Ivory Towers

Rick Amidon, the president of Baker College for the past 13 years, resigned from his position on Saturday after being arrested for driving under the influence of a “combination of alcohol and a controlled substance.”
Police officers who pulled Amidon over on Wednesday said that Amidon’s vehicle was weaving across the center line of the road and had also “run another vehicle off the roadway.” Amidon was arraigned on Thursday, and is scheduled for a pre-trial conference next week.
Amidon has been on medical leave from the College for the past three months after an investigation into a harassment complaint from a female park ranger. Despite the circumstances of his departure, Amidon’s colleagues are saddened to see him leave. “I hope he gets help and rebounds, because he still has a lot of potential,” said J.R. Rosales, Baker College’s former director of campus security.
Baker College’s student enrollment and program offerings thrived under the former president’s leadership, with a student body growth of more than 3,500 students during his presidency. “I thought he was the best thing going here,” said Rosales.
Amidon’s departure is the latest in a series of presidential resignations following drunk driving allegations. Since May 2007, the presidents of the University of Mary Washington, Davenport University, the University of Evansville and A.T. Still University have all faced drunk driving charges and proceeded to resign or be removed from their positions.

Muskegon Chronicle, Grand Rapids Press

Election Day Debate

In the final countdown for the presidential election, students, faculty and administrators nationwide have debated whether colleges should cancel classes on Nov. 4 in recognition of Election Day as a campus holiday. 
Over the past week, University of Virginia students spearheaded the issue by submitting an online petition encouraging professors to condone absences from class, and further asking “if a professor has an exam scheduled or a major assignment due [-] consider moving the respective exam or assignment to another date.”
The University has not offered an official stance to the petition’s 2,756 signatories, instead leaving responding to student voter absences to the discretion of individual faculty. 
Similar discussions have surfaced on multiple other campuses across the country. The University of Minnesota Senate has made efforts to extend is policy on making up work for legitimate absences, such as illness, jury duty, and religious holidays, to include voter obligations.
Liberty University not only has cancelled classes for Election Day, but arranged a bus service to transport students to their polling places. Other colleges, such as Kalamazoo College, have directly overruled student requests to excuse all absences. 
The debate generally comes down to two points. On one hand, advocates of excusing class absences assert that colleges as educational institutions should encourage first-time and young voters to participate in democracy by volunteering at polls and voting.
On the flip side of the coin, Election Day is not a national holiday and there is a strong argument that all working Americans must incorporate civic duty into the responsibilities of daily life, and students should not be exempt from this balancing act. 

Chronicle of Higher Education
Effigy of Obama found on U. Kentucky Campus

Last Wednesday, a professor at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington found an effigy of presidential nominee Barack Obama hanging from a noose in a tree. Campus police took it down and are currently conducting an investigation.
UK President Lee Todd issued a statement calling the act deplorable, in addition to reporting the incident to state authorities. “We’ve done many, many things to increase diversity,” Todd said. “I know this is not a reflection of this institution.”
The effigy was described as having an Obama mask, a blazer and a pair of grey sweatpants, and was hanging from a branch over a well-traveled sidewalk in the middle of campus. Police took it down between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. last Wednesday morning and hoped that since the effigy was placed in such a high-traffic area, there may have been witnesses when it was hung during the night.
Some students expressed hope that the incident was just a prank and did not indicate malice. “You’ve got a lot of people who do that kind of stuff just to get attention,” said freshman Antonio Dixon. “It’s just not right. I think with Halloween coming … I hope it was a prank.”
The incident has incited reactions from prominent Kentucky politicians. “I strongly agree with President Todd’s statement this morning about this embarrassing and unfortunate incident.
This was not political speech,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “It was simply hate. It was profoundly wrong and deeply offensive.” The House and Senate Democrats issued similar statements decrying the incident.

Lexington Herald Leader

Compiled by Laura Corona, Allison Gardiner and Jared Quinton, Record Staff