World Encompassed

May 11, 2007

No 'legal duty' to prevent student harm

In a precedent-setting case, a US court has ruled that the father of a student who died of an apparent heroin overdose cannot bring a negligence suit against officials of her univer-sity. The ruling, which concluded that universities have no "legal duty" to prevent students from harming themselves through illegal activities, came in a case brought against Clark University, where a student purportedly overdosed even after school officials became aware of her drug use. Her father sued Clark and eight of its administrators for failing to prevent his daughter's death.

The decision comes amid a wave of lawsuits against US universities by parents of students who committed suicide.

Commission checks possible donations

The European Commission is asking universities how much they receive from philanthropists as part of a scheme to see how they could raise more from donations.

The commission is asking universities to fill in an online questionnaire listing what they receive from philanthropists, the role of this money in supporting research and reasons why they do not seek research funds from philanthropic sources.

The European Union aims to spend 3 per cent of gross domestic product on research but levels of philanthropic donation vary widely from about 16 per cent in the UK and Sweden to just over 4 per cent in other European states.

Blogging can boost admission numbers Student blogs are the latest cog in US colleges' PR machines. A quarter of college admission offices have blogs written by students or admissions officers, according to a study from the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Universities that pay students to write uncensored blogs said would-be applicants might be more likely to trust a university willing to show a realistic picture of life on campus and get a better feel for whether they like the institution. An official at Johns Hopkins University, which also has student bloggers, said it showed that people had fun at the institution.

Thai court permits resit results

University admissions in Thailand could be upset by a court decision to allow students to be selected on marks from exams they resat.

Previously, Thai universities chose students based on results from their first sitting of the Ordinary National Education Test. However, the Khon Kaen Administrative Court ruled that six students should be selected using their marks from retakes. The case will now go to the Supreme Administrative Court.

The University Presidents Council of Thailand said that students should not be allowed to boost their chances of getting into university by resitting the test. It warned the admissions system would be disrupted unless the court ruled on the case within a week. New funding regime threatens intake

A new funding regime for New Zealand's universities could discourage them from recruiting more students, a university head has said.

Next year, universities will get capped funding for a three-year period rather than being paid according to the number of students they have.

Pat Walsh, vice-chancellor of Victoria University, said universities could face money problems if student numbers grew after the funding was set. China insists on physical fitness

Chinese students will now have to be sound of body as well as mind to get into university.

The Chinese Education Ministry is considering recording student fitness scores on their academic records so that universities can consider them when enrolling students. The scores could help to decide between two students with the same academic credentials. The Government made the proposal after research found that Chinese schoolchildren's fitness had fallen sharply.

Shots fired at Turkey's HE HQ

A gunman tried to force his way into the office of the head of Turkey's higher education board. He tried to get into the board's headquarters and said he wanted to see the board's head Erdogan Tezic. He was refused entry and fled firing shots into the air. A suspect was arrested hours after the incident at the main bus station in Turkey's capital Ankara.

You are never too old to graduate

In a demonstration that it is never too late to learn, the world's oldest college student is set to graduate tomorrow. Nola Ochs, aged 95, who did her degree in general studies majoring in history at Fort Hays State University, is five years older than the previous record holder, University of Oklahoma graduate Mozelle Richardson.

Israel top-heavy with private funding Israel's education system is over-reliant on private funding, according to a new report.

The study from think-tank the Adva Center said private funding made up 41 per cent of the higher education budget in Israel.

The report warns that over-reliance on private funding could lead to a drop in the education level in the country. The number of applications for bachelors degrees dropped last year.

The report also says that the Government has opted to put money into economic growth rather than higher education, and that planned reforms that will raise tuition fees will exacerbate the problem by increasing the proportion of private funding in the sector. Is sexism alive and well in the midwest?

A sorority at a university in the American midwest has been thrown off campus after it was accused of admitting only women deemed to be sufficiently popular and attractive.

The Delta Zeta sorority was evicted by DePauw University, which accused it of expelling 23 members for falling short of standards for attractiveness. The sorority has responded by filing a lawsuit against the university. It says the women were removed because of what it called a lack of commitment to recruiting new members, not because of their appearance.


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