Each Friday I share five interesting things that I have read, watched or learned that week. You can help write next week’s list by forwarding links to me on Twitter, @wpjenna, or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) The possible renaming of the Gary Schultz Child Care Center: For the past 10 months, Penn State University officials have been scrubbing campus of any tributes to Jerry Sandusky and the former university leaders who are accused of not doing enough to stop Sandusky from abusing young boys. You can no longer order “Sandusky Blitz” ice cream, the Joe Paterno statue is gone and the name of the campus child care center is up in the air.
Right now, it’s still formally named for Gary Schultz, the former vice president who is charged with lying to a grand jury and not properly reporting suspected child abuse. Schultz and another administrator are scheduled to go on trial in January. The child care center sign came down quickly after Schultz was charged, and the center’s Web site identifies it as the “Child Care Center at Hort Woods.” (Philadelphia Inquirer article by Jeff Gammage: Penn State to debate removing Schultz’s name from campus building.)
The university’s trustees discussed changing the name of the center at a Friday afternoon meeting. In the end, they voted to delay having the discussion or making a decision. Here’s what student reporters tweeted from the meeting:
The #PSUBoT is now discussing renaming the Gary Schultz Child Care Center. Lurbrano questions why we can't wait until after his trial.— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 14, 2012
McCombie: If it (child care center) went eight months without a name, it can go four more. Motion is to table the vote.— Laura Nichols (@LC_Nichols) September 14, 2012
The Schultz Child Care Center will not be renamed today after the motion was tabled. #PSUBoT— Rachel White (@RachelLynWhite) September 14, 2012
2) An American University professor, a sick baby and a probing student reporter: One of the most-read articles on The Post’s Web site this week was about an American University assistant anthropology professor who was livid when a student newspaper reporter asked her why she brought her sick baby to the first day of class and breast-fed while lecturing. I found the instructor’s ranting essay fascinating, and it raised questions in my mind about how faculty treat their student media. (Adrienne Pine’s essay, “The Dialectics of Breastfeeding on Campus: Exposéing My Breasts on the Internet.”)
3) Family road maps for ousting a university president: For nearly four months, I have been investigating why the University of Virginia’s governing board asked the school president to step down in early June, only to reverse course in late June. The U-Va. student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, just published a fascinating article about board leader Helen Dragas’s father, George Dragas, who successfully ousted an Old Dominion University president in 1988. Kudos to reporter Krista Pedersen for digging this up. (Cavalier Daily article, “Sullivan ouster mirrors ODU dismissal.”)
4) Former professor Amy Bishop pleads guilty: This week former University of Alabama-Huntsville biology professor Amy Bishop pleaded guilty to murdering three of her colleagues and trying to kill others during a faculty meeting in February 2010. Last spring, Amy Wallace wrote a lengthy profile of Bishop for Wired magazine that I encourage you to read. This week, Wallace wrote: “I’m reminded of Bishop’s description of Beth, one of her heroines in her novels. ‘She mulled over words like love, loneliness, hopelessness, despair,’ Bishop wrote of the character. ‘She looked at words like suicide and murder.’ Now, Bishop has looked at many of those words again, signing her plea agreement, according to the AP, with a barely legible scrawl. Maybe it’s her way of saying, at long last, The End.” (Wallace’s article on Wired.com: “With Guilty Plea, University of Alabama Shooter Amy Bishop Writes Her Own Ending.”)
5) Profile of fallen ambassador J. Christopher Stevens: This isn’t a higher education piece, but I wanted to share it anyhow. A team of San Francisco Chronicle reporters wrote a beautiful profile of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed Tuesday. Stevens grew up in the Bay Area and attended the University of California, Berkeley. Stevens was remembered by his friends as being a thoughtful listener who genuinely wanted to get to know people he met. In the words of one friend: “He could make anyone feel comfortable and make them a part of his world because he fit into theirs.”
Today there’s more and more of a push to teach students to be part of the global community. Those lessons should include discussions of how to listen and humbly learn about other cultures. (San Francisco Chronicle article, “Libyan ambassador kept ‘human touch.’”)