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Quick Takes: Oral Roberts President Quits, Suit on Investment, College Cuts Friday Classes, Student Dragged to Death, Green Building Kills Birds, Where Psychoanalysis Isn't Taught, Auction to Name Butterfly, Grievances in Egypt, Oxford Speakers

November 26, 2007
  • Oral Roberts University on Friday announced the immediate resignation of Richard Roberts as president. The brief announcement made no mention of the growing scandal at Oral Roberts, where several lawsuits charge that Roberts and his wife used university funds inappropriately and squelched those who tried to question their actions. Roberts and his wife have denied wrongdoing and the statement quoted him as saying: "I love ORU with all my heart. I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God’s best for all of them." The resignation came just after a former senior accountant at Oral Roberts University sued the institution, adding new accusations to those already facing university leaders. The Tulsa World reported that the suit by Trent Huddleston said that he was "directed, against his will and over his objections," to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, Oklahoma tax agencies and the public by not questioning spending of university money on personal expenses for Richard and Lindsay Roberts. Among the expenses: a swimming pool, a pool table and money for a wet bar.
  • Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities as well as the Carnegie Corporation of New York and other prominent nonprofit groups have been sued for their investment in a company that has an interest in another company that allegedly offered a business loan at 42 percent interest, which the suit charges is a violation of Massachusetts laws aimed at loan sharks, Bloomberg reported. Filings in the case from the nonprofit investors contested the suit, and said that they were not involved in the management decisions of the company accused of making the loan, and that state law shields limited partners from suits in such cases.
  • Rose State College, a two-year institution in Oklahoma, is dropping most Friday classes to help its students -- most of whom have significant commutes -- minimize gas purchases at a time of rising prices. Up until now, most Rose State courses met for either 75 minute sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays or 60 minute sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and alternate Fridays. The latter group will now be shifted to Monday and Wednesday meetings of 75 minutes. Rose State officials stressed that classrooms would not be empty on Fridays: Professors have been asked to develop courses that will meet for longer periods, but only on Fridays.
  • Authorities say that a student at Eastern Washington University was killed by being dragged from a pick-up truck more than four miles Saturday night, The Spokesman-Review reported. The newspaper reported that the teen driving the truck did not know he was dragging anyone and that another man tied the student to the truck. The incident followed heavy drinking at a hunting camp.
  • Glass windows in Emory University's new Mathematics and Science Center, known for its green design, created a bird "slaughterhouse," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. One professor reported that an average of two birds were being killed each day of migration season when they would fly right into the building's reflective windows. The professor reported that he gained the attention of administrators by bringing some of the dead birds to a meeting. Now Emory drapes black mesh netting on the building during migration season.
  • Of 1,175 college courses that reference psychoanalysis, more than 86 percent are offered outside psychology departments, according to a study of curricular trends at 150 top colleges and universities that will appear next year in The American Journal of Psychiatry, The New York Times reported. While many psychology departments have little interest in the topic, the study found, that is not the case in departments of literature, film and history.
  • In a what is believed to be a fund-raising first, the University of Florida auctioned off the naming rights for a new species of butterfly discovered by its researchers in Mexico's Sonoran Desert. The winning bid was $40,800.
  • Professors at Egyptian universities are meeting to consider how to respond to a series of government policies they oppose, Al-Ahram Weekly reported. The professors want pledges of less government interference in university affairs, and they want the repeal of a recent law that ended tenure for faculty members when they reach the age of 70 and barred them from doing research or supervising theses.
  • Members of the Oxford Union Debating Society voted Saturday to allow David Irving, the Holocaust denier, and Nick Griffin, leader of a far-right, anti-immigrant British party who has admitted to having been a Holocaust denier in the past, to give talks at the University of Oxford, The Guardian reported. The invitations are being condemned by many groups.
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