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Quick Takes: No Confidence in Iowa Regents, Wash. State Dispute, Honoring Cop Killer, Harvard Panel Withdraws Religion Plan, Purdue Rejects Demands, Influence of Bill Gates, Probation for American InterContinental, Community College Grants, UCLA Hacking

December 13, 2006
  • By a vote of 62 to 1 Tuesday, the Faculty Senate at the University of Iowa voted no confidence in the state's Board of Regents, which has faced increasing criticism over its handling of the search for a president at the university. A statement by Shelly Kurtz, a law professor who leads the Faculty Senate, outlined what many professors consider to be a series of mistakes by the regents, who rejected a slate of finalists and are seen by many on the campus as having repeatedly changed direction and priorities for the search, while ignoring the views of faculty members and others.
  • An investigation by Washington State University has found that a professor who cursed at students building a wall to demonstrate their support for a wall on the Mexican border engaged in "immature" behavior, but that he did not show bias, The Spokesman Review reported. College Republicans who built the wall have been demanding that the professor be fired, but he and others have noted that the Republicans went ahead with their wall despite being warned that it might provoke strong emotions on the campus.
  • Police groups are demanding that City College of the City University of New York change the name of a room in a community center on campus that currently honors Assata Shakur, who was convicted in the 1973 shooting death of a New Jersey state trooper and who escaped from jail and is now living in Cuba, The New York Daily News reported. The room has apparently had the name since 1989, but police groups only recently learned of it, setting off demands that the name be changed.
  • A panel that proposed a major overhaul of Harvard University's undergraduate curriculum has changed one of its more talked-about ideas: a requirement that all students take a course on religion. The Boston Globe reported that the panel has broadened that proposal to "what it means to be a human being," rather than just issues of religion and faith. Harvard's curriculur review has drawn generally good reviews, with many praising the proposed religion requirement while others -- including Steven Pinker -- have questioned the idea. The faculty review of the proposals will continue in the months ahead.
  • Purdue University defied the wishes of student hunger strikers Tuesday with an announcement that it would not adopt the Designated Suppliers Program, an anti-sweatshop initiative. The 26-day-old strike involves about a dozen students, who said Tuesday that as of now, at least, they're not calling off their fast.
  • Bill Gates is more influential than President Bush and Richard W. Riley (President Clinton's education secretary) is more influential than Margaret M. Spellings (President Bush's education secretary), according to an analysis of who influences education policy (mostly at the K-12 level) released today by Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week.
  • American InterContinental University has had its probation extended for a second year by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Career Education Corp., which operates American InterContinental, announced Tuesday. The Southern accreditor had placed the university on a 12-month probation last December, for falling short of a wide range of the group’s standards, including among other things the “integrity of student academic records and accuracy in recruiting and admission practices.” Under the regional accreditor's bylaws, an institution may remain on probation for only two years, after which it can either regain its accreditation or lose it. American InterContinental remains accredited in the interim. Career Education also announced Tuesday that American InterContinental and seven of its other campuses had received word last month that the Education Department plans to conduct program reviews to examine their compliance with federal rules.
  • About 70 community colleges will share nearly $125 million in grants awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor in the second year of the Community-Based Job Training Initiative. The program awards competitive grants to two-year colleges to train workers in high-demand fields, such as health care, biotechnology and aerospace.
  • The University of California at Los Angeles is notifying about 800,000 people that some of their personal information may have been available to a hacker who intruded into parts of the university's computer network. Those whose identifying information may have been seen include current and former students, professors and other employees, plus applicants and the parents of applicants who applied for financial aid.
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