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Quick Takes: Scholars Back Churchill, Stem Cell Patents Questioned, Compromise Proposed at Eastern Mich., Murder-Suicide at U. of Wash., Norfolk State Student Charged in Stabbing, Dartmouth Sued for $20M, Westfield State Incorrectly Accepts Applicants

April 3, 2007
  • Eleven scholars have published a full-page ad in The New York Review of Books to try to rally support for Ward Churchill, who is facing possible dismissal from his tenured job at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The text of the ad is available at a Web site called "Defend Critical Thinking," and focuses on the way charges of misconduct were brought against Churchill, not the charges themselves. The ad warns scholars to "be wary of opportunistic attacks on scholarship that are disguised means of sanctioning critics and stifling the free expression of ideas," adding: "It may be that aspects of Churchill's large body of published writings were vulnerable to responsible academic criticism, but the proceedings against him were not undertaken because of efforts to uphold high scholarly standards, but to provide a more acceptable basis for giving in to the right-wing pressures resulting from his 9/11 remarks." Among those signing: Derrick Bell of New York University, Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, and Howard Zinn of Boston University.
  • The U.S. Patent Office on Monday found that the University of Wisconsin overreached in its patent claims dealing with stem cells, The Sacramento Bee reported. Wisconsin officials have not said if they will appeal, but some researchers outside Wisconsin have been concerned that the patent claims might hinder research.
  • An independent fact finder on Monday released a report offering a compromise plan in the dispute between Eastern Michigan University and its faculty union, a unit of the American Association of University Professors. The Detroit News reported that the compromise backed the union's salary demands, but backed the administration's demand that the professors contribute more toward health care costs. Union leaders said that they would accept the deal, but the administration has yet to comment. The dispute led to a strike in September.
  • A staff member at the University of Washington was killed on campus Monday by a man who had been stalking her, and who then apparently killed himself, The Seattle Times reported.
  • A student at Norfolk State University was charged Monday in the stabbing death of another student, The Virginian Pilot reported.
  • The parents of a student who died from injuries suffered during a Dartmouth College ski program are suing the college for $20 million, the Associated Press reported. The student wasn't wearing a helmet when she crashed into a tree and the suit charges that she was sent down a slope alone, even though she was a beginner. The college did not respond to AP inquiries, but now requires all ski students to wear helmets.
  • Westfield State College, in Massachusetts, last week sent some high school students acceptance letters into the college's education program and then followed up with letters saying that the acceptances were in error, The Republican reported.
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