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ACE Survey Finds Increased Focus Among College Presidents on Campus Racial Climate

American Council on Education - 13 hours 31 min ago
Campus racial climate has become a larger priority for college and university presidents and their institutions, finds a new national online survey by ACE's Center for Policy Research and Strategy.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris to Receive ACE Lifetime Achievement Award

American Council on Education - 13 hours 31 min ago
Harris will receive the award at ACE2016’s Opening Plenary, scheduled for 5-6 p.m. (PST) on Sunday, March 13. During the same session, he also will keynote the Robert H. Atwell Plenary.

Michigan adopts new policy after controversy over students turned down for letters of recommendation

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 1 min ago

In September, a University of Michigan professor refused to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of a student hoping to study in Israel. The professor said he was abiding by the academic boycott of Israel and that his decision had nothing to do with the student's qualifications.

The professor's decision prompted a national debate: Do professors have an obligation to write such letters (on behalf of academically worthy students) or can politics influence the decision? While the spark for the debate was Israel, academic observers noted that the question could extend to other issues as well.

Would it be legitimate for a faculty member to refuse to write a letter to Liberty University because of its close ties to the Trump administration? Or to a university experiencing labor strife? Would professors be justified to refuse letters to students whose politics they opposed?

Michigan appointed a faculty panel to review the issues, and it came back with a recommendation -- now endorsed by the administration as well -- that politics should not be a factor in whether a professor writes a letter of recommendation.

"The panel’s recommendations center on a single core statement of principle, namely that as faculty members make judgments and act in their role as teachers, they must do so based solely on educational and professional reasons," says the faculty report. "The recommendation honors the dual rights and responsibilities of faculty members -- their fundamental rights to academic freedom as scholars and their concomitant responsibilities as teachers employed by an educational institution."

The report makes clear that the policy is not intended to say that faculty members can't make judgments that someone shouldn't be recommended for a program or hired as a graduate assistant. The key issue, the report says, is the rationale for the decision, and whether it is professional and not biased.

States the report, "We include 'professional reasons' to cover such everyday and legitimate actions as these: declining to hire a qualified and intellectually gifted student for lab work because they are chronically late or routinely lose valuable specimens; declining to write a letter of recommendation because one is too busy or does not know the student well enough or think they are qualified for the position. Sometimes it is appropriate to explain to students the grounds on which one declines to do such things, but sometimes it is not. There is plenty of room for discretion in exercising one’s educational and professional judgment. 'Discretion' here does not mean that anything goes; it means making a reasoned judgment on the basis of the range of relevant or appropriate reasons."

The report states that the panel intentionally wanted to focus on what is appropriate, rather than trying to define "political." The report stresses that faculty members are free to mention their political views in class, to be politically active in society and to exercise their rights generally. The area of concern is bias.

"Faculty may not reward students because they are politically like-minded," the report says. "Nor may faculty deprive students of equal opportunity and fair evaluation because they disagree politically. Nor may faculty help students pursue future educational and professional opportunities because they politically approve of the students’ aspirations, or refuse to help because they politically disapprove."

Many examples are given in the report -- and the examples illustrate points of fairness and do not touch on the politics of the Middle East.

"Whether the student grew up in your hometown, shares your taste in music and other such idiosyncratic matters are also out of bounds as reasons for treating a student differently," the report says.

The report acknowledges that there may be cases that can't be anticipated today that may not fall into the panel's framework, and suggests faculty committees be available to review such cases. But generally, the report says, political concerns should not be part of the equation.

The faculty report also specifies that graduate students -- when they interact with undergraduates -- should be governed by these principles.

John Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor in American culture and digital studies, is the professor whose refused to write the letter for the student seeking to study in Israel. He did not respond to an email seeking his comment on the new policy at Michigan.

Nor did the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. That group had issued a statement last year backing Cheney-Lippold and saying that "a letter of recommendation is not a right but is written at the discretion of faculty members. Professors, like any other individual, are entitled to hold firm positions on a matter of conscience and act in regard with those principles."

Hans-Joerg Tiede, the American Association of University Professors' associate secretary, noted that the AAUP, together with other college groups and student groups, in 1967 developed the Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students. The statement says that "student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards."

"The recommendation of the blue ribbon panel at the University of Michigan seems to be to extend that principle to other areas of faculty-student interaction," Tiede said. "The AAUP has not taken a specific position on extending the Statement on Rights and Freedoms in that manner. The association does recognize that principles of professional ethics, such as those that relate to the evaluation of students, place limits on academic freedom."

The Michigan report acknowledges that there are limits on academic freedom. While some faculty members the panel talked to "seem to imagine that any and all requirements to do things they do not want to do are invasions of academic freedom," the report says, such a view is incorrect.

One member of the Michigan panel dissented from its recommendations. Deborah Goldberg, the Margaret B. Davis Distinguished University Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Michigan, wrote that the vision in the report was "too absolute with very little room for reasoned faculty judgment."

"The university generally should expect that faculty will prioritize student autonomy in such cases," Goldberg writes. "Faculty nevertheless should have the right to refuse to promote student educational aspirations that go against their own ethical and moral commitments, as long as those commitments are based on well-reasoned judgments and are not discriminatory based on individual identity. Thus, it could be appropriate for a faculty member to refuse to sponsor a student research project that the faculty believes is unethical (but is still in accordance with university rules) or to write a letter of recommendation to an organization or institution the faculty member believes is unethical. Even in such cases, however, faculty still have responsibilities to the student. First, is the educational responsibility to help the student understand the reasoning and evidence that led to that stand of conscience and why it justifies their action in not supporting the student. Second, is to help the student find alternatives to mitigate any harm to their educational goals; for example, refer them to other potential research mentors, professional sponsors or letter writers. For the latter, writing a 'to whom it may concern' letter to be placed on file at the Career Center is also an option."

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Senate Democrat adds momentum to push for accountability for all colleges

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 1 min ago

For-profit colleges have for years been higher education's boogeyman for consumer advocates and many Democrats in Congress. And those lawmakers have repeatedly called for tougher standards in response to the sector's relatively high loan default rates and other poor outcomes.

But Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, suggested this month that his party hasn’t focused enough on failures happening at all colleges -- including public and nonprofit institutions. And he argued that a reauthorized Higher Education Act should add accountability for all colleges that receive federal aid.

“By committing to fix the outcomes crisis across the board for every student, we can frankly bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats,” he said at an event hosted by the think tank Third Way.

Higher education experts have spent years debating the merits and proper design of an accountability system that would encompass the entire higher ed system. But Murphy, who sits on the Senate education committee, adds a prominent voice on the Democratic side to calls for expanding standards for all colleges, a top priority for the committee’s GOP chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

“I’m fascinated by Murphy doing this and working separately from leadership,” said Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University who studies issues of college accountability.

Whether his proposal could help spur consensus on one of the major sticking points for a reauthorized Higher Education Act remains to be seen.

Murphy's comments acknowledge the shortcomings of current accountability system, which has produced few consequences for the poorest-performing colleges, and the reality that Alexander and Republicans likely won’t support accountability measures that solely impact for-profits. The sort of broad accountability system Murphy proposed might also face less opposition from colleges that would lose out with a single measure assessing outcomes.

Alexander in February proposed assessing every postsecondary education program based on student loan repayment rates. College lobby groups criticized that framework, saying it would disadvantage institutions that serve high proportions of low-income and minority students, including historically black colleges. They also argued that assessing individual programs could push students away from high-need fields like teaching, because repayment rates in those programs can be relatively low.

Senator Patty Murray, Alexander’s Democratic counterpart, has talked mostly about tougher oversight of for-profit colleges at the federal level. In a speech last month, Murray said a new HEA law should include tougher oversight for large, predatory college chains, citing examples like the collapsed Corinthian Colleges, ITT Tech and Education Corporation of America.

Murphy wants to bridge the partisan gap by creating a system that holds all colleges accountable but uses multiple student outcomes metrics, such as graduation rates, loan repayment, some measure of degree value -- such as earnings -- and enrollment of low-income students.

Failures of the Current System

Most groups with a voice in the college accountability debate acknowledge that the only existing metric that applies to all colleges, the so-called cohort default rate, is largely ineffective. Only a handful of colleges have lost access to federal student aid over the least 10 years as a result of the rule. And the Government Accountability Office has found it is easily gamed by some institutions that have poor outcomes for loan repayment.

Craig Lindwarm, vice president for congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said the cohort default rate “is completely ineffective at holding the worst-performing institutions accountable.”

Multiple legislative proposals with bipartisan support have sought to tackle college accountability. A bill introduced in 2017 by then senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire Democrat, would have cut off federal aid eligibility for colleges where at least 15 percent of students haven’t begun repaying their loans within three years. And Senator Christopher Coons, a Delaware Democrat, and Senator Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, also have introduced legislation that would pressure wealthier colleges to enroll more low-income students.

Neither Alexander nor Murphy has offered details about how their plans would work -- for example, what minimum loan repayment rate colleges would be expected to meet, or whether the plans would use a graduated scale or a single “bright-line” standard, where colleges either pass a threshold or fail entirely. Kelchen said it could be difficult to pass a plan that includes such a bright-line system.

While those details would have to be sorted out, observers who are plugged in to negotiations over a new higher ed law said there appears to be real momentum behind adding accountability for all colleges.

“It demonstrates that there’s widespread agreement the cohort default rate is ineffective and furthers the conversation about using repayment rates or other metrics,” said Emily Bouck West, the deputy executive director of Higher Learning Advocates and a former Senate staff member.

James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said that’s a positive direction for policy makers to be moving. But he said measuring outcomes isn’t a substitute for other traditional methods of monitoring colleges, like the gainful-employment rule.

“It’s exciting to have this new accountability conversation about outcomes,” he said. “But outcomes alone aren’t a substitute for proven methods of gatekeeping and monitoring. I think it would be a mistake to discard the protections we have now.”

APLU and other groups warned that an accountability system that includes multiple outcome measures could quickly become unwieldy. Lindwarm suggested it would be more appropriate to task college accreditors with monitoring results like graduation rates.

“It’s difficult to see how all of these pieces would fit together,” he said of the Murphy proposal.

Reaching agreement on accountability is just one challenge lawmakers on the Senate education committee will face in crafting a reauthorization of the law. They’ll also have to address to what extent legislation should improve college affordability, which Murray identified as a top priority last month. And issues like sexual misconduct on campus and free speech are expected to figure into the debates as well.

Some observers see a debate over new college standards as perhaps the biggest obstacle to passing an HEA law this year. Adding new rules would be a serious shift in federal policy, which would generate serious opposition from colleges with the poorest outcomes. But the kind of plan outlined by Murphy, which attempts to account for the characteristics of various student bodies, could potentially reduce resistance from colleges that serve high numbers of low-income and minority students.

In a letter sent to Alexander and Murray in February, Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents public historically black institutions, told the lawmakers that any accountability system should hold colleges accountable for both access and completion.

Any reasonable measure of accountability, he said, "should take into account how schools fare relative to their peer institutions, rather than simply the population at large and how many low-income or first-generation students those institutions serve."

Editorial Tags: Higher Ed Act ReauthorizationGraduation ratesImage Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, has added to calls for broad college accountability.Ad Keyword: Higher Education Act Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: Display Promo Box: 

Rhode Island bid to expand free college could offer states a different path forward

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 1 min ago

A bid by Rhode Island governor Gina M. Raimondo to expand her tiny state’s tuition-free community college plan offers a different take on free college.

Raimondo, a Democrat who just won re-election, has proposed two years of essentially tuition-free education that students can use either for community college or for the final two years of attending one of the state's two public four-year colleges, regardless of family income. She also wants to make adult students eligible for the community college benefit.

Raimondo first proposed what is now Rhode Island's Promise scholarship in 2017. As originally envisioned, it would have offered two years of free tuition to Rhode Island students at both the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and the state’s two public four-year institutions, Rhode Island College (RIC) and the University of Rhode Island.

Lawmakers ultimately limited its benefits to just CCRI students. Now Raimondo is back. She wants to expand the plan to again offer two years of tuition at a public four-year institution for all students. At the moment, she’s aiming to offer the scholarship to third- and fourth-year students at Rhode Island College, but she has said she’d eventually like to make the scholarship available to students at the University of Rhode Island as well.

Raimondo, who was re-elected to a second term in November, has until 2023 to keep that promise.

Her proposal stands in contrast to New York's free-college proposal, announced in 2017 by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who vowed to make tuition free at the City University of New York and State University of New York systems -- for both community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. He said families with annual incomes up to $125,000 would qualify. Cuomo has estimated that nearly 940,000 families will be eligible once the plan is fully phased in this fall.

But the so-called Excelsior Scholarship has been closely scrutinized. The program has already provided tens of thousands of students with free tuition, but critics have said its requirements are burdensome -- students must complete 30 credits per year, then live and work in New York for the same number of years after graduation as they received scholarships. If they don't comply, the grants turn into loans that must be paid back.

New York's academic requirements have also been a source of criticism, since students who don’t complete all 30 credits in a year could have some of their scholarship clawed back. They’ll still be eligible for the first semester of free tuition in the year in which they failed to complete 30 credits, but after that, they could receive a bill from their college or university, asking them to pay for their second semester.

By contrast, both the current Rhode Island legislation and the proposed expansion ask only for a "commitment" by students to stay in Rhode Island after receiving the scholarship. They don't set forth a time requirement and have no penalties imposed if a student moves out of state. Students at CCRI must take at least 18 credits per year and maintain a 2.5 grade point average.

The estimated cost to expand Rhode Island's scholarship to adults: about $2 million. With an "M."

To expand it to Rhode Island College's third- and fourth-year students: about $3.5 million next year, and $5 million once both classes are enrolled.

The estimated cost is so low because it’s designed as a “last-dollar” scholarship, to take effect after other forms of financial aid are exhausted. Research on the program has shown that most of the students who qualify are already eligible for federal Pell Grants, which cover virtually the full cost of both CCRI and RIC. Since the award is not means tested, the state would, ironically, pay out more per student for higher-income candidates, who don’t qualify for Pell Grants.

Art Nevins, Raimondo’s education policy adviser, acknowledged that a portion of the funding would benefit these students. But in the big picture, he said, the program “has made a huge difference, even though the reality is we’re just applying the federal funding from the Pell [Grant]” for many students to attend college when they ordinarily wouldn’t. “It shows you that making that promise and commitment that it is free, that it is attainable and affordable for them, does wonders,” he said.

Nevins said research shows that more jobs will require at least some college. “That’s where the needs of the work force are headed,” he said. While Raimondo doesn’t believe that everyone must attend college, the legislation supports her belief that “every Rhode Islander deserves a shot at getting a college degree,” he said.

He said Raimondo felt that it was “important to make sure that everybody in Rhode Island was a part of the program,” rather than excluding upper-income families. Nevins noted that many middle-class families are at pains to cover their children's college expenses. “We know these families are struggling with the cost of higher education, and I think a lot of families in the middle class and lower middle class -- and even folks that are struggling with poverty, for whatever reason -- may not qualify for the Pell.”

As it stands, even the expanded scholarship would have its limits. Students who begin as freshmen at RIC wouldn’t be eligible for the scholarship until junior year -- and would have to maintain a 2.5 GPA while attending full-time. Raimondo also wants to offer tuition aid to CCRI students over age 25 -- as it is, the program only benefits those who enrolled directly out of high school and who attend full-time. Yet state statistics show that 38 percent of college students statewide are already older than 25, and that 47 percent support themselves financially.

The group representing the state’s private colleges -- all eight of them -- has lined up in opposition to the proposal and doesn’t want to see it expanded. They see it as one of three trends -- along with President Trump's immigration policies and unfavorable regional demographics -- spelling their possible demise.

Daniel P. Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island, said the group didn’t take a formal position on the original legislation. But two years later, he said, conditions have worsened. Offering students what amounts to free public tuition represents “the third leg of a shaky stool” for the state's private institutions, particularly for tuition-driven ones, facing newly restrictive immigration regulations and the effects of fewer high school graduates -- especially in the Northeast. “It’s the perfect storm,” he said.

Of the eight institutions, some depend more than others on Rhode Islanders as students. At New England Institute of Technology, for instance, about half of students hail from Rhode Island. At Johnson & Wales, just one in four is a Rhode Islander. But those 1,237 new CCRI students “had to come from somewhere,” Egan said. He noted that in the first year of the scholarship, enrollment fell at RIC, the public four-year college, as it has for several years running.

Frank Sánchez, RIC’s president, confirmed that perhaps as many as 200 students who would likely have attended RIC instead attended CCRI on the Promise scholarship.

“We anticipated some impact on our enrollments,” he said, noting that similar dynamics played out among a few public four-year colleges in Tennessee when it implemented a statewide community college scholarship in 2015. At the University of Tennessee at Martin, for instance, undergraduate enrollment last spring fell 2.4 percent compared to the previous year.

RIC’s student body, about half of whom are Pell eligible, would likely see an expanded Promise scholarship as a “significant incentive” to staying long enough to graduate. The college, which charges about $9,500 annually in tuition, would essentially be free for years three and four if lawmakers fund Raimondo’s expansion. “That will help a lot of our students,” Sánchez said, noting RIC’s low four-year graduation rate. “We have some work to do there,” he admitted. According to RIC, its four-year graduation rate is about 20 percent. Its six-year graduation rate is 50 percent.

Meghan Hughes, CCRI’s president, said she’s “very pleased” with the scholarship’s results so far. In the program’s second year last fall, overall enrollment of first-time, full-time Rhode Island students who enrolled directly out of high school grew by 1,237, or by 113 percent over 2016, from about 1,100 to 2,337. About 61 percent of those new students came from low-income families, and 47 percent were students of color, according to statistics provided by the college. In all, CCRI enrolls more than 22,000 students on four campuses, making it the largest community college in New England. It is also the only community college in Rhode Island.

Sara Enright, vice president for student affairs and chief outcomes officer at CCRI, said the largest groups of students now applying for the Promise scholarship are those whose families bring in under $25,000 annually. The second-largest group is those who earn less than $50,000. “All of those are full Pell eligible,” she said.

Enright added, “Much of the power of having a Promise program is that you cut through the noise of financial aid in all of its complexity. You draw students in with the simplicity of messaging: ‘College is now affordable. There is a way for you to attend CCRI. You do not have to worry about whether you can afford it or not.’ That is a very different message than what high school students have heard historically.”

While no public policy solution is perfect, Enright said, “I would say this one is a pretty strong lever toward increasing access for precisely the individuals who lacked access to higher education historically.”

Sánchez, RIC’s president, said many middle-class families “get squeezed” between ineligibility for Pell Grants and their inability to afford rising college costs. In many cases, he said, students at RIC drop out after two years to earn enough to return a year or two later. Offering a third- and fourth-year scholarship, he said, would enable these students “to get out into the work force with far less debt.”

An expanded scholarship, he said, “would be a very good boost for us.”

Thomas Brock, director of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, said Raimondo's new proposal is unique for several reasons: for one, he said, it would benefit adult students. “Most free-college programs around the country are limited to traditional students,” he said, and bypass older adults. Not so in the Rhode Island proposal. “That’s novel and that’s important.”

He said Raimondo's bid to offer the scholarship in years three and four of a four-year college career “really matters,” because research suggests that students who attend four-year colleges have better odds of completion as well as better earnings and employment prospects.

Brock said he hopes the institutions receiving the scholarship students support them with counseling and other infrastructure improvements. “It’s not going to do anyone any good to get free college if they don’t get the classes they need,” he said.

He also said Raimondo should think seriously about how the state will evaluate the program's effectiveness. “There really should be an evaluation baked into this, to see whether those results are achieved.”

Nevins, the governor’s education adviser, said that while the program has meant “significant” increases in enrollment at CCRI so far, there’s no indication that these new students are siphoned off from private Rhode Island colleges. “The reality of it is that the price point for our private institutions is so different from our public institutions already,” he said. “The reality is that the vast, vast majority of their students come from out of state.”

Egan said the private colleges’ opposition comes less from a student-by-student competitive viewpoint than from a larger funding perspective. Raimondo plans to seek funding for the scholarship, he said, in part by cutting $2 million in aid elsewhere in the state education budget over four years -- funding that directly benefits students at the private colleges.

“We truly believe it’s really shortsighted to be picking winners and losers,” he said.

Brock said concerns that the scholarship will unfairly benefit students from upper-income families are "overblown," mostly because these students self-select into other colleges.

Raimondo has requested $7.9 million to expand the scholarship -- a figurative drop in the bucket in a $10 billion state budget, amounting to less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

“As I’ve talked to legislators, my sense is that there’s not a lot of debate on the policy,” said Sánchez. “It really is a question of affordability.”

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello this week didn't have much to say when queried by email about Raimondo's plan, replying with a single sentence: “We have very limited resources and adding any new programs is going to be very difficult to do this year.”

Lawmakers are expected to offer a projection of state revenue by early May, with a budget completed a month later.

So far, Nevins said, the issue is a winner for Raimondo, especially in a state so small that virtually everyone knows a young person who has benefited from the scholarship. “Every time the governor goes to an event, someone comes up to her” with a story, he said. “People have seen the impact already.”

Editorial Tags: College costs/pricesRhode IslandImage Source: Getty ImagesImage Caption: Rhode Island governor Gina M. Raimondo at the Rhode Island State House in Providence, R.I., on Oct. 12, 2017.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Community College of Rhode IslandRhode Island CollegeUniversity of Rhode IslandDisplay Promo Box: 

Academics fear global reach of new Singaporean legislation could result in censorship of international academic journals

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 1 min ago

New Singaporean legislation that is set to ban “false information” online hosted anywhere in the world poses a “severe threat” to academic freedom across the globe, scholars have warned.

Earlier this month, the country’s government introduced a draft of the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act. It would authorize any minister in Singapore to order “corrections” to online content hosted anywhere in the world if the minister deemed that a statement is “false or misleading” in whole or in part, when that statement is made available online to one or more users in Singapore and it is deemed to be in the public interest to issue such a correction.

The bill, which includes maximum penalties of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of 1 million Singapore dollars ($735,000), defines public interest broadly to include protecting “the security of Singapore or any part of Singapore,” protecting “friendly relations of Singapore with other countries” and preventing “a diminution of public confidence” in the government.

The bill also allows ministers to order internet service providers to block access to content in Singapore that the country deems false. Academics fear that international academic journals will issue corrections to prevent their content being blocked in Singapore and it could also make foreign scholars more reluctant to collaborate with Singaporeans.

The Ministry of Education said in a statement that the bill covers “verifiably false statements of fact” and “does not restrict opinion and will not affect academic research work. This is true regardless of what view the work presents.”

However, scholars fear that the bill could be used to censor academic papers across the world and university teaching materials both at institutions in Singapore and at foreign universities with links to the country, unless the wording of the legislation is amended to include a specific protection for academics.

More than 100 academics have signed a letter demanding that the education minister “ensures safeguards for scholarly research and its online outreach,” noting that “much academic work focuses on disputing apparently established ‘facts.’”

Several experts told Times Higher Education that the bill is likely to pass -- possibly as soon as the second week of May -- given that the ruling People’s Action Party has an overwhelming majority in parliament.

Linda Lim, a Singaporean emeritus professor at the University of Michigan, and one of the coordinators of the letter, said that the global reach of the bill “poses a severe threat to academic publishing worldwide, especially if the bill sets a precedent that is imitated in other countries seeking to curb ‘fake news.’”

She said that the bill as it stands would allow ministers to require international academic journals to remove online articles “even if that violates our own internal editorial policy and peer-review standards.”

“If we have the resources to mount an appeal to the courts, the penalties will be observed for the duration of the appeal. Few, if any, academic journals could survive this process, with the likely result that international academics, not just those from, in or writing about Singapore, will resort to practicing self-censorship,” she said.

Linda Lakhdhir, a legal adviser in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, who specializes in the criminalization of speech, said that the “academic freedom … risks are high, particularly for scholars working on or teaching in Singapore.”

Michael Buehler, chair of the Center of South East Asian Studies at SOAS University of London, said that the “tautological” definition of “online falsehood” used in the bill “gives the Singaporean government far-reaching powers to define what it considers ‘false’ or ‘misleading.’”

“Academics are concerned about this bill because the Singaporean government has a less than stellar record when it comes to protecting academic freedom,” he said.

Cherian George, director of the Center for Media and Communication Research at Hong Kong Baptist University, who helped coordinate the letter, said that the “best-case scenario we can realistically wish for is that the government will feel compelled to provide unambiguous assurances [to academics] during the parliamentary debate.”

“Such promises would be a poor substitute for amending the bill itself. But they could make it politically much harder for a government to abuse the law,” he said.

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New presidents or provosts: Baylor Blue Mountain Iowa Luna Marymount Murray Reading Saint Martin's Swansea UGa WGU Indiana

Inside Higher Ed - 16 hours 1 min ago
Editorial Tags: College administrationNew presidentsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Baylor UniversityIndiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisMarymount UniversityMurray State UniversitySaint Louis UniversityUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of IowaUniversity of Michigan-Ann ArborUniversity of North DakotaVirginia Commonwealth UniversityDisplay Promo Box: 

Chronicle of Higher Education: Joe Biden Was a Change Agent on Title IX. But His Presidential Campaign May Shine a Harsher Light on Him.

The former senator and vice president was the most prominent public official behind the federal government’s campaign against campus sexual assault.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: ‘They’re Not Even Making Sure They’re Correct’: Botched Transcripts Add Insult to Injury for Students Abandoned by Dream Center Closures

Some records of grades and coursework from the shuttered for-profit colleges are not on stamped or watermarked paper, and some bear the wrong GPAs.

U.S. Department of Education Blog | Ed.gov: Redesigning the Financial Aid Offer Letter at the University of Pennsylvania

Every year, incoming and current college students have to file a FAFSA in order to determine their potential and continued eligibility for federal financial aid.

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Iris Hormann, president of Language Abroad, EF Education First

The PIE News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 10:00
Iris Hormann has worked in a number of locations during her 20-year career with international education giant EF Education First. The PIE News caught up with her recently after she has returned to the company’s brand new headquarters in Switzerland’s largest city Zurich, where she is responsible for EF’s Languages Abroad division.

The PIE: How long have you been with EF?

Iris Hormann: I’m German and started in the Berlin sales office over 20 years ago. I started in the customer recruitment part of EF for the first three years. Since then I’ve worked with our Latin American, European and most recently Asian markets.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have gotten a global perspective with EF and I’m surrounded by an incredible team of colleagues, students, parents and partners. At EF, there are many colleagues who’ve been around for a long time, mixed with a lot of new young professionals to joining. It’s that mix that has always inspired me. The last three years I’ve been based in Hong Kong and in the fall I moved back to Switzerland where I am looking after EF’s International Language Campus sales globally.

I’m really an EF homegrown bean – I’m very passionate about exploring the world. I’ve always been curious and love learning new things, embracing new functions and growing as a person and EF has really enabled me to do that.

The PIE: What does that role entail exactly?

IH: We have own international language campuses – 52 language schools – where we teach the local language and I look after the sales globally to these language schools. So I work for our direct offices but I also work with the agent network.

It continues to be a steady growth and I’m enjoying it a lot.

The PIE: I saw that EF recently moved into a new headquarters in Zurich.

IH: EF has been in Switzerland for over 40 years so we’ve had a long presence here and we just moved into our new Zurich flagship office.

It’s the former Swiss stock exchange building which is really a historical landmark building. Until a few years ago there was still active trading going on. So it has a lot of cultural heritage and we have been rebuilding and reconstructing it for the last two years and then moved in January. We’re all so proud to be here.

And the reason for that is it’s a building that was re-designed by EF to be really open spaced and a little bit like our schools – very collaborative.

It’s on several floors with a lot of open space with different meeting points throughout the building. So it’s not your very traditional office where you only sit at a desk. The design encourages so much open discussion and an exchange of ideas. It connects everyone and invites everyone to discuss.

We have over 700 people with 48 different nationalities working here. Walking around you get a glimpse of all of these languages that are spoken – we are really living what we offer.

I’m a mother of four. My kids are a little bit too old now, but we now have our company own daycare centre and children’s playground. It is very convenient and helps colleagues to make their family lives a little bit easier.

The PIE: What are EF’s biggest markets?

“I always try to encourage parents to start early”

IH: EF is a global company with a global presence in over 114 countries around the globe. I would say the most significant growth that we see right now is in the European and Middle East region.

In terms of specific markets, three of our biggest markets are France, Germany and the US.

The biggest demand without question is still for the US and UK. And yet despite also seeing increased demand for, which I think the industry is talking about, Canada and Australia, the US and the UK regions remain the most important for us. And those are the ones where we’re also looking in to expanding our offer further. That hasn’t really changed.

The PIE: When do you mean the UK and the US are your most important markets, do you mean in sending students or students coming in?

IH: [For] the US, both ways, sending abroad but also coming to the US, so when I was referring to UK and US it was for incoming students going to our schools. And in regards to the US – it’s also one of our biggest sending markets.

The PIE: Who do you consider your biggest competitors?

IH: There are many good companies out there. On competitors I tend to be very customer centric so I don’t think so much about the competition. Of course it’s out there, but I think more about our students.

A metaphor for staying ahead is our brand new EF pro cycling team that is currently racing to international success around the world.

In many ways it also brings this global aspect and connection and also deals with the team speaking different languages and raising a lot of awareness. Something that also connects us globally and brings people together through another means languages but also sports. I think that’s always exciting.

The PIE: Is language teaching EF’s only offer?

IH: My responsibility is languages abroad, but we have three main divisions. They are EF Languages and Schools where we teach languages abroad, but we also teach language locally. For example, in China, Indonesia, Russia, and other markets.

The second division is EF Cultural Exchange where we have programs like au pair and high school exchange programs.

And then the third division is called EF Educational Travel which is organised cultural tours.

We are also associated with Hult International Business School, which has campuses in US, UK, Dubai and Shanghai. It is named after our founder Bertil Hult.

EF Academy, which is our boarding school segment, is seeing similar trends that we see with the abroad language business. We are excited about opening a new boarding school in Pasadena in California as we’re seeing increasing demand for the West Coast of the USA – that’s a campus that we will open in fall 2020.

The PIE: And in terms of teaching languages locally and teaching languages abroad – which do students prefer?

“Students are really at the forefront of all of our research”

IH: It really depends on their needs, their time, their budget. I think you need offers for both.

Being immersed in a language 24 hours a day of course is much more than just a language course – you have the possibility to interact with locals, you live the language 24 hours a day but equally when you enter our local English language schools we really encourage an English speaking environment. We try to mirror as much as possible how it is being abroad but staying within your own city. Ideally I would always say you should try to experience both.

I always try to encourage parents to start early, start investing into learning languages early, whatever you can do interacting with foreigners, exposing yourself to that other language.

Start trying to expose your children to the language as early as possible with whatever means that are available. All of it together will have an impact on your learning journey.

We don’t only offer English however. Asia, for example, is an area of the world where we not only recruit students but we also send students.

EF has language campuses in China, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo, and as of last year also in Seoul. We’re seeing a lot of demand for a variety of languages and Seoul really began as a project linked to our engagement with the Olympics. EF was the Official Education Service Sponsor of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and now we have now opened a permanent Korean language school in Seoul which is really exciting.

It reminded us of the demand not only to learn English but we’re offering 11 different languages. In addition to Korean and all the Asian languages we already had, due to popular demand we just added two more languages.

One of which is Portuguese and we opened a school in Lisbon in November. The other is Arabic, and [we opened] a school in Dubai. They are both immensely popular.

The PIE: How many students come through agents?

IH: We work both directly and indirectly with agents, but historically we started as a direct business and the majority of our customers come from the direct channel. We have always had excellent relationship with agents, so in all of the countries where we operate we have an agent network as well.

What we see in our schools by having such a global presence is that we have very diverse classrooms. By always having recruited directly and also through the agent network [has created] a really diverse international student body in the school. I think that is that is really what is most important for our students.

The PIE: How is EF being innovative in its language teaching?

IH: We continue to invest in technology. We do a lot of research that really helps us anticipate technological trends. We have an edtech department that creates apps and digital services that help us transform the way we teach.

Right now it’s all about personalisation. We use data that we collect to improve and personalise the learning experience of the customers. But also use it to help teachers personalise the teaching journey for their students.

We think that artificial intelligence will transform education in the same way that it’s transforming other sectors. We don’t think it will replace the teacher but instead really equip them with the resources that they need to serve the students even better.

Ultimately again with all of this technological investment, not to forget the student. They are really at the forefront of all of our research – what is best for them in terms of learning the languages, and what is best for our teachers in terms of teaching it and making it a very personal journey.

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Employment rate of recent EU grads at 82%

The PIE News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:53

The employment rate of recent graduates in the EU rose from 76% in 2014 to 82% in 2017, a report from the European Commission has revealed.

An analysis by global training company theknowledgeacademy.com of the ‘Education & Training Monitor 2018’ report found Malta had the highest employment rate of recent graduates in Europe at 94.5%, followed by Germany (91%) and the Netherlands (90%).

“It is encouraging for countries with lower rates”

Slightly behind but with impressive rates still, was the Czech Republic (89.9%), Austria (89%), Luxembourg (88%) and Sweden with 88%.

In the UK, recent graduates were revealed to have an employment rate of 86.6% – over 4% higher than the European average Member States are striving for.

Thereafter, the employment rate of recent graduates across Europe began to decline ever slightly.

In Latvia, we reach a rate of 78%, while Bulgaria, Finland and Romania (76%) follow.

The three countries with the lowest employment rate of recent graduates were found to be Croatia (66%), Italy (55%) and Greece with an employment rate of just 52%.

Source: The European Commission

Speaking about the findings, spokesperson for theknowledgeacademy.com Joseph Scott said the Member States are “not worlds away from achieving the average employment rate” they are striving for.

“Almost half the countries included in our table meet the grade whilst a few even exceed it…it is encouraging for countries with lower rates, such as Greece, Italy and Croatia, who will hopefully utilise the comparable data to improve circumstances for their graduates.

“After all, investing in education across Europe will benefit us all,” he added.

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Hong Kong: Int’l school board in equality battle

The PIE News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:32

The German-Swiss International School in Hong Kong has reneged on plans to suspend voting rights of parents who sit on its board but do not speak German.

The school’s board consists of 13 elected directors from the German Swiss International School Association (which is mainly parents) and 6 non-voting members from the German and Swiss consulates in the city-state.

“It is critical to have a board that is as diverse as the institution”

This year, three Chinese parents who do not speak or write fluent German were elected, but instead of the usual formalities were given the title “pending director”.

The plan was revealed by the South China Morning Post, an independent newspaper in the city. However, soon after the paper contacted the school, it released a statement declaring the language stipulation “outdated”.

Board chairman Roland Mueksch reportedly added the parents were given the “pending” title while the school consulted legal teams.

“My belief is that it is critical to have a board that is as diverse as the institution and the members it seeks to lead and represent. Clearly, articles such as this do not serve the interests of our school community and, most importantly, our children, at this point,” he concluded.

It is unclear if the school would have broken the law, as the Equal Opportunities Commission confirmed language discrimination is not directly outlawed.

“We would have to look at each situation case by case to see if there’s any discrimination because the use of language is not included under the ordinance; however, language used by people is often associated with their race, treatment based on language may discriminate against certain racial groups or may amount to racial harassment,” the Commission said in a statement.

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ACE Names West Virginia Resident Tara Turley 2016 Student of the Year

American Council on Education - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 02:30
​Tara Turley, a single mother and electrician who employed her skills to assist her flood-ravaged West Virginia community, is ACE’s 2016 Student of the Year.

Louis Soares to Oversee ACE’s Strategic Alliances, Advancement Initiatives

American Council on Education - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 02:30
​Louis Soares, a nationally recognized expert in higher education policy and innovation, is assuming a new role at ACE overseeing organizational strategy and advancement initiatives.

OIEG acquires Oxford Int’l College

The PIE News - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 01:50

Oxford International Education Group has acquired UK independent sixth-form college Oxford International College for an undisclosed sum.

OIC joins independent co-educational school d’Overbroeck’s and Oxford Sixth Form College to become the third college owned by OIEG in Oxford.

The addition of OIC will enable OIEG to offer parents and students – both domestically and internationally – a wider choice of options to suit their individual needs, explained Chris Spanoudakis, chairman of Oxford International.

“We aim to export the excellence of our established UK brands to deliver in-country education”

“Our key mission over the past few years has been to acquire schools and colleges that sponsor and promote educational excellence whilst matching our cultural ethos of always putting the student first,” he said.

“OIC is justly renowned for its highly academic and rigorous approach…[and it] allows us to expand the choices we offer and will be a much-valued addition to our family of schools based in the UK and North America.”

Group CEO Lil Bremermann-Richard added that the acquisition is one of a number the group plans to make in the independent sector in the UK.

“At the same time, we are looking at expansion overseas. We aim to export the excellence of our established UK brands to deliver in-country education. OIC, with its superb track record and global reputation, is ideally suited to help us realise that goal,” Bremermann-Richard said.

The transaction allows OIC to access increased support from OIEG’s global marketing and recruitment operations and its planned investment in new facilities and services.

Founder of OIC Mario Peters said he was delighted that the College would be joining the Oxford International family.

“We have been looking for a partner to share our vision and ambition and we have found an excellent one in Oxford International.

“The college has established an enviable global reputation in a relatively short space of time and now my colleagues and I can look forward with confidence to the next stage of our development,” he added.

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Elsevier agrees to first read-and-publish deal

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 00:00

In a move that could signal the beginning of a significant shift for its business model, publisher Elsevier has agreed to its first “read-and-publish” deal with a national consortium of universities and research institutions in Norway.

Rather than paying separately to access content behind paywalls and make selected individual articles immediately available to the public, the Norwegian consortium has signed a deal that rolls the two costs into one.

This new kind of “big deal” is a big deal because there are a growing number of librarians and negotiators who believe this model will reduce subscription costs while boosting open-access publications. Eventually, some believe, the model could eliminate paywalls altogether.

So-called read-and-publish deals are gaining traction but are still highly unusual. Many publishers have been slow to embrace the model, fearing the long-term impact it may have on their income. That said, Springer Nature, Wiley and Taylor and Francis have all struck a handful of such deals in recent years.

By failing to reach read-and-publish agreements, Elsevier lost business. The University of California system recently canceled its Elsevier subscription for this reason. National consortia in Germany, Hungary and Sweden also canceled their Elsevier subscriptions.

Norway, too, was ready to walk away. The consortium declared in a press release just last month that they were canceling their deal, stating that Elsevier’s offer was “far from fulfilling the requirements of Norway for open access.” At the time, Elsevier published a statement saying that Norway was “essentially asking to receive two services for the price of one.”

That the consortium and Elsevier managed to reach a deal is, therefore, a breakthrough. But whether the arrangement is a good model for other universities is less clear.

In a press release on Tuesday, representatives from the Norwegian consortium said they were pleased with their agreement. But there are few details in the press release about the terms of this agreement.

The deal is framed as a two-year pilot, which will give seven universities and 39 research institutions access to Elsevier journals as well as cover the open-access publishing costs of articles published by researchers employed by the universities when their pieces are published in an Elsevier journal. Reporting by The Financial Times suggested the deal would cost 9 million euros ($10.1 million), an increase of 3 percent over the consortium’s previous agreement, which did not include open-access publishing costs. In essence, the deal is a step toward paying to publish research, rather than paying to read it.

A key difference between this deal and the failed read-and-publish deals with Elsevier is that the Norwegian consortium appears to have been willing to pay more than its current subscription to cover the cost of open-access publishing. Other consortia have refused to settle on deals that did not bring down costs significantly, said Roger Schonfeld, director of Ithaka S+R’s libraries, scholarly communication and museums program. He suggests that perhaps Elsevier may have softened its stance on read-and-publish deals in response to recent high-profile cancellations.

A Norwegian open-access website called Openaccess.no suggests that the deal will cover open-access publishing costs of up to 90 percent of articles published in Elsevier journals by members of the consortium. Around 400 journals owned by academic associations, as well as third-party titles Cell Press and Lancet, are not part of the agreement. The site reports, however, that these journals will be asked to participate in the pilot.

The deal may please those focused on the philosophy of open access, but not those seeking to cut the costs libraries face to provide journal access.

Whether the deal is a good one or not “depends on your perspective,” said Jon Tennant, an open-access advocate. “The Norwegian negotiation team have a tough problem to solve, between being progressive or disruptive and balancing the needs of the researchers they represent. From that view, this is a success -- a small amount of progress.”

Tennant feels the deal is “one step forward, two steps back.” He thinks the negotiators should have walked away from a deal rather than settling on one that represents an increase over current subscription costs.

“It is absolutely unclear what these funds are being spent on,” he said. “It seems like the amount being charged is ‘this is how much revenue we get from you now, and this is how much OA you can get whilst sustaining that revenue,’ and completely divorced from the true costs of publishing within an effective, modern communication system.”

“Norway is paying €9 million for the prestige of publishing within Elsevier,” said Tennant. “It’s nothing to do with the cost of publishing, or the inherent value of the research. It shows that the power dynamics in this space are all still backwards.”

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University of South Carolina criticized for presidential finalists who are all male

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 00:00

When the University of South Carolina last week revealed the names of the four finalists vying to be its next president, students and faculty immediately saw that something was off: all four are men.

That concern grew even louder on Monday, when student activists met with university officials and learned that the finalists had been chosen from a larger list of 11 semifinalists -- all of whom are men as well, according to students. The university did not respond to a request to confirm the statement.

“We find it very difficult to believe that there are no qualified female candidates for this position,” said Megan Rigabar, a South Carolina senior who has helped lead a growing protest against the process. “USC didn’t find them -- and we don’t think they were looking hard enough.”

In response, students and faculty have signed on to an open letter protesting the process, if not the finalists themselves.

In a statement, university spokesman Wes Hickman said the search committee “made a commitment to pursuing a diverse pool of candidates and took proactive steps to make that happen.”

Though just two of the 11 members of the search committee are women, according to South Carolina’s presidential search website, Hickman said the firm Parker Executive Search “deployed an all-female and diverse recruitment team to assist the effort.” The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Hickman said the committee saw a pool of more than 80 candidates who were "diverse in terms of both underrepresented minorities and gender. These four finalists are the leaders that the search committee believes are best qualified and prepared to serve as our 29th president. While the pool did not result in a female finalist, each of these candidates has expressed a strong commitment to diversity," he said.

Melissa Trotta, associate managing principal of the Washington-based firm AGB Search, said most presidential candidate pools include “greater gender balance” than this one. “A more diverse finalist pool requires that there is greater diversity in the semifinalist group selected for first-round interviews. Search firms will typically be attuned to ensuring diversity in its various forms, starting with the semifinalist candidates invited for interviews.”

The university’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the position Friday. South Carolina has never had a female president. In December, Joan Gabel, its first female provost, was named president of the University of Minnesota -- where she'll be that institution's first female leader.

The four South Carolina finalists are: John S. Applegate, executive vice president for university academic affairs in the Indiana University system; Robert L. Caslen Jr., senior counsel to the president and interim chief financial officer at the University of Central Florida and former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; William F. Tate, dean of the graduate school, vice provost for graduate education at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Educational Research Association; and Joseph T. Walsh Jr., vice president for research at Northwestern University in Chicago.

In its listing, South Carolina says the new president should possess a “strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,” among other qualities.

Higher Ed Mostly Female

The all-male finalists’ pool stands in contrast not just to the demographics of the University of South Carolina, where 54 percent of students are female, according to federal data -- but to higher education in general.

Longitudinal data from the U.S. Department of Education show that the number of women in undergraduate institutions surpassed men in the 1980s and has only risen since then. In 2018, women were projected to represent 56.2 percent of undergraduates.

In its most recent survey, the American Council on Education found that the percentage of bachelor’s colleges led by female presidents rose from 23 percent to 28 percent between 2006 and 2016. Nearly 33 percent of public bachelor’s colleges were led by a woman, it found; at private nonprofit institutions the figure was just over 26 percent.

At doctorate-granting institutions like South Carolina, the figures were slightly lower: nearly 22 percent overall had a female president, with 23 percent at public institutions and 20 percent at private institutions.

Kim Churches, CEO of the American Association of University Women, said the fact that not a single woman was even a semifinalist for the South Carolina role is “quite frankly, astonishing. The University of South Carolina is a public institution, and as such, receives federal and state funding. Unequivocally, there are lots of qualified women for top positions in academe, and it is incumbent upon search committees to be proactive in identifying and recruiting them. Given the pool the search committee presented, it appears like an inclusive process to bring diversified candidates didn’t happen.”

Churches said the exclusion of women in this case “clearly suggests to me that the legacy of discrimination and bias is alive and well.”

The search committee was led by Hubert F. Mobley, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and 1978 alumnus of the School of Pharmacy. He did not respond to a request for comment.

South Carolina’s release of the finalists' list led students, faculty and staff this week to sign the open letter demanding that the finalists more closely match the university's diversity, The State reported. By Tuesday, the group had grown to encompass 32 student organizations and more than 70 faculty and staff, students said.

In an interview, Rigabar, the student who has helped lead opposition to the process, said she and other students have asked the board to release demographic details on all 80 candidates. The search “is a symptom of a broader issue of systemic gender inequality” at the university, she said.

A classmate, Jordan Wayburn, said the search process has been “incredibly opaque,” with little access to information about the candidates.

Students on Tuesday said they are trying to garner enough support to persuade trustees to postpone Friday's vote and consider a more diverse group of finalists. While Tate, one of the four finalists, is African American, Rigabar said, “Gender diversity, it seems, has been ignored.”

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Chapman University removes posters of 'The Birth of a Nation'

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 00:00

The Birth of a Nation, released in 1915, is a film full of racist images. White people, many in blackface, portray (and denigrate) black people as dangerous and unintelligent. The Ku Klux Klan is glorified. The film was wildly popular with white audiences who cared nothing about its racism.

The film has also been studied for years, not only for its reflection of certain ideas at the time, but for its use of film techniques such as fade-outs that were unheard-of until the film but became standard. Many film experts have called the film a technically brilliant work of horrifically bigoted ideas. The American Film Institute includes the film among the "100 greatest American movies of all time."

But should it hold a place of honor in a film school?

In March, Arri Caviness, a film student at Chapman University, gathered a group of fellow students and posed for a Facebook photo around a poster from the film (above). Two posters from the film were up on walls in the Chapman film school, along with other historic movie posters.

"Why does Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, The Hollywood Reporter's 6th best U.S. film school, still condone the celebration of white supremacy?" Caviness's Facebook post asked.

Other students got involved and organized a rally in which they talked about the impact of walking by posters that celebrate a notoriously racist work of art.

Initially, President Daniele Struppa refused to take the posters down.

In an essay in the student newspaper, Struppa wrote that the film was significant, even if it was racist.

"Censorship, including removing a poster, is always hideous, even when done with the best intentions. We must resist the temptation to whitewash our past and to edulcorate reality. Reality is harsh, unpleasant and ugly -- and what we have done in the past is often awful and shameful. But this is no reason to hide it," he wrote.

"The truth is that our great country has a checkered history, just like every other country. And on our country is the stain of slavery. It is a stain that cannot be washed away and one we will always have to contend with. The best way to contend with it is not to remove anything that reminds us of the horror but instead confront it with open eyes."

As students continued to protest, however, he agreed to a film school faculty vote on the matter. When professors backed the removal of the posters this week, Struppa immediately ordered them taken down.

The president then released a statement praising the faculty vote.

"While I know this has been a difficult decision and there was disappointment that I did not just act on my own and have the poster removed, I do hope that faculty and students appreciate the importance of how this decision was made. I felt strongly that it could not be imposed by me as an act of authority, but rather requested by the faculty who best understand the impact of the decision on their school and on the students’ educational experience. On the basis of the many conversations I had with my colleagues, I know their decision is predicated on their love for their students and their desire to eliminate anything that could be an obstacle to their learning."

A Chapman spokesman said that the film would continue to be taught.

A Film With a Terrible Influence

Thom Andersen, a film professor at the California Institute of the Arts, said in an interview that he would never have had the posters up in the first place.

"It's inconceivable to me that anyone would think that was the right thing to do," he said. "That's not talking about the film. That's honoring the film."

Andersen said that there is no question about the film's significance.

"It was the first blockbuster film, it was the first long film. It was in a way responsible for the success of movies in the United States," he said.

But Andersen added, "I don't think there is a film that has had such a negative impact on our society. As a film promoting the Ku Klux Klan, it helped lead to a rebirth of the Klan, not only in the South, but in the Midwest and Southern California. And by perpetuating a false sense of history about Reconstruction, the film helped lead to Jim Crow laws, to the disenfranchisement of black people, to lynchings." The film alone didn't do all of those things, he said, "but it made a large contribution."

Andersen said he would never want a professor prevented from teaching the film if he or she wanted to do so. But he said that there may be better ways to cover that period.

When he has taught film history, he has focused for that period on Within Our Gates, a 1920 film that depicted (accurately) the racism and violence faced by black people. The film was produced by Oscar Micheaux, seen as the first major black film producer in the United States. Within Our Gates is in many ways a historically accurate answer to The Birth of a Nation, Andersen said. (One of the students who responded on social media to the original calls for taking down the posters wrote, "Do they have a poster for an Oscar Micheaux film as well? If the defense is that this is historical (which is always going to have some racism in it in a historically racist society) then one would think it responsible to celebrate such an undercelebrated and equally important African American filmmaker from our history.")

While there are "reasons why one might choose to teach" The Birth of a Nation, Andersen said he rejected the idea that history requires it. "To me the history of cinema is rich enough that there are no films that have to be taught," he said.

On Monday, after the posters were removed, Caviness posted to Facebook another shot of the poster advertising The Birth of a Nation. The caption by Caviness: "It's gone."

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DePaul University professor criticized for nature of his pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian views

Inside Higher Ed - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 00:00

In a number of academic freedom disputes in recent years, the professors whose comments have been subject to scrutiny have been harshly critical of Israel's government, generally over its treatment of Palestinians.

Many colleges have stood by faculty members who have criticized Israel, but some have not. Consider the case of Steven Salaita, who thought he had been hired by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but never was able to take his position. In the case of Salaita and others, critics of these academics have said that they do not object to criticism of Israeli policies, but to tones that they say cross a line.

Now a DePaul University professor is facing criticism for the tone of his writings on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this case, students demanding that he apologize and go to sensitivity training are arguing that his pro-Israel writings demean Palestinians in ways that are bigoted.

The center of the new debate is Jason D. Hill, a tenured professor of philosophy. His views are not new, but the demands from students that he apologize have taken off since he published an article this month in The Federalist defending the right of Israel -- as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed -- to annex large portions of the West Bank.

Of the Six-Day War, Hill writes, "Under a different set of political sensibilities, the Palestinian people would have been militarily removed from the area because, morally speaking, after the 1967 war, they never belonged there. The proper response from Israel should have been to immediately annex the land and make the people there the responsibility of their original political homeland: Jordan. There can be no such thing as legitimate 'Palestinian Territory' in a geographic region legally seized in a defensive war instigated by a foreign aggressor. The purpose of war is always to vanquish the enemy. The losers of the war cannot make demands on the victors that the victors themselves would not have been put in the position of meeting had the adversary or enemy not forced the victors into making it in the first place."

In discussing the Palestinians, Hill writes, "Not all cultures are indeed equal. Some are abysmally inferior and regressive based on their comprehensive philosophy and fundamental principles -- or lack thereof -- that guide or fail to protect the inalienable rights of their citizens. Given the voting patterns of Palestinians -- towards Islamicism and terrorist organizations for the most part -- that openly advocate and work for Israeli and Jewish destruction and annihilation, a strong argument can and ought to be made to strip Palestinians of their right to vote -- period."

A student petition organized as that column was shared on campus says in part, "We, the students of DePaul University call upon the administration to censure Professor Hill for his heinous statements against marginalized communities. His comments create unsafe and uncomfortable spaces for everyone, especially Palestinian and Muslim students who now all refuse to enroll in a class that is taught by Professor Hill. We are not only seeking censure, but for Professor Hill to commit to racial sensitivity training and to release a public apology for his immoral conduct."

The petition also notes that DePaul "claims to uphold the Vincentian values of social justice, service and community" and suggests that Hill's actions run counter to those values. DePaul cited those values in 2007 when it rejected the tenure bid of Norman G. Finkelstein, who had the backing of the political science department where he taught, but whose promotion was blocked by the president in part related to the tone of his anti-Israeli writings. The letter rejecting Finkelstein said in part, "In the opinion of those opposing tenure, your unprofessional personal attacks divert the conversation away from consideration of ideas, and polarize and simplify conversations that deserve layered and subtle consideration. As such, they believe your work not only shifts toward advocacy and away from scholarship, but also fails to meet the most basic standards governing scholarship discourse within the academic community."

In response to questions about the petition, DePaul released a statement that did not criticize Hill but also distanced the university from his positions.

"It should first be noted that Professor Hill’s statements do not reflect the views of DePaul University, but are his personal views on the subject," said the statement. "DePaul recognizes academic freedom must be an integral part of an intellectual institution. This freedom belongs not only to faculty, but students and all other members of the DePaul community. Protecting academic freedom requires that we maintain an environment where the members of our university community articulate, challenge and defend their ideas; however, that does not eliminate the need for empathy and concern."

Via email, Hill said that the university has not talked to him about his statements. He said he would not apologize as students have asked.

"I think we live in an age where there is an abysmal lack of intellectual and moral leadership," Hill said. "I take myself to be such a leader, and I have no intentions of issuing any apologies. I've spoken what I believe to be the truth, and I stand firm in what I believe in."

Hill added that he believed that the students were trying to violate his academic freedom.

"The student petition violates my academic freedom because it calls for the university to use what some regard as offensive speech as a criterion for shutting down free speech. The students are asking that their subjective criterion for offensiveness be treated as objective and obvious and transparent criterion for what constitutes bigotry," he said. "Free speech includes the right to offend."

John K. Wilson, an independent scholar who writes about academic freedom on "Academe," the blog of the American Association of University Professors, on Tuesday published a piece there questioning the idea that Hill is a hero for academic freedom.

Wilson noted a piece by Hill in The Hill in which he suggested colleges and universities need to be rebuilt with conservative values because of what Hill sees as the problematic views of most faculty members today.

"Ordinarily, the best way to counter an intellectual adversary is through a contest of rational faculties," Hill wrote. "The person with reality on his or her side, with the best relevant facts and strongest arguments, usually wins. But today’s scholars in humanities and social sciences increasingly declare that modern argumentation is a white, Western form of domination and linguistic imperialism that silences racial and ethnic minorities and devalues their 'lived experiences.' One cannot argue with such people. The only alternative is to shut them down."

Wilson contrasted Hill's call to "shut them down" with the calls by Hill's student critics for him to apologize (as opposed to demanding that he be fired).

"It’s Hill, and not his critics, who demands censorship of ideological enemies. He wants existing universities destroyed and rebuilt according to his conservative views, and literally says about left-wing professors, 'shut them down,'" Wilson wrote. "At a time when leftist students are regularly denounced as oppressive totalitarian censors, it’s important to pay attention to a case like this where a professor has expressed deeply offensive and stupid ideas, and yet the left-wing students are not responding with calls for censorship, but with more speech. By contrast, the conservative professor is the one who advocates repression of academic freedom on a massive scale."

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