Quick Takes | Higher education round-up: April 13


A weekly roundup of news from around the Ivy League and the higher-education community




Yale University

Last year’s tailgate victim sues driver, U-Haul

One of the victims of last year’s U-Haul crash at the Harvard-Yale tailgate is suing both the U-Haul Company of Connecticut and the Yale junior who drove the truck.

The crash last year occurred when Brendan Ross, the student driver, swerved and accelerated into a lot on Yale’s campus in November, killing one and injuring two others. Ross passed a field sobriety test at the time.

The suit was brought last week by Sarah Short, one of the victims and a Yale School of Management student, who claimed she received “severe painful and obvious injuries,” and is accusing both the company and Ross of negligence, asking for at least $15,000.

Harvard University

Faust nominated to Staples Board of Directors

Office supply chain Staples nominated Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust to serve on its Board of Directors this week, a position that Faust expressed interest in. Company shareholders will vote on the nomination on June 4.

“After five years as president I feel comfortable making a commitment to serving on another board where I can gain additional insight that might be beneficial to my role at Harvard,” Faust, who received her Ph.D. from Penn in 1975, said in a statement.

Some have criticized the move as improprietous for a sitting University president, who should not appear to have any potential conflicts of interest.

Columbia University

Faculty, students debate publishing course evaluation

Columbia’s University Senate is debating a proposal recommending that student course evaluations be published publicaly, the Columbia Daily Spectator reported Thursday, drawing a strong response from faculty opposed to the idea.

Currently, course evaluations are only read by the professor, the department chair and other relevant faculty. Many Columbia students use the unofficial student-run review website, CULPA, culpa.info, whose existence has long been threatened by administrators.

Opponents contend that publishing evaluations would “create an atmosphere of pandering, surveillance,” according to professor Bette Gordon. Supporters countered that it would allow students to maximize their undergraduate education.

The body will vote on the proposal on April 27.

Rutgers University

Former Penn provost named president

Rutgers University named former Penn Provost and Thomas Jefferson University President Robert Barchi as its new president, the school announced Wednesday. He will replace Richard McCormick, who will end his 10-year tenure as president this September.

The renowned neuroscientist, who began his career at Penn in 1972, was named provost here in 1999.

Barchi will take over at a pivotal time for the 58,000-student public university, as it merges its Camden campus into Rowan University. Bloomberg reported that he will add new medical and dental schools to Rutgers, using his background at Jefferson, a health sciences university in Center City.

University of Pittsburgh

Ongoing bomb threats disrupt academic life

The University of Pittsburgh has received more than 50 bomb threats in that past two months, and 12 this past Monday alone, disrupting classes and drawing national media attention.

Police have yet to find any explosives, although the volume of threats prompted the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to assist campus police in investigating their source.

The school has instituted bag checks in all of its buildings. Although the university is not ending the semester early, normal attendance policies have been abandoned as some students have moved off campus to mitigate the annoyance of constant evacuations.

The school is offering $50,000 for information leading to an arrest.

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