More flap over chicken: Students at Davidson College, near Charlotte, N.C., decided earlier this week that they would no longer serve Chick-fil-A during monthly social events. Despite the school's Presbyterian roots and loose affiliation with the PCUSA, the students are offended by Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's affirmation of traditional marriage. But Davidson's College Union only served the chicken sandwiches about twice a year during the "After Midnight" events, so its decision not to "eat mor chikin" isn't likely to hurt one of the nation's most profitable fast food chains much.
But Chick-fil-A faces a more serious fight on other college campuses, where the restaurants have contracts for space in dining halls and student centers. Several schools have successfully blocked the company's attempt to set up shop on campus. Others have said they want to remove the Atlanta-based chain from its existing campus locations. Campus Pride--one of the largest groups of LGBT college students nationwide--announced this week it plans to lobby food service contractor to end contracts with Chick-fil-A. According to a report in the online news site metro.us, the strategy might work. Two of the three food service providers, Aramark and Sodexo, have been deemed "LGBT-friendly" corporations by the Human Rights Campaign, a group that seeks equal rights for the LGBT community.
Free books: Rice University, in Houston, Texas, has launched a textbook publishing service that offers free downloads of its titles, according to a story this week in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The OpenStax publishing model pairs books with corporate sponsors, who will share in any revenue generated by purchases of add-on content, like homework help. For now, foundations are footing the bill for developing the books. OpenStax's first two offerings are for introductory courses in physics and sociology. The next three planned titles will cover anatomy and biology. Several universities, including the College of William and Mary, in Virginia, Ohio's Miami University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, have agreed to use the books this fall. OpenStax estimates it could save one million students $95 million within five years.
Treading carefully: This story is like a bad tennis match. It just keeps going back and forth. Israeli officials at first denied official recognition for Ariel University Center, in one of the country's West Bank settlements. A committee overseeing higher education reversed the government's decision. But now, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is holding up the school's upgrade to full university status because of its security and diplomatic implications, the Associated Press reported this week. Israel has allowed the community of Ariel to expand in recent years. But any changes in the area could spark tensions with the Palestinians over settlements in disputed areas to erupt into another violent conflict.