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Quick Takes: Details on Language Efforts, UMass Phasing Out Race-Specific Housing, Loan Regulations, Gay Activists Arrested at Liberty, Oregon Backs Away From Diversity Rule, Shifts at Rutgers, Texas Students Killed, Mont. Board Chair Quits

March 13, 2006
  • Federal agencies have released new details on the Bush administration's plans to improve study of foreign languages, especially those that relate to national security. A fact sheet provides more details on which parts of which agencies will be handling various programs and some additional information on how some of them will work.
  • More than 20 gay activists were arrested on trespassing charges Friday as they attempted to visit Liberty University's campus, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported. The university had previously asked them not to come. The visit is part of Equality Ride, in which supporters of gay rights are visiting religious and military colleges that discriminate against gay people.
  • The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is moving to end race-specific dormitory areas that have been popular with some minority students, but that officials say have led to a sense of segregation in housing, The Boston Globe reported. Students with common academic interests would still be able to try to live in the same dormitory area.
  • The U.S. Education Department announced Friday that it would continue to provide incentives to borrowers in the federal government's direct student loan program to pay their loans on time. The department's ability to offer those incentives had potentially been put at risk by budget reconciliation legislation enacted by Congress in December. The news was included in a letter laying out the department's plans for carrying out various changes in the two federal student loan programs made in that legislation.
  • A revised diversity plan at the University of Oregon no longer includes "cultural competency" among criteria for hiring and promotion of faculty members, The Oregonian reported. Inclusion of that language in an earlier draft was praised by some advocates of affirmative action and was criticized by many other faculty members.
  • The Rutgers University Board of Governors approved a reorganization plan Friday that will combine arts and sciences colleges at the system's flagship campus at New Brunswick, lead to the creation of a new core curriculum, and create a series of new programs to promote improvements in undergraduate education. Much of the discussion of the plan focused on the impact the plan would have on the women's college at the university, but criticism of including the college in the merged arts and sciences division largely dropped last week with pledges to create a new residential program for women.
  • Five undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin were killed Thursday night when a tractor-trailer struck their car, The Houston Chronicle reported. The students were en route to a conference for a pre-med honor socifety, in St. Louis.
  • The chairman of the Montana Board of Regents quit Saturday, blasting a number of policies with which he disagrees, The Missoulian reported.
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