Around the industry: Four-foot snake disappears from college lab

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Massachusetts: Adjunct professors at Boston University (BU) voted two-to-one Wednesday to unionize. The vote will add 750 members to local union Faculty Forward, which is part of the Service Employees International Union Local 509. "We're looking forward to working with the union," says BU spokesperson Colin Riley. Bayla Ostrach, a member of the union organizing committee at BU, says her focus is on changing the university's policy of cancelling adjunct courses without compensation if they have low enrollments (Fox/Rosen, Boston Globe, 2/4).
  • Ontario: An instructor at Queen's University is being criticized for allegedly teaching students that vaccines cause health problems in children. Melody Torcolacci started as a track and field coach at Queen's but has been teaching Health 102 and Health 200 courses in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies since 2011. Daniel Woolf, principal at Queen's, encourages others to reserve judgment until the investigation discovers more about the context and substance of Torcolacci's lectures (Ha, Globe and Mail, 2/4).
  • Vermont: Officials at Castleton State College are searching for a snake missing from the science lab. The serpent, a four-foot rainbow boa constrictor, was locked in its cage as usual on Friday—but disappeared by Tuesday morning. Officials do not believe the snake could have escaped on its own, because the cage would have been difficult for it to open and the lab room door was locked. As such, the crime is being handled as a theft, says Castleton's director of public safety (Allen, Rutland Herald, 2/4).

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