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

While cinemagoers enjoy the Tina Fey romcom Admission - set at Princeton University - a real-life admissions furore has been unfolding in the US press. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on 5 April, Suzy Lee Weiss hit out at the Ivy League universities that rejected her, saying she felt she had been a victim of not being "diverse" enough. The Pittsburgh teenager had scored an excellent 4.5 grade point average but argued that her white skin, heterosexual parents and dearth of charitable hobbies counted against her in the application process. "Had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school," Ms Weiss wrote in an open letter to Princeton, Yale, Vanderbilt and the University of Pennsylvania. Failing to go "collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo" also counted against her, while her personal statement's lack of fake sentiment did not help, she added. Some readers responded by accusing her of being "entitled", "whiny" and just plain racist.

Are research journals institutionally sexist? Many academics have suspected so for years, but a study by Ohio State University has reignited the debate. Nearly 250 graduate students were shown abstracts from a selection of papers and asked to judge their quality, The Times reported on 5 April. The names of the authors were randomly allocated, but those papers with male names attached to them were rated more highly by both sexes, the newspaper said. The experiment demonstrated the damaging effect of sexism on a woman's career, said the study's co-author Silvia Knobloch- Westerwick. "In grant proposals, promotion and tenure reviews, hiring decisions and so on, a scholar's sex will be a relevant factor in how she or he is evaluated," she said.

Rising Labour star Chuka Umunna - business secretary Vince Cable's opposite number and the person in charge of formulating the party's university policy - has been accused of allowing his staff to alter his Wikipedia page to compare him to Barack Obama. The row centres on the identity of the user "Socialdemocrat", who created his page in 2007 and updated it with links to flattering stories, including one comparing Umunna to the US president. …

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