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Quick Takes: Senate Boost for Science, Dental Class Investigated, Conn. Bill for Undocumented Vetoed, Probe of Bond Campaign, Columbus State CC Drops 5 Sports, Questions on Big Ten Network, Patent Fight, Baghdad U. Official Killed, Delay by Sarkozy

Quick Takes: Senate Boost for Science, Dental Class Investigated, Conn. Bill for Undocumented Vetoed, Probe of Bond Campaign, Columbus State CC Drops 5 Sports, Questions on Big Ten Network, Patent Fight, Baghdad U. Official Killed, Delay by Sarkozy
June 27, 2007
  • Senate appropriations subcommittees approved two pieces of legislation Tuesday that would provide significant increases in funds in 2008 to federal agencies that support significant amounts of academic research. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved a bill that would provide $6.553 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is $636 million more than the agency is receiving in the 2007 fiscal year and $124 million above the amount President Bush requested for the agency. Most of the additional funds would go to the NSF's efforts to improve science and mathematics education, mostly for elementary and secondary programs. NSF research would receive $5.156 billion, $24 million over the president's request. The same legislation would provide $5.66 billion for science programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and $863 million for the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, $186 million more than the agency is receiving this year. A separate measure, approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, would provide $4.497 billion for the Energy Department's Science Program, $99 million more than President Bush requested.
  • The Southern Illinois University dental school, which is affiliated with the Edwardsville campus, is withholding grades of all first-year students, because of questions raised about the academic merit and integrity of the students. A university spokesman declined to provide details, citing the need to preserve confidentiality and the presumption of innocence, but said that all 52 first-year students would be interviewed as part of the inquiry. Ann Boyle, dean of the dental school, issued a statement: "This matter raises questions about the integrity and ethical behavior of Year I students and is, therefore, under investigation. We will follow our processes as outlined in our Student Progress Document to resolve the situation as quickly as we can." KMOV-TV quoted students at the dental school, anonymously, as saying that the investigation concerned students who had tried to memorize and share information from old exams that instructors let them see, so the students did not consider the practice to be cheating. The Southern Illinois incident follows two other scandals this year involving professional school cheating: one at Duke University's business school and one at Indiana University's dental school.
  • Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have allowed some immigrant students who had attended high school in the state, but who lacked legal documentation to be in the United States to pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public colleges and universities. Supporters of the bill have noted that the students it would help typically played no role in their parents' decision to come to the United States, and that these students are more likely to make productive contributions to the economy if they are educated. But Governor Rell said that she did not want "to encourage individuals to circumvent federal immigration laws." She added: "I understand these students are not responsible for their undocumented status, having come to the United States with their parents. The fact remains, however, that these students and their parents are here illegally and neither sympathy nor good intentions can ameliorate that fact.”
  • The San Francisco district attorney is investigating contracts of companies that do business with City College of San Francisco and that also made contributions to a campaign for a 2005 bond campaign for the institution, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
  • Columbus State Community College, in Ohio, is dropping five sports and will use the savings to increase spending on student academic honor societies and other clubs in the next academic year, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The dropped sports are men's baseball, women's softball, men's soccer, and men's and women's cross country and track.
  • A prominent member of Congress is raising questions about whether the Big Ten Conference's plan for its own cable television network will deprive alumni and other sports fans of the chance to watch their favorite teams. "While I understand the motivation on the part of the Big Ten Conference and its member schools to create a new all-Big Ten cable channel, I am increasingly concerned about the migration of previously free, over the air content to a pay television tier," Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) wrote in a letter Monday to the conference's commissioner, James E. Delany. Dingell said many of his constituents in Michigan would as of now be unable to watch University of Michigan games this fall because no cable networks in the state were planning to carry the new Big Ten network, and expressed concerns about the rates the conference planned to charge to individual subscribers.
  • A jury has awarded $690,000 in damages to Johns Hopkins University and Arrow International Inc., both of which went to court against Datascope Corporation, charging it with infringing on patents owned by Hopkins and licensed to Arrow, Bloomberg reported. The patents involve devices to remove blood clots.
  • A senior administrator at Baghdad University was shot to death Tuesday, in front of his daughter, the Associated Press reported. Nihad Mohammed al-Rawi was killed while returning home. He was in charge of administrative affairs and the chemical engineering department at the university. More than 200 professors have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion, the AP said, while thousands have fled the country.
  • France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, on Tuesday postponed plans for a parliamentary debate and vote on his reform plans for universities, The International Herald Tribune reported. Sarkozy wants universities to have more power over whom they admit and what they charge, with the idea that top universities would become more selective and more expensive, enabling them to compete with top universities abroad. Students have vowed massive protests over the proposed changes, prompting some to think Sarkozy was concerned enough to delay consideration of the issue.
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