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Quick Takes: Ore. Tech President Dies, Jena 6 Walkout, TA Contract, Randolph Will Sell Art, Mich. Averts Shutdown, Memphis Shooting, Noose Furor, Flag Furor, Alumni Furor, Suit Against Career Ed, Wittenberg Goes SAT-Optional, Unusual Idea on College Costs

October 2, 2007
  • Martha Ann Dow, president of Oregon Institute of Technology, died Saturday, six months after being diagnosed with breast cancer, The Oregonian reported. Dow was credited with enrollment increases at Oregon Tech and with expanding programs in the health professions. In September, Dow wrote a column for The Oregonian on the importance of educating more health professionals and she recounted trying to encourage some the nursing assistants she met in the hospital to enter nursing degree programs. Dow became president at Oregon Tech in 1998, after six years as provost.
  • Students at campuses nationwide walked out of classes Monday as part of continuing protests on behalf of the Jena 6, a group of young African American high school students facing charges for attacking a white student after a series of incidents, including one involving the placement of a noose on a tree outside school, that black students say were ignored. In September, thousands of students traveled to Jena, La., for a massive protest. Among the campuses where students walked out: Arizona State University, California State University at Long Beach, the State University of New York at Binghamton, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Louisville and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Just hours after a previous contract expired, the University of California and the United Auto Workers union that represents teaching assistants, tutors and other academic employees who are students reached a tentative contract agreement. A statement released by the university, and quoting its officials and the UAW, said that the contract would run for two years and contained "significant improvement in wages, child care, parental leave, workload protections and health care." Details are expected after a ratification vote by 12,000 employees covered by the agreement.
  • In a move that has been widely expected and that is likely to infuriate alumnae, Randolph College's board has voted to sell four masterpieces from its collection, in the hope of raising millions of dollars, The New York Times reported. Randolph, which recently started to admit men, has struggled financially and officials have said an art sale might be necessary to raise money. Alumnae, many of them opposed to coeducation, say that the college is destroying the integrity of a key collection of American art.
  • Michigan narrowly avoided a threatened government shutdown Monday after legislators approved a 30-day continuation budget and measures to raise the personal income tax and expand the sales tax base in the wee hours of the morning. Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council for the State Universities of Michigan, said that public institutions expect to get their first payment of the new year, based on last year’s appropriation, October 16. And while a deferred August payment from last year’s budget cycle won’t be forthcoming this month, he’s optimistic that, given the tax increases, universities will eventually get their money back -- and even perhaps see an increase in funding. State appropriations for higher education in Michigan have been negative for the past five years, Boulus said.
  • The University of Memphis called off classes Monday after a football player was fatally shot on campus, in what authorities believe was a targeted attack, the Associated Press reported.
  • Grambling State University is investigating reports that adults at a university-run elementary school, in a discussion of why nooses can be used as a racist symbol, placed a noose around the neck of at least one student, the AP reported. Photographs of the incident appeared in The Gramblinite, the student newspaper, but were removed from its Web site. Editors posted a statement indicating that they made the decision themselves to remove the photographs, but that others at the university had for a time removed an article about the incident without consulting the editors.
  • The Penn Valley Campus of Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City removed a Vietnamese flag from its lobby Monday, following anger over the flag from Vietnamese immigrants who said that the flag reflected the tyranny of the country's Communist Party leaders, The Kansas City Star reported. The inclusion of the flag in displays of flags from many nations has provoked controversy at numerous campuses, among them the University of Texas at Arlington.
  • A state judge has ordered the Mississippi University for Women to recognize its long-standing alumni association, and to end relations with a new alumni group allied with the president of the university, Claudia Limbert, The Commercial Dispatch reported. The judge ruled that Limbert's actions violated the rights of the original alumni group to criticize her.
  • Career Education Corp. faces a lawsuit from dozens of students alleging that its California Culinary Academy misled them about the quality of education they would receive and their prospects for career advancement afterwards. A Career Education spokeswoman said company officials had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment, but that the culinary academy "remains proud of its outstanding 30-year history."
  • Wittenberg University, in Ohio, has become the latest liberal arts institution to make the SAT and ACT optional rather than required for applicants.
  • Richard M. Daley, the mayor of Chicago, has an unusual approach to college costs. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that he is calling for colleges to cut course requirements in half so students can all graduate in half the time, at half the cost.
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