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Harvard tries to woo old friend

Marcyliena Morgan, a hip-hop scholar now at Stanford, is again being wooed by Harvard. Marcyliena Morgan, a hip-hop scholar now at Stanford, is again being wooed by Harvard.

Harvard's African and African American Studies Department continues to try to undo what transpired during the Larry Summers era.

Last week, professors voted unanimously to ask top officials to make a tenured job offer to a Stanford hip-hop scholar, Marcyliena Morgan . The department had already tried to offer Morgan tenure two years ago, when she was an assistant professor at Harvard. But Summers, the president at the time, vetoed the move, and did not publicly say why.

Morgan and her husband, tenured sociologist Larry Bobo , promptly decamped to Stanford. They did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Before Summers left office in June, some Harvard professors began trying to recruit back the famed religion scholar, Cornel West , who took a job at Princeton after Summers criticized his teaching and scholarship. But West has signaled he plans to stay put.

Bobo and Morgan might be more easy to woo, since they're not that happy in Palo Alto, according to a Harvard professor, Jim Sidanius , who is a friend of theirs .

MAYOR'S HARSH GRADES: Mayor Tom Menino took a jab at community colleges last week at a Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast, where his proposal for moving City Hall to South Boston drew all of the attention.

Menino chided community colleges for low graduation rates. "They are failing our students, and failing our businesses," Menino said, according to a State House News Service report. "They are failing the cities, and towns, in this Commonwealth."

Stephen P. Tocco, chairman of the state Board of Higher Education, said he understood the mayor's frustration and that graduation rates need to improve. But Tocco said public schools and colleges would have to work together. The problem is a shared one: Too many students, many of them graduates of the city's high schools, require remediation courses in college, Tocco noted.

About two thirds of the 8,500 students at Bunker Hill Community College take at least one remedial course in math, reading, or writing. Mary L. Fifield, Bunker Hill's president, said she was hurt by the mayor's comments. "There never has been any rift between Bunker Hill and the mayor," she said.

JOINT MAJORS: The Colleges of the Fenway, a consortium of six colleges with 8,500 students, will launch its first joint major next fall: Environmental Sciences. The collaboration will allow students to pursue specialties in that major. Only one of the colleges may offer the major, but it would be available to students from all six colleges.

The members of the consortium are: Emmanuel College, Massachusetts College of Art, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Simmons College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Wheelock College.

COLLEGE PAPER THEFT: Someone apparently did not like the headlines in Suffolk's student newspaper. Last month, the Suffolk Journal ran a story on a reported sexual assault and another detailing the tricks students use to smuggle alcohol into the dorms -- even duct-taping bottles to their stomachs.

The following Saturday, hundreds of copies disappeared from the stands, said the editor-in-chief, Amanda Bellamy . It didn't seem like a coincidence to her: Suffolk was hosting an open house for prospective students that weekend.

The college would not comment, but Bellamy said a student had confessed to her, and said he had acted based on a miscommunication with an admissions official.

Campus Insider runs on alternate Sundays with Ask the Teacher, an advice column written by a teacher. To submit tips, e-mail

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