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Quick Takes: Ex-Coach Wins $2M in Suit, Approval for Chinatown Campus, New U.S. Negotiations on Aid, Faculty Split at SIU, Bob Jones U. and Romney, Humanities Network, Strike in Israel

Quick Takes: Ex-Coach Wins $2M in Suit, Approval for Chinatown Campus, New U.S. Negotiations on Aid, Faculty Split at SIU, Bob Jones U. and Romney, Humanities Network, Strike in Israel
October 22, 2007
  • A Louisiana jury last week awarded Jerry Baldwin, the former football coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, $2 million, finding that his race (he is black) was an illegal factor in his dismissal, the Associated Press reported. Baldwin's lawyers presented evidence that white coaches -- before and after Baldwin -- received better equipment and marketing, allowing them to build a better program. The university issued a statement in which it denied that Baldwin's race played any role in the way he was treated. The university noted that the football team compiled a 6-27 record under Baldwin, and said that his "lack of success on the football field" was the key factor in his dismissal.
  • The City College of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees voted Friday to exempt a planned Chinatown campus from city zoning laws restricting building height, paving the way for construction to begin. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the board approved construction for two separate buildings, with the main building rising to 13 stories and 172 feet -- still well above the 65-foot limit in the city planning code but lower than the 16-story, 244.5-foot building originally proposed. More than 6,500 students are currently enrolled at about a dozen rented City College sites in Chinatown, but the proposed permanent campus came under fire in part for obstructing a nearby Hilton Hotel’s views.
  • The U.S. Education Department announced in the Federal Register this morning that it would appoint one or two committees to negotiate possible changes in federal rules governing student aid and loan programs. The announcement was expected, as the department is obligated to craft new regulations to carry out changes to federal student aid law by the enactment of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, including the creation of a new grant program for teachers and an income based loan repayment system. But the department, in its announcement, also left the door open to weighing other possible regulatory changes, including the prospect of "preempting" state laws and codes of conduct governing the relationships between lenders and colleges, so that federal rules and laws would override any state guidelines. Student loan officials have urged the department to take such a step to avoid confusion that may result from competing guidelines for lenders and financial aid officials.
  • The Faculty Senate at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville has voted to ask Glen Poshard to resign as president of the university system in the wake of plagiarism allegations against him, the Chicago Tribune reported. A faculty panel from the university's Carbondale campus said Poshard did not intentionally plagiarize, but the Edwardsville faculty leaders said that the scandal was damaging the university's reputation.
  • South Carolina's early position in the presidential primary schedule has again made Bob Jones University part of the Republican campaign. In 2000, a speech there by George W. Bush -- seen as part of his successful outreach to religious conservatives -- was criticized because of the university's policy (since abandoned) of banning interracial dating and because of the anti-Roman Catholic statements of univeristy leaders. Bob Jones leaders have also made anti-Mormon statements over the years, which appears to be part of why Mitt Romney viewed the support of university leaders as a key part of his strategy to show that he appeals to the Christian right. Romney thus was boasting this week about the endorsement he received from Bob Jones III, the chancellor of the university, who said that he was "completely opposed" to Mormon teachings, but believed Romney had the best chance of defeating Sen. Hillary Clinton. The university then followed that with a statement that its chancellor was "speaking personally" and not representing the university. And the Democratic National Committee followed with an analysis of the various statements and policies of the university (some abandoned, some current) that have been viewed as anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-black and anti-gay.
  • The Social Science Research Network, which provides professors with numerous online resources for scholarship, has created the Humanities Research Network, which will operate along similar lines. The first parts of the new network will focus on classics, English and American literature, and philosophy.
  • Most classes at Israeli universities have been suspended because of a faculty strike, The Jerusalem Post reported.
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