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Quick Takes: What the Press Covers, Hawaii Drops Patents on Taro, Student Distress Over U.S. Direction, College Costs, Hazing Scandal Fells Coach, Getting Students to Vote, Promoting Student Responsibility, Texas Cuts, Big Ten TV

June 22, 2006
  • Reporters who cover higher education believe that they spend too much time on student housing, international issues and rankings, and not enough time on retention and remedial education, according to a survey by the Education Writers Association.
  • The University of Hawaii has relinquished its patent rights on three breeds of genetically enhanced taro plants, The Honolulu Advertiser reported. Native Hawaiian groups had been protesting the patents -- based on work by university researchers -- saying that no one should assert ownership of taro, which is considered a sacred plant by some groups.
  • More than 53 percent of colllege students at four-year institutions believe that the United States is headed in the wrong direction, a jump of 15 points in one year, according to a new survey by the Panetta Institute at California State University, Monterey Bay.
  • The Lumina Foundation for Education has announced a $25.5 million, five-year effort to support projects designed to make higher education more affordable and accessible. Grants will support various state efforts and also help spread the word about strategies being used that might be tried in other areas.
  • Northwestern University announced Wednesday that its women's soccer coach had resigned, in the wake of a controversy over hazing that prompted the team's suspension last month. Northwestern is one of numerous institutions that have been caught up in the publication by several Web sites, including Badjocks and The NCAA Is Weak on Hazing, of photographs of apparently drunk and occasionally nude athletes hazing, being hazed, or in post-hazing stupors.
  • A coalition of higher education groups has started a new effort for the 2006 elections to get more students registered to vote.
  • The Association of American Colleges and Universities announced Wednesday a new $2 million program, supported by the John Templeton Foundation, to work with colleges to promote students' personal and social responsibility. Programs will be designed that help encourage students' work ethic, sense of academic integrity, competence in moral reasoning, and vision of themselves as part of larger communities.
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch plans to eliminate about 1,000 jobs, about 100 of which will be faculty positions, to deal with a budget gap, The Houston Chronicle reported.
  • The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday that it is creating a cable network that will broadcast at least 35 football games, 105 men's basketball games, 55 women's basketball games, conference tournaments, as well as academic content provided by conference members. At the same time, the conference signed a new contract with ABC/ESPN.
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