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Quick Takes: Replies on Earmarks, $100M for Yeshiva, Universities Praise Picks for Panel, Strike Suspended at Eastern Michigan, Elite Colleges Urged to Diversify High Schools, Grants for Black Colleges, Stanford Bans Drug Company Gifts, Hack at MIT

September 13, 2006
  • Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has released the replies he has received from colleges and universities about the earmarks they receive. Most colleges did end up replying or saying that they were working on his request. Coburn criticized those colleges that didn't respond, and said he planned to hold hearings on earmarks.
  • Yeshiva University is today announcing a $100 million gift from Ronald P. Stanton, an oil executive, the Associated Press reported. The gift will support faculty recruitment, research and university facilities.
  • The Commerce Department on Tuesday named a panel of business leaders and academics to recommend policy on "deemed export" rules, a complicated series of regulations that could apply to university research involving foreign graduate students and scholars. The department agreed to create the panel amid concern that rules the department had proposed -- and has since withdrawn -- would hinder academic research by discouraging foreign scientists from working in the United States. The new panel will be led by Robert Gates, president of Texas A&M University, and Norman Augustine, the retired CEO of Lockheed Martin and a strong proponent of academic science. The Association of American Universities released a statement praising the selections for the panel.
  • The faculty union at Eastern Michigan University agreed to suspend its strike on Tuesday, and the university agreed to resume negotiations. Professors have been on strike in a dispute over salaries and payments for health insurance.
  • A prominent civil rights lawyer and former college president urged elite colleges Tuesday to begin giving preference in the admissions process to applicants who have attended a racially and socioeconomically diverse high school. Speaking at a conference on access to higher education for low income students, Julius L. Chambers, former chancellor of North Carolina Central University and now director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said that giving such a "tip" in the admissions process might help reverse the trend in which many parents of white students pull their children from the public schools because they believe their children will have a better chance of getting into selective colleges from private or suburban schools. "Concerned about the individual academic achievement of their children, many families have spurned diverse high schools," Chambers said. "They would gladly send their children to heterogeneous high schools if they believed the child’s access to the college of their choice would be promoted.... I firmly believe that elite colleges and universities have the knowledge, tools and interest to help ensure that America’s public schools remain economically and racially integrated."
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a total of $10.4 million to 13 historically black colleges to help them revitalize their neighborhoods. The largest grants ($2 million each) are going to two institutions hurt by Hurricane Katrina: Xavier University of Louisiana and Dillard University.
  • The Stanford University Medical Center on Tuesday announced that it would ban all gifts from drug companies to physicians affiliated with the university. The policy comes amid growing concern about ethics experts that these gifts inappropriately influence medical care and research.
  • In the latest "hack" by Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, a fire truck was placed on top of the Great Dome.
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