Higher education round-up: Sept. 6

A weekly roundup of news from around higher education.

· September 5, 2013, 7:56 pm   ·  Updated September 5, 2013, 9:30 pm

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Michigan State University

Professor who criticized Republicans reassigned

William Penn, a Michigan State professor, has been stripped of his teaching duties following a classroom tirade last week against Republicans that was recorded on video.

A video posted by Campus Reform, a conservative watchdog group, showed Penn criticizing Republicans by saying that they “don’t want to pay taxes because they have already raped this country and gotten everything out of it they possibly could.”

A Michigan State spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press that Penn’s teaching duties have been assigned to others at the university.

Duquesne University

Geraldo Rivera stripped of speaker invite

Duquesne administrators have rescinded a speaker invitation to Geraldo Rivera, a television and radio personality, after he posted a near-naked “selfie” on Twitter.

Rivera posted the photo in July in honor of his birthday; the photo shows him wearing just a towel, with the words “70 is the new 50” displayed.

Rivera had been scheduled to appear at a conference marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death. The Roman Catholic University, however, thought that his photo was inappropriate. “We warn our students not to put anything inappropriate on social media because of potential consequences — you could consider this teaching by example,” a school spokesperson said of its decision to rescind Rivera’s invitation.

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Rivera called Duquesne’s cancellation “pretentious censorship.”

Brown University

Power outage disrupts first day of classes

Some Brown students who showed up at their first day of class this week were met with something they didn’t expect in their classrooms: no electricity.

Twenty-four classes on Wednesday were held without power, according to The Brown Daily Herald. The outage, the newspaper reported, was due to a damaged electrical feeder.

Fifteen buildings overall were affected by the outage.

Harvard University

Confidential rape reports rise

The Harvard University Police Department received 23 confidential reports of rape in 2012, nearly double what it saw the year before, The Harvard Crimson reported.

The police department released its annual crime report this week. The report showed a stark contrast in crime between the institution’s Longwood and Cambridge campuses. The Cambridge campus saw over 10 times the number of crimes than the Longwood campus.

Confidential reports are those in which any identifying information about the victim is withheld. Like last year, there was one formal rape report in 2012, the Crimson reported.

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