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Quick Takes: History vs. ABC, Randolph-Macon to Admit Men, Senators and Spellings, Plagiarism Double Standard?, Rutgers Patent, Tenn. Desegregation, Contract at Emerson, Dean Quits After Attack on Spouse, ID Theft, More Saudis in U.S., Earmark Answers

September 11, 2006
  • A group of leading historians has published an open letter calling on ABC to cancel "The Path to 9/11," which the network calls a "dramatization" of the events leading up to the terror attacks that took place five years ago today. The historians' letter cites "numerous flagrant falsehoods" that it says make the show inappropriate. ABC is scheduled to show the conclusion of the program tonight.
  • Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a single-sex institution for 115 years, will allow men to enroll, beginning next fall. The 25-2 vote by the college's board Saturday was expected. The board will vote on a new name for the college in October.  “This announcement resonates with both loss and hope, tears and anticipation,” said Jolley B. Christman, the board president. While college leaders said the shrinking market for women’s colleges precipitated a change, some alumnae have blamed poor financial management for the sinking endowment. Hundreds of alumnae signed an online petition asking for trustees to turn over financial documents or delay the vote. “We’re still not convinced. We’re ready to fight this,” said Erin Briggs, press contact for the Coalition to Preserve Women’s Education. “We respect the decision, but we aren't done having our say.”
  • Twelve of the 20 members of the U.S. Senate's education committee have written a letter to Secretary Margaret Spellings questioning the Education Department's plan to use an upcoming "negotiated rule making" process to consider implementing some of the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The bipartisan letter, signed by Sens. Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the committee's chairman and senior Democrat, as well as 5 other lawmakers from each party, said the senators "have concerns" about including the commission's recommendations in the regulatory process. "Although we have not yet received the final report, the draft recommendations approved by a majority of the Commission members are extremely broad and will likely require legislative action before they could be appropriately included in regulations," the lawmakers wrote.
  • Some Stanford University students say that the institution has a double standard on plagiarism, holding students responsible while looking the other way at apparently common practices used by others, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The issue was raised after students examined a speech by George Shultz, a professor who was formerly U.S. secretary of state. Parts of the speech were prepared by a co-author who took passages from a journal article he had written, but that was not cited in the address.
  • Rutgers University is suing General Motors, charging that its OnStar service for connecting drivers with emergency help violates a university patent, the Associated Press reported. GM is not commenting on the suit, but OnStar is used by millions of drivers.
  • Tennessee higher education and government leaders are expected today to announce an agreement to end a longstanding desegregation case, under which the state has focused on goals for improving diversity of the public colleges' student bodies, the AP reported.
  • After long and tense negotiations, Emerson College and its faculty union have reached agreement on a new contract, The Boston Globe reported. The agreement limits the power of the union in certain areas (such as tenure), but provides more assurances of faculty rights in the college's faculty handbook.
  • Valerie Parisi has quit as dean of medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, following a physical attack in July by unidentified men on her husband, The Galveston County Daily News reported. The attackers made statements suggesting that they were angry at Parisi over layoffs she proposed to deal with budget cuts.
  • A student at Bronx Community College, who worked in the student health center and had access to many students' identifying information, has been indicted on charges that she stole the identities of dozens of fellow students and used credit card fraud to obtain plasma televisions and many other goods, the AP reported. The scheme allegedly involved the student's brothers, who were also charged. Their lawyer had no comment.
  • An agreement between President Bush and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is resulting in thousands of additional students from Saudi Arabia enrolling at colleges in the United States, all with full scholarships paid by the Saudi government, according to the AP. The generous aid packages -- for which some 15,000 students will have been enrolled by January -- have led many American universities to recruit the Saudis.
  • Only 14 of the 110 colleges and universities that received information requests from a U.S. senator responded to his queries by the Sept. 1 deadline, according to the journal Science. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) sent the colleges letters in July asking for information about their earmarks and their use of lobbyists to obtain them.
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