In Other Ivory Towers

Irene Loewenson

In Other Ivory Towers is the Record’s look at colleges and universities outside the Purple Bubble. 

Colorado State University-Pueblo offers cannabis major

Colorado State University-Pueblo will be offering a four-year bachelor of science in cannabis biology and chemistry (CBC) beginning next fall, the Colorado Department of Higher Education announced in a Facebook post on Feb. 7. 

CSU-Pueblo is one of the first institutions in the nation to have a cannabis-related major. It joins Northern Michigan University and Minot State University, which have offered programs in “medicinal plant chemistry” since 2017 and 2019, respectively.

CSU-Pueblo’s program “provides students an understanding of basic chemical and biological principles that can be applied to the emerging field of cannabis science,” according to a post on the university’s website. “Students will understand cannabis physiology and growth, the pharmaceutical implications, and the practical applications for the industry.” 

Students will be required to take several courses in biology and chemistry, as well as the CBC’s core classes, including a required seminar.

The “Frequently Asked Questions” on the university’s website include “What careers could I pursue with this degree?” (Agricultural science, biophysics and chemical technology, among others), “Why study cannabis biology and chemistry?” (“Educating students who are capable of understanding cannabis science is required for the industry in all its aspects to be effective and safe for the consumer”) and “Will I be able to work with marijuana or high THC cannabis while in this program?” (Yes, but not with a concentration of THC over 0.3 percent.)

Several commenters on the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Facebook post expressed their excitement. “i want to apply too i willing to help testing it,” one wrote. “Send link I want in,” another demanded. 

Concordia University students sue after being misled about university’s financial condition

Students are suing Concordia University, a Lutheran university in Portland, Ore., in the wake of its Feb. 10 announcement that it will close at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. 

Along with at least 50 other students, William Spaulding, a Concordia student, filed a class action lawsuit against the university, according to KGW8, a Portland-based news station. 

“Concordia University misled hundreds of students about its financial condition, and collected tuition in 2020 that students would not have paid had the students known the truth about Concordia University’s looming closure,” Spaulding argued in the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, Feb. 16. “Now many Concordia University students are left unable to graduate and with credits that cannot be directly transferred for credits of equal value at a different university.”

Spaulding alleged in the lawsuit that Concordia officials had been aware of the University’s financial troubles and impending closure since 2019 but did not inform the students until last week. He requested that the University pay back “the unlawful profits it received from the 2020 tuition dollars it collected from plaintiff and the other class members.” 

The Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine mistakenly accepts 364 students

On Thursday, Feb. 13., the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, based in Rochester, Minn., erroneously sent out acceptance letters to 364 med-school hopefuls.

“Soon after the emails were sent, a technical error was discovered and the letters of acceptance were withdrawn by email,” reads a statement on the school’s website. “All affected applicants have been contacted by phone.” 

According to CNN, the error arose from a vendor glitch, which led to acceptance letters being sent to every applicant who interviewed, only 46 of whom were intended to be accepted by the school. The Mayo Clinic’s medical school is one of the most selective in the country, with an acceptance rate of 2.1 percent in 2018, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“We deeply regret having caused disappointment and stress to these applicants, and we are continuing to investigate the issue,” the school’s statement concluded.

“It’s awful,” said Dean for Admissions J. Michael Bostwick, quoted on CNN. “We’re still not clear how this happened, and we’re so upset for these folks.”