Students might be away from campus over the summer — but there’s been no shortage of controversies and changes in the higher education world over the last few months. Here’s a look at the major stories of the summer.
1. Brock Turner receives six-month sentence in Stanford sexual assault case
Stanford freshman Brock Turner’s six-month sentence with probation sparked anger and protest when the verdict was released on June 2.
Turner was found guilty of three sexual assault charges after he was apprehended near a Stanford University fraternity this January. He faced a maximum 14 years in state prison, but was given a reduced sentence by Judge Aaron Persky, who felt that “he will not be a danger to others”.
Critics believe that Turner’s swimming prestige and position at an elite university awarded him privilege in the trial, and a petition to remove Persky received over one million signatures online. Turner, registered as a lifetime sex offender, will be released on Sept. 2.
2. New law permits concealed carry on University of Texas campuses
Starting on Aug. 1, it became legal to bring a concealed handgun onto a UT campus. Campus buildings, dormitories and classrooms are included in the new legislation.
The law follows 20 years of allowing concealed handguns in public elsewhere in Texas. Former UT School of Architecture Dean Fritz Steiner left the school for a position as the dean of PennDesign because of his opposition to concealed carry.
3. Vanderbilt gives Confederate memorial group $1.2 million to rename dorm
Vanderbilt University gifted the Tennessee chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy $1.2 million in order to remove the name “Confederate” from Confederate Memorial Hall. The purpose of the gift was to repay the group’s 1933 donation of $50,000 to the university, and thus clear any debts to their group.
Vanderbilt lost to the Daughters of the Confederacy in a 2005 court case, when it was declared that the university could not rename the building until it reimbursed the group in “contemporary dollars”. Vanderbilt had been planning to remove the name since 2002.
4. Replacement found after University of Albany refuses to play Duke in North Carolina
Marist College will face Duke University this November insteada of the scheduled University of Albany at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium in North Carolina.
This July, the University of Albany declined to play Duke to protest the North Carolina law that requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex. Albany cited New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill that bans “nonessential state travel to North Carolina” to withdraw from the game.
A few weeks after Albany declined, Marist College, a private New York institution, agreed to play instead, drawing criticism from some students and players on campus.
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