Higher education roundup: March 21
A weekly roundup of news from around higher education
March 20, 2014, 8:40 pm · Updated March 21, 2014, 1:05 am·
An opinion column by Deborah Raiees-Dana in John Brown University's student paper the Threefold Advocate wrote a column titled "Rethink Yoga." The author claimed that the meditation form "has its roots in the worship of demonic Hindu gods." The Hindu community, upset and offended, urged the University to take action. So far, The Arkansas university's president Dr. Charles Pollard has not apologized, and the column has not been removed from the online edition. While Dana's position within the University is not revealed, a response article by Rajan Zed described her as a tutoring coordinator for Student Support Services.
The Cornell Daily Sun reported that reports of sexual assault at the University had risen to a 23-year high. From 1990-2007, the university averaged three reports of sexual assault per year. In 2012, there were 17. Administrators credited the rise to awareness campaigns and university efforts to educate the community on sexual assault and considered it a positive indication of successful education. Now students who had once chosen to be silent are receiving the support they need, they argued.
On Wednesday afternoon, a white powdery substance found in a student's dorm room tested positive for ricin according to the Georgetown police chief . The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case, and the identified student has been taken in for questioning. Ricin is a highly toxic, naturally occurring poison produced from castor oil that can kill an adult human with less than a two-milligram dose. Students in the residence hall were evacuated and others were kept overnight at a nearby hotel. Contractors who specialize in the decontamination of biological threats cleaned the room where the substance was found. The student has not yet been charged with a crime or been identified as a subject in the investigation of a crime.
Yale University suspended all funding, credit and scholarship to undergraduate summer activities in Uganda following the countries' recent passage of anti-gay legislation. Administrators say that the suspension is to ensure undergraduate students' safety rather than to protest the law. Administrators believed that the enthusiasm in Uganda behind the legislation was cause for caution and uncertainty about how the law would be enforced against foreigners.