Archive for 9 April 2009

Euthanasia lecture cancelled

Posted in Legal issues with tags on 9 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A controversial public lecture on euthanasia has been cancelled minutes after it began when a group of over 20 protestors disrupted it. The guest speaker Prof Len Doyal, an open proponent of both voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia, had to be escorted from the lecture theatre at Cork University Hospital by security staff. The lecture entitled Why Euthanasia should be legalised, formed part of the annual spring series organized by CUH’s Ethics Forum and started at 5pm …” (more)

[RTÉ News, 9 April]

Obama’s Science Adviser Acknowledges Drawbacks of Stimulus Package for Colleges

Posted in research with tags , , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

USA“Some universities are coming to recognize possible downsides to the promised surge in federal research money. Rules designed by Congress to ensure that the economic-stimulus money creates jobs may mean bureaucratic complications for researchers. And the temporary nature of the spending may leave universities in a longer-term staffing bind. President Obama’s science adviser, John P. Holdren, may not have any immediate solutions to those problems. But he says he’s aware of them and is seeking answers …” (more)

[Paul Basken, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 April]

Liverpool students tell of fears as anti-terror police closed in

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

UK“Students who witnessed anti-terror raids on Liverpool John Moores University have described their fears that one of the arrested men was carrying a bomb. The raids, which were supposed to have been carried out at 2am today, were brought forward to 5pm yesterday after former Met anti-terror chief Bob Quick inadvertently leaked details of the operation. Although Merseyside police said only one man was arrested at the university, several student witnesses told the Guardian they had seen two men held. Twelve men have been arrested in total across northern England. Marcel Deer, a third-year journalism student watching the raids from the top floor of the library, said one of those arrested had been wearing a backpack which he feared might contain explosives …” (more)

[Anthea Lipsett, Guardian, 9 April]

Çonsumer-Law Advocacy Group Calls for Student-Loan Reform

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

USA“The National Consumer Law Center issued a report this morning calling for lenders to help borrowers get out of debt and for government to help low-income students pay for college in a fiscally responsible way. Because lenders have failed to offer flexible terms to borrowers who needed more time to pay off their loans, the report argues, the government should require any lender that accepts federal funds to create policies that promote loan modification over aggressively trying to collect money from those who clearly can’t pay off their loans yet …” (more)

[Megan Eckstein, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 April]

Order to release animal test data

Posted in Legal issues, research with tags , , , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

UK“Several universities and major colleges have been ordered to reveal information about their animal experiments by the Information Commissioner’s Office. The ruling applies to past and current research at Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester universities, plus London’s King’s and University colleges. All five must release details of the numbers and species of primates used. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection had asked for the details under the Freedom of Information Act …” (more)

[BBC News, 9 April]

Our cowed leaders must stand up for academic freedom

Posted in research with tags , , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

UK“There is a crisis of leadership in higher education, particularly in funding bodies such as the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the research councils. That is a big claim, but what supports it is the story of how these bodies have been complicit with a Government that is making a definitive break with the 91-year-old Haldane principle. Named after Liberal politician Richard Burdon Haldane, chair of the committee that recommended the policy, it enshrined the notion that government should not interfere in decisions about academic research. For good reason, such decisions should be left to disinterested researchers pursuing knowledge, not politicians operating according to principles determined by ideology or party. But now, Whitehall recklessly interferes and its handmaidens sit in the institutions that should be defending research autonomy …” (more)

[Thomas Docherty, Times Higher Education, 9 April]

The flexible degree programme

Posted in teaching with tags , on 9 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“I used to have a German friend who was by inclination, temperament and vocation a university student. When I last had contact with him in the mid-1980s he had been what we would call an undergraduate student, in the same course, for nearly nine years, and he was showing absolutely no sign of wanting to bring that phase of his life to an end. For all I know he is a student still. In this part of the world we have taken a very different approach: your degree programme is, probably, three or four years long, and most students will complete it in that timeframe; a small number may fail enough examinations to extend their progress by a year. But that’s it, really. Our approach to this has been guided by economic prudence – it is expensive to keep a student on a course – and educational principle – students should focus on their studies and complete them in a timely manner …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 9 April]