saying McAdams erred in identifying the philosophy student by name when writing about how she handled an in-class discussion that turned to gay marriage, and that the university was within its rights to punish him. But Justice Daniel Kelly wrote in the Supreme Court decision reversing that ruling that while Marquette’s internal dispute resolution process may work well in some instances, it is “not a substitute for [McAdams’s] right to sue” over larger issues.
The case has been closely watched by some faculty members and administrators who back McAdams, and others who support the university.
Kelly said that the “undisputed facts” of the case show that Marquette breached its contract with McAdams when it suspended him for “engaging in activity protected by [his] contract’s guarantee of academic freedom.” Kelly also ordered Marquette to immediately reinstate McAdams with tenure and pay him yet-to-be-determined damages, including back pay.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote in her dissent that at its core, academic freedom is a “professional principle, not merely a legal construct,” which “embraces the academic freedom of the faculty as well as the academic freedom of the institution.” The majority opinion only looked at academic freedom from McAdams’s perspective, she said.
Moreover, Bradley argued, the majority did not mention key facts surrounding the case, such as that McAdams actively promoted his blog post criticizing the student to news media, including Inside Higher Ed.
Rick Esenberg, McAdams’s attorney at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said the decision marks "a major day for freedom." It's “our sincere hope that Marquette appreciates and learns from this episode and takes care to guard free speech on campus.”
Marquette said in a statement that while it will comply with the terms of the decision, “it was always clear that the professor’s behavior crossed the line. This was affirmed by a seven-member panel of the professor’s peers, and by a Wisconsin Circuit Court judge.”
The case “has never been about academic freedom or a professor’s political views,” Marquette's statement said. “Had the professor published the same blog without the student-teacher’s name or contact information, he would not have been disciplined. Marquette has been, and always will be, committed to academic freedom.” The university said it will take steps to ensure that such a situation never happens again.Teaching and LearningEditorial Tags: Academic freedomBreaking NewsFacultyTeachingImage Caption: John McAdamsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Marquette University
Una niña de cuatro años con parálisis cerebral da sus primeros pasos solo dos meses después de operarse
Some faculty members have grown increasingly unsettled about Antioch College’s future, worrying the small private liberal arts college in western Ohio is trailing enrollment goals for its upcoming fall quarter even as it comes off a period of furloughs and pay cuts.
College officials on Thursday disputed an anonymous tip that Antioch currently has 34 new students signed up for its Class of 2022, significantly trailing a goal of 75 that was made public earlier this year. Antioch is focused instead on enrolling the right mix of students to hit a new revenue target, they said. But they did not share any alternative new student enrollment snapshot Thursday, saying only that the college is on track for a significant increase over last year.
Last year, 28 new students came to campus against a goal of 60 for the fall of 2017. If Antioch were to miss an enrollment target again, it could increase pressure on a college that has been heavily dependent on donations since it reopened in the fall of 2011. Antioch offered full-tuition scholarships for several years after it reopened as it re-established its accreditation, but it has since struggled to transition to charging tuition. Consequently, its enrollment and budget figures draw scrutiny as those within the college and across higher education watch to see if students are willing to pay -- and if a once-closed college can stabilize its financial model.
This week, an anonymous faculty member emailed Inside Higher Ed, saying that Antioch’s Class of 2022 currently stands at 34 students, less than half of a goal of 75 that was published in February. The email included details about a letter faculty members sent to college leaders voicing displeasure after Antioch announced cuts in March to address a budget deficit, and it included a response from the college’s board. The letter also expressed concern about faculty members leaving the college.
One Antioch faculty member speaking on background confirmed the enrollment number of 34 new students, saying it is well-known on campus. The faculty member also confirmed that several tenure-track faculty members are soon leaving the college.
The number of new students enrolling may look low, but it has sparked optimism in some corners because it is better than where Antioch was at a comparable point last year, the faculty member continued. Weeks before the start of its 2017 fall quarter, the college had signed up 22 new students.
But college officials disputed the tip’s accuracy. Christine Reedy, communications specialist, said in an email that the number was not correct but that she might not be able to gather additional information until early next week. Gariot P. Louima, dean of admission and external relations, also said the number was off.
“The fall 2018 cycle is still open for us as we have rolling admission,” Louima said in an email. “Our committee meets weekly to review applications. As I have recently submitted applications and recently admitted students in this cycle, I wouldn't feel comfortable releasing a number that will be inaccurate upon publication. We do, however, expect increases in net revenue and new matriculates this fall.”
Neither Reedy nor Louima responded to follow-up requests seeking additional information on how many new students were enrolled for the fall. Tom Manley, Antioch’s president, was vacationing and did not have the latest numbers available Thursday.
The number of new students for the fall reported by the faculty member who sent the email tip "could have been a real number two weeks ago," Manley said in a phone interview. It could be different today, and today's number is not where Antioch plans on landing.
"You take a snapshot and you have students and their applications that you're still processing, and the probable numbers that you're going to convert," he said. "So if you look at a number right now, on July 5, that's not necessarily the number that you're going to have on Sept. 1."
Antioch is attempting to get away from the practice of presenting an enrollment number for today and a goal for the future, Manley said. It hasn't served the college in the past, and distracts from the results the college needs and is getting.
"We have completely redesigned the curriculum," Manley said. "We have developed a new calendar. We have a clear value proposition offering. We have developed an experiential focus … and so I am very optimistic."
Manley acknowledged that it's not unrealistic to worry about any college's future in the year 2018. Antioch is trying to disrupt higher education in a disruptive time. While it may be challenging work, people on Antioch's board, in its faculty and in its community are excited about its direction, he said.
"Before I left, I looked at some projections in terms of cash for the next quarter or two, and we look good, or we're OK," Manley said.
At the very least, the situation is a reminder to watch Antioch College, which reopened as an independent institution in 2011 after Antioch University -- which operates campuses with graduate and professional programs at locations around the country and online -- decided in 2007 to close it amid enrollment and financial struggles. In addition to changing its tuition model since then, the college has gone through several rounds of cost cutting. Most recently, it announced cuts effective between March and June of this year. Staff earning more than $40,000 annually needed to take 10 days of unpaid leave by the end of June, and faculty members had their salaries reduced by 11 percent over the same period.
In response to those cuts, faculty members drafted a March 12 letter expressing dismay. They also voiced concern about a lack of funding for faculty development, faculty retention issues and levels of representation on a planning and finance committee.
Several weeks later, Board of Trustees chair Barbara Winslow responded with a letter to faculty expressing regret for the salary reductions and furloughs and addressing several other concerns. The board is doing everything it can to support the college’s move toward financial stability, the letter said.
“We have unanimously and strongly endorsed the President's Action Areas and the financial model proposed by the President and the Finance and Planning Committee,” it said. “We ask you to give it your full support as it is introduced and developed beginning next quarter and over the next 3-5 years. We also encourage you to work collaboratively with the Provost to bring the full power and creativity of the faculty to these efforts and to translate your concerns into practical solutions and opportunities.”
After the furloughs and salary cuts were announced, Antioch’s president, Manley, told The Yellow Springs News that the college had made progress reducing expenses. But it hadn’t held expenses to the budget trustees had set, prompting the need for additional cuts.
The planned cuts did not entirely eliminate the budget shortfall. It’s not clear whether Antioch closed the year at the end of June with a deficit -- it is too soon after the end of the fiscal year for the calculations to be finished, Manley said.
Antioch lost a reported $1.7 million for the year ending June 30, 2017, a year in which its expenses totaled $17.6 million. That was down from a $7 million deficit the previous year. The college employed 118 staff members and 31 faculty members as of January, not counting adjuncts.
Asked whether Antioch would have had enough cash to make payroll if the furloughs and salary cuts weren't put in place, Manley responded that the savings from the moves were significant. The college was also able to raise additional money. Today, no furloughs are in place, the salary cuts are no longer in place, and professional development has been returned to the budget.
"It would have been touch and go, yeah," he said about cash levels without the cuts last year. "In the end, it was about the board saying … we want to make sure the college gets closer to budget. So I don't think it was a hollow exercise by any means."
Manley has previously discussed many of the strategic issues at play. In a telephone interview with Inside Higher Ed in September 2017, he talked about Antioch’s changing value proposition. When Antioch was offering full scholarships, many families were choosing the college because they understood the value proposition of a free college education. As leaders worked to end free tuition, the value proposition that remained wasn’t what leaders necessarily thought it was.
“What we’re looking to do is shape a value proposition, a clear value proposition, which, frankly, Antioch didn’t have in the first period of its start-up phase when it was trying to get accreditation,” Manley said. “Very much our value proposition was, ‘We’re a liberal arts college that has an emphasis on social justice and history of cooperative education and a long legacy of doing these things, and that’s why you should join us.’”
Affordability would remain a critical piece of Antioch’s new value proposition, Manley said. He also said the college would be paying attention to demographics, starting locally in its region and in Ohio while also looking to other parts of the country. It would look where students are attracted by autonomy, agency and making an impact in areas like the environment, democracy, social justice and creativity.
Manley used the language of a business start-up several times during the September interview. He referred to Antioch’s alumni as angel investors.
The college was raising $12 million per year, mostly for operations. Alumni were giving to support Antioch’s efforts to reinvent the model of a small-college education, he said.
That would mean donations make up a remarkably large chunk of Antioch’s operating revenue, reported at $15.9 million for the fiscal year ending in 2017. But Manley did not seem worried about donor fatigue.
“I can’t say by year 2020, if we’re not there, we’re done,” he said of budget goals. “This college and the alumni fought too hard to gain its independence. They’re going to do whatever is necessary to keep going forward.”
Not every faculty member was concerned for Antioch. One speaking on background expressed growing bullishness for the college. Another said many faculty members feel confident in its new admission dean, Louima.
A third, who was willing to speak on the record Thursday, acknowledged Antioch’s struggles but expressed optimism for the future. Corine Tachtiris is an assistant professor of non-Western literature who is a member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty.
“Antioch has faced a lot of challenges over the last year,” Tachtiris said. “And those challenges will continue to pose problems over the next year, and possibly years. But I still believe that Antioch can ride out the rough waves.”AdmissionsEditorial Tags: AdmissionsImage Source: Antioch CollegeIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending:
William Shatner unleashes on academics on Twitter after he criticizes librarians over renaming award named after Laura Ingalls Wilder
William Shatner, Star Trek’s original Captain Kirk, wasn’t exactly telling academics on Twitter to live long and prosper this week when he dived into the ongoing controversy over the former Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. (He might have done well to summon his inner Mr. Spock, however.)
In a series of tweets, Shatner criticized the Association for Library Service to Children's June decision to change the name of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for significant contributions to youth literature to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. The children's librarians group, which is a part of the greater American Library Association, has said it based its decision on “the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent” with its “core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness.”
The Little House books were published starting 1932. Wilder received the inaugural children’s literature award in 1954. Since that time, concerns have emerged about Wilder's portrayal of black people and especially Native Americans. The books’ nearly all-white characters sometimes comment that the only “good Indian is a dead Indian,” for example. For those reasons, many have applauded the award name change as an important acknowledgment that Wilder’s descriptions perpetuate hurtful stereotypes.
Others have accused the association of censorship. Critics say it’s unfair to apply contemporary norms to historical works and that even ugly truths present teaching moments. Joining them, Shatner tweeted, “Did you hear about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award being renamed over negative lines on the indigenous people of America?” Shatner added, “I find it disturbing that some take modern opinion & obliterate the past. Isn’t progress @ learning from our mistakes?”
The tweet gained its own variety of responses, with some circling into a debate about whether Star Trek itself was progressive or racist -- or both. Shatner continued to defend his position on Wilder while some academics criticized it. Among them were Brigitte Fielder, an assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, an associate professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fielder has since made her account private, gaining rebuke from Shatner, who called her a “troll.” But Thomas has kept public her account, including tweets saying that Star Trek was “groundbreaking for its time, but is problematic from a 2010s [point of view], especially on gender.” Shatner “seriously needs to stay in his lane,” she added. Thomas later commented that she'd earned tenure for her work on these kinds of issues. "This is my lane -- I have a book coming out in the spring on this very topic," she said.
Clearly perturbed, Shatner tweeted about both professors, tweeting at their institutions’ accounts in an apparent, nonironic request for censorship. “Perhaps @clfs_uw & @UWMadison should look at the content of their faculty online? @Penn should also check out their professor who cannot seem to stay in her lane & uses 2018 sentiments on 50 yo TV shows,” he wrote.
Shatner’s tweet prompted Ari Cohn, a lawyer with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, to chide him and warn both Penn and Wisconsin not to take up Shatner's idea. If “either university tries to police the content of faculty's speech because you were offended (side note: criticizing your show and your views is not ‘debasing’ or ‘making fun of’ you, it's mere criticism; grow up),” Cohn wrote, “they are going into a much bigger thorn than you. Namely, me.”
Fielder said via email Thursday that she is "invested in antiracist pedagogical practices" for teaching Little House on the Prairie in her own classes. So she's "familiar with the racist content of these books and the longstanding objections to them.”
She said she'd entered the conversation about Shatner to reply to a tweet about "a common (and historically false) argument: that past racism ought not to be judged by ‘modern' standards of opposing racism because racism was not objectionable at the time.” As a scholar of U.S. literature from the 1800s, she added, "I know that there have always been people objecting to racism, even when those people were not in the majority,” she said.
So far, Fielder said she’s heard nothing about an investigation but has received support from colleagues. The American Association of University Professors’ advocacy chapter at Madison supported her online, tweeting that Shatner had spent July 4 implying that its administration and Penn’s “should consider firing 2 kid lit professors for disagreeing with him about whether it's appropriate to note racism in Little House [on] the Prairie.”
As Shatner continued to tweet about her -- saying, for example, that she had just gained tenure while he was a published author a dozen times -- Thomas shared a photo of herself sipping a beer. In later tweets, she said that while such an incident might have “devastated” her career 10 or 15 years ago, she’s fine today.
“As long as I'm not physically threatened, let people talk,” she said. “I went through so much earning my Ph.D. and trying to make tenure that Grandma's prayers were answered. Skin's tough. This is nothing. If I lose my job over this, or my institution investigates me, I'll just be on the market."
Penn said it had “nothing to offer" about the matter.
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The National Collegiate Athletic Association has approved a new transfer rule, one that appears to give athletes more control over their fates at a time when the NCAA is facing questions about its commitment to athletes' rights.
But the policy was written such that in some circumstances, players could risk losing their scholarships at the whim of an institution.
“This was forced because of public, media and legal pressure … It’s easy for the NCAA to take a victory lap even though this should have happened years ago,” said Dave Ridpath, president of the Drake Group, which promotes academic integrity in college sports. “It’s a win for the athlete even though it does not go far enough.”
Earlier this month, in what the NCAA called an “expected next step,” it allowed all athletes in Division I to transfer out of their programs without permission -- all they would need to do is inform their college or university they intended to do so. The players would then be added to a national database and any coach could contact them. Some athletes in the more high-profile sports still need to sit out a year upon transferring, per NCAA rules.
Before, athletes required the go-ahead from their college or university to leave and seek out new scholarships. This led to some coaches intentionally obstructing the departures of some talented players, experts say.
While this move does remove some autonomy from the institution, it could leave athletes vulnerable. If athletes have given notice they want out, a university could cancel their scholarship at the end of the semester in which they notified the university.
As SB Nation noted in a recent column, this would be discretionary for the institution, with some of the more mediocre players possibly being shortchanged if they change their mind and decide they won't transfer: “If a former five-star recruit wants to browse other schools, his current program probably won’t nix his scholarship. If a middling three-star who’s been fighting for a spot on the two-deep does, maybe the school will.”
But the NCAA’s conferences can also adopt their own procedures around transfers, essentially rendering the rule change, which takes effect in October, moot if they wanted. Ridpath said this was “too restrictive.”
The conference that sponsored the new transfer rules, the Big 12, indicated that allowing the institution to nix a scholarship was an issue of fairness. It was supported by a number of NCAA panels, including the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
In Division II, an athlete must still get permission to transfer; that's not so in Division III.
“In fairness to the transfer student-athlete’s teammates, coaching staff and overall team dynamic, the Division I SAAC felt that a student-athlete should not be able to give notification, search for other opportunities, then return to their institution if dissatisfied with their options with no repercussions,” Noah Knight, the committee chair, said in a recent statement.
Jon Solomon, director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society program, said that the move was a “healthy step.” Too many coaches, he said, were blocking players simply to protect their own interests and those of their programs.
He said that while the impact of this shift can't be predicted, likely the less-talented players would be more at risk when they want to transfer because an institution might not hesitate to cancel their scholarship.
The NCAA’s transfer rules have been both under fire and under legal scrutiny for some time, particularly the requirement that Division I athletes in some high-profile sports such as men’s basketball and football sit out a year after transferring. There was some talk of changing this policy, though not all together removing it, The Associated Press reported.
The rule has been tried in court. A former punter for Northern Illinois University, Peter Deppe, sued the NCAA in 2016 after he tried to transfer but found himself forced to take the one-year break.
A federal appeals court recently ruled in his case that this was legal. The association had argued a rule change would “undermine amateur character of college athletics” -- a model the NCAA desperately tries to preserve -- and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed.
Solomon criticized the NCAA for this piece of its policy.
“The NCAA and its schools still can’t come up with public rationale as to why athletes in some sports can transfer and play immediately while athletes in other sports must sit out a year when they transfer,” Solomon said. “We know the answer … they often carry immense value for the athletic department and the university.”
In addition to the transfer rules, the NCAA recently changed its policy around redshirting, the practice of sitting out of play for a season but still receiving scholarship money. Now an athlete can still participate in four games without burning his or her red shirt, a popular move among both players and coaches.Editorial Tags: AthleticsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Northern Illinois University
The University of Virginia recently announced a $5 billion fund-raising campaign with an interesting twist: instead of lying low until the public phase begins, UVA is building excitement for a public campaign start date that is still over a year away.
UVA's campaign is part of a trend of college mega-campaigns that span years and aim to raise billions. The typical fund-raising formula begins with a silent phase, during which fund-raisers court promising donors. But as campaigns get longer and more ambitious, the silent phase is increasingly less silent.
“The average silent phase of a mega-campaign is approaching four years. Given that length, they are only sort of silent,” said Brian Gawor, vice president for fund-raising research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a consulting firm. “We’re going to see numerous updates from the institutions during both the silent and public phases as they work to keep attention and excitement up.”
Jeff Martin, practice manager at EAB Strategic Research, said that such long silent phases can sometimes take the wind out of public campaigns. Issuing public announcements earlier can help maintain the power of the brand for longer.
"If you wait four, five years to go public, then you lose out on a lot of the power of everything you put together when you do, so the brand you built, the marketing campaign you put in motion, that all starts with the public launch," Martin said. "The longer you delay that, the higher the opportunity cost."
In addition, early announcements like UVA's can help colleges reach more donors faster than they traditionally would with one-on-one gift officer visits, which are increasingly necessary. According to an analysis by EAB, at the median institution, 36 gifts each year make up 63 percent of total gift revenue.
'“I do know that institutions of higher ed are increasingly worried about a needle-thin gift pyramid at the top. They rely on fewer donors for more revenue every year," Martin said.
In the era of the mega-campaign, Martin also thinks there could be pressure on colleges to be constantly campaigning, leading to earlier public announcements.
"It seems odd when the institution isn’t in campaign, and that expectation may be accelerating things," he said.
According to a survey by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, 81 percent of fund-raisers said they are either in the middle of a campaign or about to enter one. UVA's campaign has been in its silent phase since July 2017 and will not officially become public until the fall of 2019. No one at UVA was available to comment on the campaign, but the campaign announcement noted that the university has raised $1.7 billion since its last major campaign ended in June 2013, all of which will count toward the new $5 billion goal.
Though proving beneficial, early public announcements carry a few risks. Once institutions go public with a concrete number, they lose the flexibility to quietly adjust it. Another issue is donor fatigue; announcing a campaign years in advance of its start date could make it more difficult to keep donors interested.
“I’ve heard of institutions worried about that,” Gawor said. “I think it’s impossible to predict what will excite people in a world where our attention has so many demands. So I tell institutions to communicate more than they have in the past. A steady, consistent message of opportunity and transformation is very important.”
In general, Martin doesn't think colleges are worried about such risks right now.
“At this current time I think there’s a lot of excitement and optimism. Fund-raising returns are at the highest they’ve ever been," Martin said. "We have seen growth for years and the outlook for the future at present looks promising, so I think it’s understandable that the risk of a campaign goal becoming unrealistic is less of a factor in institutional decision making at present.”Editorial Tags: Development/fund-raisingIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: University of Virginia