Friday, July 31, 2015

Without a Staff, Does a University Press Exist?

Inside Higher Ed
July 31st, 2015


The University of Akron has insisted for the past two days that it is not eliminating its university press. But the university admits that it has eliminated the jobs of all three employees, including the director.
Reconciling these facts has a lot of people doubting the viability of the press at Akron, although many are campaigning to keep it.
Earlier this month, the university announced that more than 200 people would lose their jobs -- and that the baseball team would be eliminated -- as part of an effort to put the university on stronger financial footing. The baseball team was the only specific program that Akron said at the time would be eliminated.

In First Contract, UConn Grad Assistants Win Raises and Much More

Labor Notes
July 30th, 2015




Twenty-two-hundred University of Connecticut graduate assistants (GAs) won a first contract that features big economic gains as well as social justice provisions affecting international students, transgender workers, and women.
The contract for the Graduate Employee Union, United Auto Workers Local 6950, went into effect July 1. It comes after a swift organizing campaign, marked by intensive political organizing and strong rank-and-file participation.
The high-visibility campaign culminated in an April 21 sit-in at the Student Union by more than 300 GAs. The tentative agreement was secured that same afternoon.
“We engaged in five actions with a majority of workers participating in each, over the course of the last year, that won recognition of our union and significant improvements in our first contract,” said Leland Aldridge, a graduate assistant in physics.

Twenty-two-hundred University of Connecticut graduate assistants (GAs) won a first contract that features big economic gains as well as social justice provisions affecting international students, transgender workers, and women.
The contract for the Graduate Employee Union, United Auto Workers Local 6950, went into effect July 1. It comes after a swift organizing campaign, marked by intensive political organizing and strong rank-and-file participation.
The high-visibility campaign culminated in an April 21 sit-in at the Student Union by more than 300 GAs. The tentative agreement was secured that same afternoon.
“We engaged in five actions with a majority of workers participating in each, over the course of the last year, that won recognition of our union and significant improvements in our first contract,” said Leland Aldridge, a graduate assistant in physics.
- See more at: http://labornotes.org/blogs/2015/07/first-contract-uconn-grad-assistants-win-raises-and-much-more#sthash.A6cqEXbS.dpuf

Organizing Is the Key to Surviving Friedrichs

Labor Notes
July 30th, 2015


When news broke that the Supreme Court would hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, headlines instantly projected the worst, calling it “The Supreme Court Case That Could Decimate American Public Sector Unionism,” “An Existential Threat,” and even “The End of Public-Employee Unions?”
Hyperbole aside, a decision that makes the whole public sector “right to work” could be devastating. But it won’t make unions powerless.
After all, public sector workers didn’t always have legal protection to unionize, bargain, or strike, much less enforce agency shop. Not too far back in history, they won those rights—by organizing without them.

Pell Grants for Prisoners? A Limited Program Sparks Hope for Broader Change

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 30th, 2015


The Obama administration is poised to announce on Friday that it will offer Pell Grants to some prisoners, the first adult inmates to be eligible for the grants since Congress barred prisoners from receiving them more than 20 years ago.
The scope of the offer will be very limited: Only a small, as-yet-unspecified number of inmates will be able to participate. They’ll do so through a pilot program that creates an "experimental site" — a lab, of sorts, that allows the Education Department to study the plan’s effectiveness without approval from Congress. The law blocking prisoners from receiving Pell money will remain on the books.
Still, for advocates and colleges working to bring higher education to prisoners, the announcement is significant. The past two decades have been a trying time for supporters of prison education programs. In 1995, shortly after Congress barred state and federal inmates from receiving Pell Grants, 350 prisons nationwide offered degree-granting programs. Most of those programs ended when colleges backed out.


The Obama administration is poised to announce on Friday that it will offer Pell Grants to some prisoners, the first adult inmates to be eligible for the grants since Congress barred prisoners from receiving them more than 20 years ago.
The scope of the offer will be very limited: Only a small, as-yet-unspecified number of inmates will be able to participate. They’ll do so through a pilot program that creates an "experimental site" — a lab, of sorts, that allows the Education Department to study the plan’s effectiveness without approval from Congress. The law blocking prisoners from receiving Pell money will remain on the books.
Still, for advocates and colleges working to bring higher education to prisoners, the announcement is significant. The past two decades have been a trying time for supporters of prison education programs. In 1995, shortly after Congress barred state and federal inmates from receiving Pell Grants, 350 prisons nationwide offered degree-granting programs. Most of those programs ended when colleges backed out.
- See more at: http://chronicle.com/article/Pell-Grants-for-Prisoners-A/232063/#sthash.KJvBAPrd.dpuf

Texas Tech Is Investigating Professor’s Grade-Tampering Claim

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 31st, 2015



Texas Tech University is investigating a professor’s allegation that grades he had recorded were later altered, allowing students who had done poorly in his class to earn M.B.A.s.
The Daily Toreador, Texas Tech’s student newspaper, reports that Jay Conover, the professor, first suspected something was amiss when he saw a handful of students’ names on the list to graduate.
“I recognized a lot of names, but I also recognized names of some who didn’t do well in my class, and I wondered, ‘How did they get M.B.A.s?’” he told the newspaper, adding that the students had not done poorly because they were “dumb” but “because they were taking too much.”