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Quick Takes: Colleges Will Be Covered by Chemical Regulations, Court Faults U. of Cal. on Tuition, Grade Buying Alleged, Research on Scholarly Communication, Blackface Furor at Hamline, Noose Ignorance at Reed, Augustana Goes Test-Optional, Staph Suit

November 5, 2007
  • The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that colleges and universities would be covered by new regulations requiring owners of certain chemicals in certain quantities to complete an online risk assessment of their holdings -- a process that could lead to colleges and universities being ordered to improve their security plans for the chemicals. Higher education groups had sought an exemption from the rules, but the announcement from the department said that some colleges meet the thresholds necessitating tighter security and so need to be included. The statement added that many colleges may already have secure enough procedures and may not face additional requirements.
  • A California appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that the University of California owes nearly $34 million to former students -- most of them former graduate students -- for improper tuition increases in 2003. The ruling agreed with the students bringing the suit that various promises the university made in materials distributed to students ruled out tuition increases. The university noted various places where it warned students about possible policy changes, including tuition increases, but the court found that the promises not to do so were so strongly stated that they created a contract with students. While the university has not officially responded to the ruling, it is expected to appeal.
  • A federal grand jury has indicted two former students at California State University at Fresno on charges related to a scheme to change students' grades for cash, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The former students both say that they are not guilty.
  • The Association of College and Research Libraries is today releasing a paper detailing a range of research questions related to new forms of scholarly communication. With technology changing the way so many forms of communication are changing, the association said it was time to more formally set out a set of issues to explore. Topics cover issues related to the creation of knowledge, publishing, legal issues and other areas.
  • Hamline University, in Minnesota, has suspended six players from the football team for putting on blackface and black body paint to dress as African tribe members for a Halloween party, The Star Tribune reported. Two cheerleaders who may have helped the athletes with their costumes are also under investigation. About 100 students attended a forum about the incident on Friday.
  • Reed College officials last week removed several dummies hanging from nooses on trees on campus, The Oregonian reported. The dummies were part of a student government financed Halloween display, and students said that they didn't realize the racial overtones represented by the dummies.
  • Augustana College, in Illinois, has become the latest liberal arts college to drop a requirement that applicants for admission submit either SAT or ACT scores. The college announced that applicants who don't want to submit test scores can instead submit a graded high school paper and have an interview.
  • With concern growing over highly resistant staph infections, it was only a matter of time before the suits started. A former football player has sued Iona College, charging that team trainers didn't pay attention to his complaints of symptoms and that the locker room was unsanitary, with players sharing towels and equipment, the Associated Press reported. While an Iona spokeswoman declined to discuss the suit, she said that locker rooms were in excellent, clean condition.
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