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Quick Takes: $175M for USC Film School, Gun Ban LIfted at Utah, Arrests in Duquesne Shootings, Dean Faces Drug Charge, Harvard Endowment Tops $29B, Spellings Gets Report, Mascot Suit Rejected, Cornell Copyright Rules, Constitution Day at Florida Atlantic

September 20, 2006
  • The private foundation of filmmaker George Lucas is donating $175 million to the film school of the University of Southern California -- $75 million for facilities and $100 million for the endowment. The gift is the largest in the university's history. Officials had not been planning to announce the donation until next month, but did so quickly Tuesday when details were learned by the Los Angeles Times.
  • The University of Utah has lifted -- pending court appeals and legislative negotiations -- its ban on bringing guns on campus. The Utah Supreme Court ruled this month that the university could not ban guns from campus as state law bars government entities from enacting such prohibitions. The university is appealing in federal courts, arguing that the state law infringes on its academic freedom.
  • Pittsburgh police arrested a local 19-year-old man and a female Duquesne University student in the continuing investigation into the shootings of five basketball players this weekend, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Police documents indicated that the student, a member of the Black Student Union, helped her associates -- including the man arrested and another man police are seeking -- bring guns into a dance sponsored by the Black Student Union, even though Duquesne bars firearms from campus.
  • Mohsen Anvari, dean of the University of San Diego business school, was arrested in Ohio Saturday on charges of trying to buy a controlled substance, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. A university spokeswoman told the newspaper that the institution was gathering information about the arrest. Anvari was formerly a business dean at Case Western Reserve University.
  • Harvard University's endowment -- the largest in the United States -- earned a 16.7 percent return in the year ending June 30, 2006, bringing its value to $29.2 billion.
  • Charles Miller, chairman of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, delivered the final version of the panel's report to the secretary herself, Margaret Spellings, on Tuesday. The report, "A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education," is little changed from the final draft that the commission's members approved by an 18 to 1 vote last month. Apart from a controversial change in language that softened the panel's support for open source software, the only other alterations were the addition of charts and several "best practices" case studies, which examine the California State University system's campaign to reach out to underserved students in their communities, the National Center for Academic Transformation's efforts to improve the efficiency of teaching and learning, and the innovative curriculum at Neumont University (yes, Neumont University), a for-profit institution in Salt Lake City. Spellings said in a statement that she looks forward to "announcing my plans for the future of higher education" next Tuesday at a previously announced luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington.
  • An Illinois appeals on court on Tuesday rejected, in a 2-1 vote, a suit arguing that the Chief Illiniwek mascot of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign humiliates Native American students and discourages them from attending university events, the Chicago Tribune reported. While university officials have defended the mascot in court, unconfirmed, widesprad reports suggest that Illinois will soon abandon the chief to comply with National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.
  • Cornell University, facing criticism from publishers, has issued new guidelines on how copyright applies to electronic reserve material.
  • Congress last year ordered colleges receiving federal funds to honor Constitution Day every September with some formal event. Most colleges organized lectures or displays. At Florida Atlantic University this year, students helped to organize a simulation on part of the campus so students would appreciate the U.S. Constitution. The Palm Beach Post reported that student groups created "the Kingdom of the Socialst States of the People's Republic of Boca Raton," where fraternity members created "police squads" to squelch free speech and to separate friends from talking because there is no right to assembly. Several hundred students participated.
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