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Quick Takes: Hoax at Harvard, Travel Ban Upheld, Deal on Guns in Utah, Message for Governors, Chicago Won't Divest, Apologies at Clemson, 14 Years for Scientist Who Molested, Fighting at Islamic U., Poor Little Rich Heiress, Shower Manners at Yale

Quick Takes: Hoax at Harvard, Travel Ban Upheld, Deal on Guns in Utah, Message for Governors, Chicago Won't Divest, Apologies at Clemson, 14 Years for Scientist Who Molested, Fighting at Islamic U., Poor Little Rich Heiress, Shower Manners at Yale
February 5, 2007
  • No, Lawrence H. Summers isn't making a triumphal return to Harvard University's presidency. On Saturday, Harvard students received a mass e-mail, supposedly from the presidential search committee, announcing that the panel had determined that Summers was "best suited" as "Harvard's once and future president." The e-mail also announced a special forum to be held today on concerns about Summers, and invited students to apply for one of the limited spots at the forum by calling a number (which is actually a number at The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper). A bit later on Saturday, students received another e-mail, this one from an e-mail address -- gross@fas.harvard.edu -- that was designed to look like that of Benedict H. Gross, dean of Harvard College. The second e-mail (also a hoax, and not from Gross, who has a different e-mail address) announced that the first e-mail was a hoax, and that Harvard was as a result moving up the announcement that Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard's law school, was being named president. While Kagan has been identified (by sources more reliable than mass e-mails at Harvard) as someone under serious consideration for the presidency, so have several other candidates.
  • A federal judge on Friday upheld a Florida law that bars state-funded travel by students or professors to Cuba or to countries that the U.S. State Department designates as supporting terrorism, the Associated Press reported. The judge issued only a two-sentence order in the case, so his reasoning will become clear only when he releases a full order on the case this week.
  • The University of Utah and state legislators have reached a tentative deal on legislation that would allow the public colleges to bar guns in dormitories and faculty and staff offices, but not in most other places on campuses, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The univeristy wages an unsuccessful legal fight for the right to bar guns generally, but in December switched tactics to seek a legislative compromise.
  • Four former governors have written a letter to each current governor, telling the state leaders that the United States can "no longer afford to be complacent about the performance of higher education." The letters are personalized for each state and were accompanied by several recent reports about higher education. The four former governors who sent the letter are James B. Hunt Jr. of North Carolina, Garrey Carruthers of New Mexico, Frank Keating of Oklahoma, and Richard W. Riley of South Carolina, who served as education secretary under President Clinton.
  • The University of Chicago announced late Friday that it would not end its investments in Sudan to protest the genocide taking place there. As at other colleges, students at Chicago had pressured the Board of Trustees to take steps to divest all endowment holdings from companies and funds that, in one way or another, can be seen as supporting the Sudanese government. But in a statement published on the university's Web site, President Robert J. Zimmer said that the board had, "after lengthy discussions," "determined that it would not change its investment policy or its longstanding practice of not taking explicit positions on social and political issues that do not have a direct bearing on the university." Zimmer said the university had instead created a $200,000 fund to finance student and faculty efforts aimed at identifying "means to contribute to greater understanding of the conflict in Sudan in ways consonant with the university’s mission, with the hope of adding value to ongoing efforts to end this international crisis."
  • Fifteen Clemson University students who participated in a gang-themed party, full of racial stereotypes, that angered many fellow students, made individual apologies at a forum on the incident Thursday, the Associated Press reported. On the same day, hundreds of Tarleton State University students held a protest over a similar party at their institution.
  • A California judge on Friday sentenced William French Anderson, a prominent genetics scientist, to 14 years in prison for sexually abusing the daughter of one of the researchers in his laboratory at the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported. Anderson quit his Southern California position last year.
  • Islamic University, a Hamas-aligned institution in Gaza, has been the site of fierce fighting in recent days between supporters of Hamas and supporters of Fatah. The International Herald Tribune reported that 21 people have been killed in the fighting and the library and several other university buildings have been set on fire.
  • Her late father, who was owner of the Washington Redskins, left hundreds of millions of dollars to start the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which sponsors a series of programs to help bright, disadvantaged students, especially those at community colleges. Now Jacqueline Cook, who must make do on income from a $5 million trust her father left her, says she doesn't have enough money to go to college herself.  The Washington Post reported that she is suing her father's estate for $275 million. Her lawyers told the Post that she had been kicked out of Southern Methodist University for being behind $23,000 on tuition. But now George Washington University is offering to help her get admitted -- and financial aid.
  • A Yale University professor's e-mail -- subject line: "Shower Stalls are for Showering" -- about a student couple's use of a shower for "intimate activity" has set off considerable online discussion in New Haven and elsewhere, the AP reported. One couple has apparently been responsible for a flood and for leaving showers "in a decidedly less hygienic state," the e-mail said. The IvyGate blog features more details.
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