Today in academia: a defense of for-profit education, clarifying Ahmadinejad's trip to Columbia, a nervous law school and finding something wrong with a jayhawk.

  • What could be controversial about the University of Kansas's mascot? This is a picture: it's a jayhawk. It's also apparently the name of a "a group of domestic terrorists" that raided the town of Osceola, Missouri during the time of the Civil War. A group in Oscela sent the university a letter pointing this out and protesting the mascot. We detect a bit of snark in a Kansas spokesperson's reply given to the Columbia Daily Tribune: "A Jayhawk is a blue bird with a red head and a big yellow beak that wears boots. It would be hard to confuse it with anyone with terrorist intent, though we admit we have been terrorizing the [University of Missouri] Tigers on the basketball court for some time." [Columbia Daily Tribune via Chronicle of Higher Education]
  • Hold your fire there, Fox News. We had a feeling there'd be backlash at the news that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be dining with Columbia University students on September 21st. But The Columbia Spectator informs that Fox News got that report all wrong--it suggested that the University's president Lee Bollinger would be having dinner with Ahmadinejad too. That isn't the case: "Fox News incorrectly reported that Bollinger would be joining the students at the dinner. Members emphasize that the dinner itself is also still tentative." [The Columbia Spectator]
  • Playing devil's advocate for for-profit colleges. It's Joe Nocera in The New York Times magazine: he's writing a defense for-profit college industry, saying that--at their best--these colleges offer decent alternatives for students who also have full-time jobs (because of their online classes, practical emphasis on workplace skills). But even in his defense, the most memorable line still comes at the expense of the for-profits: "When industry reaps all the profit from student loans and the taxpayer has to pick up the losses, how can we be surprised when things turn out badly?" [The New York Times Magazine]
  • A man convicted of killing a professor heads to law school, making people nervous.  Two days ago, the Above the Law blog wrote about Bruce Reilly: a convicted murderer who spent 12 years in prison but who's now served his time and has been accepted at Tulane University Law school. Reilly's presence on campus had been making people feel a bit nervous and so he used his a blog to respond to his critics: "Lets cut to the chase: I killed a man 19 years ago" reads one line in his post. Yesterday, The Times-Picayune got a hold of the story and profiled Reilly, also adding in details about how the murder happened and appraising the student and faculty response. "For 99 percent of the people, there's no context. No history. There's just this guy who committed murder going to Tulane.And that's pretty intense," Reilly tells the paper. [Above the Law, The Times-Picayune]
  • London School of Economics scholar who posted ridiculous, offensive blog post regrets it. In May, we noted the deserved outrage at Satoshi Kanazawa, an LSE scholar who wrote a Psychology Today post titled "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" The post was eventually pulled and Psychology Today apologized. Yesterday, the Times Higher Education reports that Kanazawa also sent the LSE a letter during the inquiry into his actions. He wrote: "In the aftermath of its publication, and from all the criticisms that I have received, I have learned that some of my arguments may have been flawed and not supported by the available evidence." [Times Higher Education via Inside Higher Ed]