Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fee spikes at some New Jersey colleges

This is a really short story from NJ.com, but it still raises a few ethical questions. I found the link to this story from EdNews.org.

Some New Jersey colleges have started raising student fees in order to generate more money for the colleges without raising tuition, to avoid tuition caps. The author gave a couple examples, such as these: at William Paterson University, students pay $650 annually to fund a building they may never even see before graduating. At Rutgers University, students pay $286 a year to fund tickets for sporting events they may not ever attend.

I take issue with this because it’s simply not fair. I know universities must charge students to an extent to help fund campus activities and such, but these charges are ridiculous. The story also mentions how at some of the state’s public colleges, fees total over $3,000 a year. At least when students pay tuition, they know what they’re paying for. Students shouldn’t have to fork over large amounts of money to fund a building that will never benefit them, or for tickets to athletic games they have no interest in seeing.

Perhaps the colleges could focus more on fundraising from alumni who are interested in giving for the sake of giving. Making each student pay thousands of dollars in fees during their tenure at the university just to avoid tuition caps is unacceptable and perhaps there should be a fee cap as well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Colorado State helps preserve historical remains in Iraq and Afganistan

Here’s a story coming out of Colorado State, which I found on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, that shows a positive idea coming from this terrible War in Iraq.

One of the university’s researchers and a graphic artist will begin designing a deck of playing cards to distribute to soldiers depicting historical artifacts, relics and ancient sites from Iraq and Afghanistan that could potentially be destroyed by the war. Each card will show a different site, relic or artifact and/or give advice on how to help preserve them.

One of the examples the author of this post gave was that the five of clubs, for example, says, “Drive around, not over, archaeological sites." The creators also hope the cards will help restrict the amount of trade in artifact looting and the story also mentions how over 50,000 decks of cards will be distributed to soldiers. This is a great idea on many counts.

It raises awareness among U.S. soldiers about the need to preserve historical artifacts in the countries they’re occupying, and also raises awareness among the people back in America. It also supplies soldiers with a form of entertainment if they didn’t already have a deck of playing cards. If they did have a generic brand of cards, these decks give them interesting facts and ways to preserve important artifacts.

We may be in the middle of a war in the Middle East, but preserving ancient artifacts, relics and sites is still important part of preserving the history of the human race, which has thousands of years of records hidden in those artifacts and sites.

I think soldiers will appreciate the effort by the Colorado State team and even if they don’t adhere to the suggestions of the deck of cards, hopefully it will make them more conscious of helping preserve remains of human history.

Monday, October 29, 2007

UNH professor cleared of charges

This posting on the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog caught my eye simply because the title was a complete alliteration: “Angry Academic Acquitted After Attack Against Administrator.” The use of the literary device by the author is pretty neat, and the story itself is somewhat bizarre.

A University of New Hampshire professor was cleared of two criminal charges, stalking and disorderly conduct, in connection with an alleged attack on an administrator at the university in June. The professor, John Collins, went on an angry tirade, blaming the administrator for a parking ticket he had received. He was found not guilty of the charges but still faces another court hearing for the restraining order the administrator took out against him after the attack, citing that Collins threatened to kill her.

This story is just such a strange one coming from the world of higher education that I felt like including it on my blog for a laugh. I guess people will try to do anything to get out of a parking ticket these days, although one person who commented on the posting suggested that perhaps the woman’s claims were false, and that if Collins had shown anger, it may not have been to the extent she said he had.