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Quick Takes: $101 Million Arts Gift at Princeton, Indictment for Lab Arson, Bridgewater Students Charged in Stabbing, President Quits Troubled Medical University, '2020 Vision' for NSF, Does Higher Ed Encourage Belief in Ghosts?

January 23, 2006
  • Princeton University on Saturday announced a gift of $101 million to support the arts. Peter B. Lewis, a Princeton trustee and a major arts philanthropist, is making the donation. Also Saturday, Princeton released a report on how the university can enhance the arts with the gift and through other efforts. Among the plans: creating a new center for performing and creative arts, developing a fellowship program for early-career artist/scholars to teach and create their art at Princeton, adding a new scholarly research program on the arts, and improving numerous facilities used in the creative and performing arts.
  • The Justice Department on Friday announced the indictments of 11 people charged with a series of vandalism attacks in Western states, acting on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. One of the attacks involved a university: a fire bombing at a University of Washington horticulture laboratory in 2001. The defendants -- some in jail and some believed to be outside the United States -- were not available for comment. But after the arson attack at Washington, the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack and said that the group objected to work being done in the lab to genetically engineer trees. University officials said that no work on genetic eningeering was done in the lab, which suffered extensive damage, setting back numerous research projects. A year ago, the university celebrated the re-opening of the facility.
  • Students and professors at Bridgewater State College, in Massachusetts, have been stunned this weekend by the arrests of two students, charged in the fatal stabbing of an alumnus, The Boston Globe reported. The stabbing took place at a bar off-campus. The students who have been arrested have denied the charges, the Globe reported, but the college has issued a statement indicating that they are no longer on campus.
  • John Petillo, president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, has agreed to quit in return for one year's salary, The Star-Ledger reported. The university has been engulfed in a series of scandals over contracts and management, and the deal for Petillo to leave was reportedly brokered by the state's new governor, Jon Corzine.
  • At Congress's direction, the National Science Board has laid out a strategic plan for a "bold new vision for the National Science Foundation. The report, "2020 Vision for the National Science Foundation," calls for the agency to sponsor "fundamental and transformative research," sustaining a "world class" science and engineering work force, and building the American research capacity through "critical investments in infrastructure," among other priorities.
  • A new study by two professors has found that college seniors and graduate students are more likely than freshmen to believe in haunted houses, telepathy and channeling.
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