The New York City campus being created by Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on Monday announced a $133 million gift from Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Cornell alumni who are longtime givers to their alma mater and to the Technion. The new technology-oriented campus was the result of a competition organized by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has posed the question of whether student visas should be suspended in light of the Boston Marathon bombing. Although neither of the suspected bombers was in the United States on student visas (one was a permanent resident, and the other a naturalized citizen), Paul nonetheless raises the student visa system as an area of concern in a letter about national security and the immigration system, asking: “Finally, do we need to take a hard look at student visas? Should we suspend student visas, or at least those from high-risk areas, pending an investigation into the national security implications of this program?”
Paul raises the issue of potential flaws in the student visa system, as well as in the system for admitting refugees, as part of his broader point that the Senate should not proceed in enacting comprehensive immigration reform "until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism?"
The American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman is creating a $300 million scholarship program that he hopes will be a Chinese counterpart to the Rhodes, The New York Timesreported. The scholarship would annually support 200 students enrolling in yearlong master’s programs at Tsinghua University, in Beijing.
It’s anticipated that 45 percent of the Schwarzman Scholars will come from the U.S., 20 percent from China, and 35 percent from other countries. The students will live in a new residential college facility, Schwarzman College, for which ground breaking is scheduled for later this year.
Schwarzman said he is personally committing $100 million and is raising the additional funds from private donors, including Bank of America, Boeing, BP, Caterpillar, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal foundation. The Times notes that the endowment for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which supports study at Oxford, is currently about $203 million.
Iranian officials have warned citizens there not to view a Farsi-language blog operated by Haifa University,The Times of Israelreported. The warning followed reports in Iran about the popularity of the blog, which says it has more than 100,000 visits a month. One warning sent to Iranians said: "Beware of this site; it’s meant to recruit spies for the oppressing Zionist regime."
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has rejected calls to fire the education and science minister, Dmitry Livanov, The Moscow Timesreported. Livanov has attracted controversy for seeking to reduce the number of universities through mergers or closures and decrease the number of state-funded student placements.
"I believe that a minister whom everybody likes is a person who most likely doesn't cope very well with his duties," Medvedev reportedly said.
Students at the London School of Economics have criticized their institution for its decision to expose the fact that BBC journalists accompanied them on a trip to North Korea, Times Higher Educationreported. The university has lambasted the British broadcaster for using a student organization’s trip as “cover” for the filming of a documentary, arguing that “the students were not given enough information to enable informed consent, yet were given enough to put them in serious danger if the subterfuge had been uncovered prior to their departure from North Korea.” However, six of the 10 students on the trip have now issued a statement arguing that the university has further endangered them by publicizing the situation.
“We feel that we have now been put in more risk than was originally the case, as a result of the LSE’s decision to go public with their story,” the students said, adding that they had not all been consulted by LSE officials regarding their own accounts of the trip.
The students said they were informed in London that a journalist would be accompanying them and of the risk of deportation or detention if that were discovered. LSE stands by its assertion that the students were not fully informed of the risks.