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Quick Takes: Oversight Proposed for Testing Industry, McCain Heckled, Family Business, Hackers at Ohio U., Vermont Won't Buy New Campus, St. Ambrose Won't Help Break a Strike, Columbia to Seek $4B, Brandeis Considers How Jewish to Be

May 22, 2006
  • A key New York legislator has introduced a bill in the state Senate to impose a new $1 tax on each standardized admissions test given to create a state board to oversee the testing industry, The New York Times reported. While the legislation was prompted by recent scoring errors on the SAT, the proposal would apply to all admissions tests. New York State has historically been the trend-setter in regulating testing, with its legislation spreading elsewhere. The College Board released a letter saying that the proposed legislation would have "significant operational and financial implications" and that parts of the bill were "inconsistent with professional standards," but the board did not identify those provisions.
  • Graduates booed and heckled Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican, during his commencement speech at the New School on Friday, the Associated Press reported. Students and professors have been protesting McCain's selection as graduation speaker for weeks, citing his support for the war in Iraq and opposition to gay rights, among other issues.
  • The chancellor of the Alabama community college system and his family members received $560,000 for jobs and contracts they held with the system last year, The Birmingham News reported. Among those receiving funds from the system or its colleges were the chancellor, Roy Johnson, his wife, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law. While some Alabama officials are raising questions, Johnson told the newspaper that there was nothing inappropriate or surprising because 'we are a family of educators."
  • Ohio University is undertaking a broad reorganization of its computer services department following the discovery of how much control hackers had over its computer networks, CNET News reported. Hackers may have had access to a server that contained the Social Security numbers of 137,000 people, the article said.
  • The University of Vermont's board on Saturday rejected a proposal to buy Vermont College, most of its academic programs, and its Montpelier campus, The Times Argus reported. Union Institute and University, which owns Vermont College, announced the proposed sale in April and officials indicated that they would now seek another buyer.
  • St. Ambrose University has backed out of a deal to make some of its dormitory rooms available to Alcoa to house replacement workers during a possible strike, The Quad-City Times reported. Some alumni and others of the Davenport, Iowa, institution said that helping the company deal with a strike would be inconsistent with the social justice ideals of the Roman Catholic institution.
  • Columbia University is planning a fund raising campaign with a target of $4 billion, a new record for higher education, according to The New York Times. That goal would be more money than has been raised in any campaign to date. The University of California at Los Angeles announced in February that its campaign had raised $3 billion -- a record in American higher education. Precise comparisons of colleges' campaigns are difficult, however, because some -- like UCLA's drive -- extend beyond the traditional time period for a campaign.
  • Brandeis University is once again debating how Jewish it should be, The Boston Globe reported. Brandeis was founded by Jews, in an era when many top private universities had anti-Jewish quotas, and so has always attracted many Jewish students despite not being an officially Jewish institution. The latest debate at Brandeis follows a column by a Jewish student in the student paper who wrote that the university needed more non-Jewish students.
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