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Quick Takes: Cuomo Sees Redlining in Student Loans, Duke Settles With Lacrosse Players, Kentucky Adjusts Domestic Partner Benefits, Audit Prompts Resignation, Virginia Intermont Survives, Yeshiva U.'s Anti-Boycott Stance, Wiki Reality Challenged

June 19, 2007
  • Andrew Cuomo, attorney general of New York State, sent a letter to Congress Monday describing his concern over redlining-type practices by "a significant number of lenders" in the student loan industry, The New York Times reported. In this case, he said that some lenders -- whom he did not name -- are setting interest rates on private loans on a college-by-college basis, based on default rates. As a result, students whose personal situations make them good credit risks may be punished with a high interest rate because of the college they attend. Some bankers told the Times it was appropriate for them to consider factors such as a college's default rate.
  • Duke University and the three lacrosse players falsely accused of rape last year on Monday announced a settlement to preclude any litigation against the university. Details of the settlement were not released, but Duke's board and president released a statement expressing regret for what the players went through and praising the "great dignity" they demonstrated. The players in turn released a statement in which they expressed hope that the tensions of the last year at Duke would be resolved.
  • The University of Kentucky announced changes Monday in its new domestic partner benefits. The changes broaden the benefit to be available to those who meet certain conditions and live with the university employee, and remove the need to classify a recipient as a domestic partner. The changes follow an approach suggested by Kentucky's attorney general, who suggested that Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage barred state institutions from offering domestic partner benefits. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that advocates of domestic partner benefits praised the shift at Kentucky as a way to preserve benefits for gay employees. The changes at Kentucky follow a similar shift at Michigan State University, in response to a state court ruling in that state.
  • A professor who ran a business institute at the University of Colorado at Denver has repaid more than $250,000 from a federal grant that was inappropriately used for personal travel and other personal expenses, The Rocky Mountain News reported. In return for repaying the money and resigning, Donald Stevens was allowed to retire with regular benefits. The newspaper reported that questionable expenses uncovered in an audit included trips to Finland, Norway, Iceland, Belize and China that were determined to be "personal in nature." In addition, the audit found that a delegation's 16-day trip to India featured only 4 days of work, while the rest of the time was spent on "such activities as safaris, elephant rides and tours of palaces."
  • Virginia Intermont College, a small Baptist institution that earlier this year announced it might not be open in the fall, announced Monday that it has enough money to offer contracts to professors, the Associated Press reported.
  • Richard Joel, the president of Yeshiva University, has announced that his New York-based institution will protest the British faculty boycott of Israeli universities and academics by considering itself to be covered by the boycott. “This is a hypocritical act that defies the fundamental raison d’être of a university," Joel said. "This boycott erodes the sanctity of the academic sphere by introducing illegitimate political positions that amount to political blackmail." Citing Yeshiva's "immutable ties to Israel," Joel said that "I proudly add our institution to the roster of universities on the boycott list and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded."
  • Brian Leiter's blog has a great example of the issues associated with Wikipedia in the efforts of scholars to correct entries on Martha Nussbaum.
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