Around the industry: Professor faces assault charge for blocking student journalist from protest

Bite-sized college and higher education industry news

  • Massachusetts: The Amherst College Board of Trustees announced it will drop its controversial mascot, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, in "its official communications, its messaging, and its symbolism." Student protestors advocated for the removal of the 18th-centurty British military commander because of his attacks on Native Americans. The board said it will no longer endorse "Lord Jeff" but noted that Amherst "has no business interfering with free expression, whether spoken or written or, for that matter, sung. Period. We hope and anticipate that understanding and respect will run in all directions" (Thomason, "The Ticker," Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/26).
  • Missouri: The Columbia City Prosecutor's Office has filed an assault charge against University of Missouri Assistant Professor Melissa Click, who last November tried to remove a student photographer from a public protest. According to a spokesperson from the city prosecutor's office, the office filed a third-degree assault charge against Click, who faces a class C misdemeanor potentially punishable by 15 days in jail. Meanwhile, recently filed legislation (HB 1637) would require students at two-year or four-year public colleges in Missouri to complete a course on the freedom of speech as a prerequisite for graduation. The student Click assaulted, Mark Schierbecker, also is pressing state legislators to pass the Walter Cronkite New Voices Act, which would protect student journalists' rights "to exercise freedom of speech and of the press in school-sponsored media," according to the bill (Tarinelli, Student Press  Law Center, 1/25).
  • Virginia: One year after nearly shutting down, Sweet Briar College is seeing the highest number of applications in 50 years, according to Sweet Briar President Phillip Stone. He says there have been more than 1,000 applications so far, which he hopes will result in a freshman class of about 200 students this fall. Current enrollment is much lower than it was last spring, but Stone says campus morale is up and the college has strong financial footing (Saunders, WDBJ 7, 1/20).

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