Welcome to Tuesday, March 1. Today, we explore how Russian and Ukrainian students in the United States are being affected by the war at home. A college president resigns amid accusations of harassment and discrimination. And San Diego State University considers whether to require faculty members to acknowledge on their syllabi the people who originally occupied the land that makes up the campus.

Today’s Briefing was written by Megan Zahneis, with contributions from Heidi Landecker and Julia Piper. Write us: megan.zahneis@chronicle.com.

Thousands of people attempt to flee Kyiv by rail at the city’s main train station.

What the Russia-Ukraine conflict means for students from both countries.

Higher-education groups are among nearly 200 organizations calling for special protections for Ukrainian students at American colleges, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it was cutting ties with a Russian university it helped found. Those are just two of the many ways the conflict in Ukraine is reverberating across American higher ed.

Meanwhile, some members of Congress are advocating that Russian students at American colleges — of whom there were about 5,000 in the 2020-21 academic year — be expelled in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, proposed that idea, later adding that it came from the intelligence community. “If their people feel isolated from the world, the opposition inside the country will grow,” Swalwell said.

International-education experts criticized the proposed expulsions in interviews with our Karin Fischer. But even if they aren’t ejected, Russian students could still be affected by the war at home. So could Ukrainian students, for whom higher-ed and humanitarian organizations have been marshaling support in recent days. Read Karin’s story for more.

Quick hits.

  • The president of Hennepin Technical College, in Minnesota, resigned on Monday over accusations that he harassed co-workers and discriminated against employees. Merrill Irving Jr. wrote in a letter to students and employees that “I realized the longer I stay in my role as president of HTC the more of a distraction it is to our college community.” (Star Tribune)
  • Art Briles, who was fired as the head football coach at Baylor University in 2016 after an investigation into sexual assaults by athletes, resigned on Monday as offensive coordinator at Grambling State University, just four days after being hired. (The Chronicle, USA Today)
  • Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has vetoed a bill that would have required students at the state’s public colleges to pass a competency exam in civics. Sununu, a Republican, said that the bill was unnecessary because the state’s high-school students will have to pass a similar exam beginning next year, and that he was concerned about the precedent set by the legislature’s imposing a universal graduation requirement. (Associated Press)
  • The University of Washington has returned a donor’s $5-million gift, which had helped create the institution’s Israel-studies program. The donor, Becky Benaroya, retracted her support after a professor who held the Benaroya endowed chair signed a statement criticizing Israel last year. (Forward)
  • Students at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are seeking voluntary union recognition from the university’s administration. An overwhelming majority of graduate workers signed cards in favor of forming a union with the Communications Workers of America. (Jacobin)

Should instructors be required to put land acknowledgments on their syllabi?

Faculty members at San Diego State University will meet today to reconsider a policy that has raised eyebrows nationwide: a requirement that instructors include on their syllabi a land acknowledgment — recognition of the people who first occupied the property. The mandate, which celebrates the legacy of the Indigenous Kumeyaay people on the land that makes up the campus, was passed in 2020 by the University Senate, but some faculty members have objected, saying that being forced to include the acknowledgment violates their academic freedom. They say the policy compels them to parrot a viewpoint they might not agree with. Our Sahalie Donaldson has more.

Stat of the day.


That’s how many 2021-22 Fulbright U.S. Scholars hail from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the most of any institution. Check out our breakdown of this year’s Fulbright awardees here.

Comings and goings.

  • Chris Markwood, president of Columbus State University since 2015, plans to step down on June 30. John Fuchko III, the University System of Georgia’s vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness, will serve as interim president.
  • Pat Pitney, interim president of the University of Alaska system since August 2020, has been named to the position permanently.
  • Steve K. Stoute, vice president and chief of staff at DePaul University, has been named president of Canisius College, in Buffalo. He will be the first person of color to lead the college.
  • Charles Moses, dean of the School of Management at the University of San Francisco, has been named dean of the Eberhardt School of Business at the University of the Pacific.


From our Heidi Landecker: Allan Metcalf, who died at age 81 on Thursday, wrote for The Chronicle’s blog about language every week for over seven years. He liked to focus on the history of American English, and on its historical champions.

Allan Metcalf LF Blogger

Some of the other bloggers tore their hair out when Allan annually devoted his column for the week around March 23 to the history of the word “OK” (because March 23, 1839, was the earliest instance of the word in print, as he wrote in OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word), inevitably mentioning his book with a link to buy it on Amazon. But I found that effort to keep the word’s history alive endearing. What I loved about Allan was that he didn’t need to write about a famous four-letter word for copulation, or read the entire Oxford English Dictionary, to write about language: His interests lay in everyday words. Another of his favorites was “guy, about whose past he wrote wisely, while perceiving its growing gender neutrality.

Allan didn’t shy away from contemporary topics. In “Bigly Is Huge,” he dug into the surprisingly deep history of a word favored by Donald Trump. At the end of the year that that president was elected, Allan wrote “Words for a Year of Fear.”

He wrote eight popular books, was a professor at MacMurray College for 46 years, and was executive secretary of the American Dialect Society for 37. In 1990 he founded ADS’s first Word of the Year contest. In the 2010s, I watched him deftly guide some 300 rowdy linguists at their annual conference into picking a word that captured the zeitgeist, in an hour. He ran that meeting with “a sense of genuine celebration of new words and language change,” writes Anne Curzan, dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan.

That task now falls to the language columnist Ben Zimmer, who, when asked about Allan, notes that we now have “a whole Word of the Year season with WOTY selections from dictionary publishers and other groups, but Allan had the idea first,” well before Oxford and the rest. “I consider it a great privilege to be entrusted with keeping the Metcalfian tradition going by overseeing ADS Word of the Year. ... I’ll always cherish memories of his great generosity of spirit and his dry, playful wit.”

As editor of his posts at The Chronicle, I took out the links to Allan’s books on Amazon, as too self-promoting. But here they are, so that his words live on.