Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Article excerpt

- Anyone familiar with the views of Edzard Ernst may be surprised to learn that he was on the board of the journal Homeopathy. But this cognitive dissonance was ended last week when the journal sacked the University of Exeter's semi-retired professor of complementary medicine, who believes that only 5 per cent of alternative treatments are "solidly based on positive evidence". His letter of dismissal, reproduced on his blog, said the final straw was a blog he posted about Holocaust Memorial Day that allegedly "smeared" complementary medicine by associating it with the Nazis. Professor Ernst denied any attempt to establish guilt by association and lamented the journal's loss of its only editorial board member with "the ability to openly and repeatedly display a critical attitude about homeopathy". But by diluting scepticism, surely the journal must expect only to make it stronger.

- Education secretary Michael Gove has accused the education professors who criticised his national curriculum reforms of peddling "bad academia". Sir Michael Wilshaw then fleshed out his vague attack, with the Ofsted chief inspector saying academics needed to "get out of their ivory towers", The Daily Telegraph reported on 22 March. The row follows a letter published last week in the Telegraph in which those "bad academics" claimed children would be forced to memorise "endless lists of spellings, facts and rules" - resulting in stifled creativity and development. Sadly, the academics fell into the trap of making a substantive point, supported by evidence, rather than engaging in playground-style name-calling.

- A Jewish academic who claimed that the University and College Union's policy on Palestine constituted harassment has been rebuked by an employment tribunal for misusing the legal process. Ronnie Fraser, a further education lecturer and founding director of Academic Friends of Israel, argued that the UCU was institutionally anti-Semitic owing to motions passed in favour of an academic boycott of Israel. Despite enlisting the services of Anthony Julius, divorce lawyer for Diana, Princess of Wales, and calling the prizewinning author Howard Jacobson to give evidence on his behalf, all of his 10 claims have been "dismissed in their totality". …

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