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Quick Takes: Virginia Tech's Plans for Semester, House Panel Passes NSF Bill, Worries at Berkeley on Impact of $500M Deal, Hunger Strike at Stanford, NCAA Probation for Louisiana-Lafayette, Professor McGreevey, Taiwanese Legislators Stage Mock Attack

April 20, 2007
  • Virginia Tech on Thursday announced how it would respond to academic issues raised by Monday's tragedy. The students who were killed will be posthumously awarded the degrees they were seeking. All students are receiving options with regard to grading for the semester: They can be evaluated based on work completed prior to the shootings, based on that material plus anything else they wish to submit, or based on all material planned for the course. Classes at the university resume on Monday.
  • The U.S. House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education on Thursday approved a bill to reauthorize the National Science Foundation through 2010. The bill authorizes increases in federal spending on research supported by the NSF as well as new efforts on education, such as programs to attract more math and science teachers.
  • Faculty members at the University of California at Berkeley had a lengthy debate Thursday about a $500 million research collaboration between the university and the energy giant BP, seen by some professors as giving the company too much influence, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Academic Senate in the end rejected proposals that would have given faculty the right to reject the deal, but did pass resolutions saying that funds should not be rejected just because of their source, but that a greater faculty oversight and advisory role is needed for the project.
  • A hunger strike by some students has gone on for more than a week at Stanford University, seeking better wages and benefits for some janitors, groundskeepers, and other employees on the low end of Stanford's salary scale, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. One sophomore was given fluids Thursday after checking herself into a heealth clinic. The students say that Stanford is violating earlier pledges it made about employee conditions. The university has said it is concerned abnout the protesting students, and its employees, but that some of the student demands are unrealistic.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association placed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on two years' probation, stripped it of a basketball scholarship and team and individual records, and required it to repay championship funds it earned after concluding that a star player had competed when he should have been academically ineligible. The Division I Committee on Infractions found that a men's basketball player had used correspondence courses taken at another institution to remain eligible, in violation of NCAA rules, and that academic officials in the athletics department had "failed to catch the obvious error," leading the committee to find a lack of institutional control at Louisiana-Lafayette.  The panel also found violations in the university's football program.
  • James E. McGreevey, who resigned as governor of New Jersey in 2004 after a tenure in which he faced many questions about ethics, has been hired to teach ethics, among other topics, at Kean University, The Star-Ledger reported. McGreevey will earn $17,500 for the part-time work, which will increase the size of his eventual state pension. While university officials said that McGreevey's hiring was a coup, others were critical. Tom Wilson, the state Republican chairman, said: "Jim McGreevey teaching law and ethics is a little bit like Dr. Kevorkian teaching health maintenance."
  • Two Taiwanese legislators stunned students at National Taiwan University by staging a mock attack in a building where students were taking exams, Reuters reported. The incident was part of an effort by the legislators to test the university's preparedness for an attack such as the one that took place at Virginia Tech on Monday.
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