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Quick Takes: Southern-New Orleans Slashes Programs, Enrollment Stability, Conservatives Bash Wellesley, American Distance Ed in India, Ford Grants for 'Difficult Dialogues'

December 12, 2005
  • Southern University's board approved a plan Friday to make radical cuts in programs offered in New Orleans, eliminating many academic programs, The Baton Rouge Advocate reported. In place of the eliminated programs, the university's Katrina-damaged New Orleans campus will focus on community develoment. Many faculty members are furious about the changes, the newspaper said.
  • Enrollments are steady or improving at most colleges this fall, according to a survey by Fitch Ratings of the institutions for which it provides bond ratings. Fitch also found that few of the institutions that reported declines this year had declines last year, meaning that there are very few institutions with steadily shrinking enrollments.
  • Conservative groups are attacking a contract awarded by the Defense Department to Wellesley College to help the Pentagon create better ways for military women to report incidents where they have been harassed, and to help harassment victims, The Boston Globe reported. The Pentagon has previously been criticized for not doing enough for such women. But the Globe reported that conservatives are upset by Wellesley's involvement. Phyllis Shlafly told the newspaper that Wellesley was a bad choice to help on the project because the college is "completely feminist."
  • The Indian government last week announced a new agreement under which faculty members from leading American universities would provide distance education courses at universities in India. In July, another group of American universities announced such an arrangement with India.
  • The Ford Foundation today announced its first "Difficult Dialogue" grants -- in which 26 colleges will each receive $100,000 to promote campus discussions on academic freedom and free speech while also promoting discussion of sometimes contentious issues about political and racial and ethnic issues.
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