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Quick Takes: Obama on Higher Ed, Anthro Association Questions Military Program, Cal State's Civility Standard Questioned, Missing Adjunct Paychecks, Northwestern in Qatar, Research Funds Debated in Canada, Who Poisoned Romeo the Pig?

November 8, 2007
  • Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed a new tax credit for college costs and a new program for community colleges. The Democratic presidential candidate proposed the ideas in a speech in Iowa on his "Plan to Reclaim the American Dream." The tax credit would be for $4,000 and would be refundable. A new Community College Partnership Program would, Obama said, make use of the "tremendous resource" of two-year institutions. "We'll help schools determine what skills and technical education are needed to help local industry," Obama said. "We'll expand new degrees for emerging fields and we'll reward schools that graduate more students. That's the change we need so that our young people can achieve their dreams."
  • The executive board of the American Anthropological Association has issued a statement formally expressing "disapproval" and "grave concerns" about a new program in which anthropologists are advising the U.S. military on various groups in Iraq and Afghanistan. This program, the board said, poses great risk that the participating anthropologists will violate the association's ethics rules, which require that human subjects studied not be harmed. The use of scholars in this program is thus an "unacceptable application of anthropological expertise," the association board said. As the military program has attracted more attention, some anthropologists have been raising concerns about the lack of oversight -- from scholars, based on scholarly standards -- of the effort.
  • A federal magistrate has indicated that he will find a California State University System rule that requires students to be civil to be unconstitutional, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The ruling -- which the magistrate announced but has not issued in writing -- came in a case in which San Francisco State University responded to a complaint about the conduct of College Republicans who stomped on flags with the name of Allah on them during an anti-terrorism rally. San Francisco State found no violation, but the Republicans challenged the civility code, saying that the investigation violated their rights. California State officials told the newspaper that the code was not intended to squelch unpopular speech -- and that they would clarify the rule to comply with the ruling.
  • Many part-time faculty members at Baltimore City Community Colleges worked without contracts and with their paychecks not being issued for up to 10 weeks this fall, Baltimore City Paper reported. The president of the college characterized the missed checks as a "process failure."
  • Northwestern University has become the latest American institution to set up shop in Qatar's Education City. Northwestern will offer undergraduate degrees in communication and journalism, starting in the fall of 2008.
  • The president of the University of British Columbia is calling for Canada to place more emphasis on supporting research at a few top universities and to worry less about spreading research funds around. Maclean's reported that Stephen J. Toope, in a recent speech, said: "Rather than spreading research funding around in an unstructured and misguided effort to be fair -- to provide a bland level of sameness in all regions of the province and the country -- we must spend strategically on institutions that are legitimately able to compete on the international stage." Not surprisingly, the presidents of some other universities are not pleased with Toope's push.
  • Shasta College, in California, has been consumed by speculation over how an 800-pound breeding boar was poisoned in September, The Redding Searchlight reported. Rumors have intensified since the student newspaper, The Lance, reported that the prized pig was poisoned two days after six students who worked on the college farm were evicted from a dormitory. Officials said that there is no evidence linking the students to the death of the pig, who was named Romeo.
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