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Quick Takes: U. of California Ordered to Repay Millions, Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Controversial Statue, MIT Will Match Pell Grants, Education Dept. Urged to Improve Grant Process, Strike Halts Most Classes at Ontario Community Colleges

March 7, 2006
  • A state judge has ordered the University of California to repay more than $33 million in tuition increases to students -- finding that the hikes violated pledges not to increase required fees, the Los Angeles Times reported. The largest increases (and the largest potential refunds) involve those who were enrolled at professional schools. University officials told the newspaper, however, that an appeal would be filed over their view that students were warned that increases in their costs were possible.
  • The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a ruling by a federal appeals court that Washburn University had not violated the separation of church and state by allowing into an exhibit a sculpture some Roman Catholics considered offensive. The sculpture, Holier Than Thou, shows what appears to be a cardinal, but some at the Kansas institution were upset by the holy man’s contorted expression and contended that the miter atop his head resembled a penis. The appeals court ruled that there was no reason to interpret the sculpture as a university endorsement of any particular view.
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced today that it will match Pell Grants -- effectively doubling their impact on low-income students at the institution.
  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report Monday calling for the Education Department to do a better job of following its own procedures on awarding grants. Closely following those rules and having them clearly understood would improve accountability, the report said.
  • Most classes at Ontario's community colleges have been called off because of a faculty strike that started this morning, The Globe and Mail reported. The union that represents faculty members says that contract talks fell apart over issues of educational quality -- particularly union demands for smaller class sizes so that faculty members could work more closely with studetns. But college officials told The Globe and Mail that the institutions had made generous wage offers and couldn't afford to spend more. Some evening classes that are taught by non-unionized faculty members will continue, but colleges have suspended other classes.
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