UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS
On Oct. 30, the Dean of the Univer- sity of Athens, Theodoros Fortsakis, and some faculty members were taken “hostage” by approximately 50 students. University administrators recently hired a private security company to patrol the campus, upsetting students. Fortsakis thus invited a group of students to at- tend a board meeting to express their disapproval over the hiring decision, and to voice concerns over campus se- curity. When tensions began to escalate, the students locked Fortsakis and his colleagues in the room where the board meeting took place, and staged an out- door protest on campus to demonstrate their disapproval over the issue.
UNIVERSITY HASSAN II
University Hassan II was just one of the Moroccan universities which saw a dra- matic increase in student enrollment for the 2014-15 academic year. University enrollment across the country increased by 47 percent, prompting the govern- ment to plan for the construction of 10 new institutions. Mohammed Saïd Karrouk, a professor of climatology at the university, has criticized this gov- ernment plan, stating the current lack of qualified teachers, the stagnation of academic research, and vital educa- tion reforms have not been carried out in already established universities. The expansion would increase government spending and further weaken the coun- try’s university education system.
UNIVERSITY OF STRASBOURG
Penguins are known in the scientific community to be extremely shy around humans, making research difficult for scientists who are trying to better under- stand the social behavior of the aquatic bird. For the past seven years, engineers at the University of Strasbourg have been exploring rovers as a way to get up close and personal with emperor pen- guins, and have developed a remote- controlled, wheeled device disguised as a baby penguin. Scientists have noted that when approached by the “Chick Cam,” as the device has been called, penguins equipped with heart monitors showed lower stress levels than penguins ap- proached by humans. The “Chick Cam” has also captured rare footage of an em- peror penguin laying an egg, allowing scientists insights into their travel and mating patterns.
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
Poetry professor Barry Spurr at the Uni- versity of Sydney was suspended from his position after independent news website New Matilda published leaked emails sent by the professor, which contained racist and sexist language to refer to Australia’s prime minister, uni- versity students and other high-profile people. Students of the university have held protests supporting Spurr’s sus- pension, and almost 130 academics and professional staff have signed an open letter to vice-chancellors urging them to reflect on their anti-discrimination policies. Spurr has since sought legal ac- tion against New Matilda in an effort to uncover the source of the leaked emails, and have them taken off the website, cit- ing a breach of confidence and privacy.