Crikey! Croc on Miami campus

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Syracuse University, New York â€" An award-winning teacher at Syracuse is in hot water following an angry reaction to a text message that prompted him to end class.

After announcing he would leave his class of 400 students if he caught anyone reading a newspaper or text messaging in class, philosophy professor Laurence Thomas was forced to fulfill his threat twice last week.

Thomas characterized the event as “brazen disrespect” in an email sent to students.

Inside Higher Ed reported the email also identified the ethnicity of the texting student, with Thomas writing: “One might have thought that for all the talk about racism and the good of social equality, non-white students would be particularly committed to respecting a black professor.”

Thomas explained he had already been contacted by the parent of one student who was upset classes were cancelled twice in one week, but he remained insistent that respect must be a two-way street.

The issue has sparked debate across Syracuse’s campus, both on the issue of levels of respect in class and when mentioning race is appropriate.

University of Miami, Florida â€" Several students at the University of Miami are evidently applying for the annual Darwin Award, as they see who can get the closest to the campus’s newest tenant â€" a six-foot long American crocodile.

Protected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from being baited, hooked and fished from the campus’s lake, the campus security force has had trouble snagging the croc.

The croc now spends its days happily sunning itself with its mouth open by Lake Osceola, which serves as one of the campus’ main scenic attractions. Unfortunately, the lake is also surrounded by numerous walkways, which become clogged with students between classes.

The proximity of the croc to students has lead to some uncomfortably close calls, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported a campus visitor approached the crocodile and lifted its tail as a friend took his picture. Students have also begun posting their own croc encounters on YouTube.

However, the university is taking a proactive approach to the crocodile, putting up a sign warning passersby that it is “unlawful to feed or harass” the animal.

University of Texas at San Antonio â€" Something even more ironic than knives and spoons found its way to UTSA’s campus last week as students drafted their code of honor dealing with cheating and plagiarism.

Unfortunately for the students, some parts of their new code appear to have been lifted from another school’s honor code, including the definition of plagiarism.

The committee discovered the lack of attribution, and has stated a citation will be added before the final draft of the code goes to the faculty senate. Here’s hoping the faculty senate won’t be forced to use Turnitin.com.

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