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Quick Takes: More Endorsements, Chief Diversity Officers, Med School's Use of Pigs Questioned, Madison Ends Contract, Turkey Convicts Professor for Alleged Insult, Endowing a Bathroom

January 29, 2008
  • More academic endorsements in the presidential race.... Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate who is a professor at Princeton University, has endorsed Barack Obama. In a letter released by the Obama campaign, Morrison said she was not backing him because of his race, but for the potential he represents for the country. In her letter, Morrison wrote: "I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age.... Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace." Sean O'Keefe, the outgoing chancellor of Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, has endorsed John McCain. In his statement, O'Keefe -- a former administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- said: "John's commitment to our national security and to exploration and discovery, coupled with his passion to improve our nation's math and science education system to assure American competitiveness, should lead all Americans to conclude that he is the right person to lead our country."
  • Chief diversity officers should report to presidents or chief academic officers, and these officers need the authority to interact with all parts of institutions to be effective. Those are among the recommendations of a new monograph, The Chief Diversity Officer: A Primer for College and University Presidents, released Monday by the American Council on Education. The authors are Damon A. Williams, assistant vice provost for multicultural and international affairs at the University of Connecticut, and Katrina C. Wade-Golden, senior research scientist at the University of Michigan Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.
  • An animal rights group that questions the use of live animals to teach medical students has a new target: the Medical College of Wisconsin. A billboard attacking the use of live pigs has led to hundreds of letters of protest, the Associated Press reported. College officials defend the use of the pigs as a necessary part of preparing medical students to treat humans.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Madison has ended a contract with the New Era Cap Company, following allegations of discrimination and anti-union activity, the Associated Press reported. While the company denies the allegations, its corporate conduct has led to numerous calls to avoid its services.
  • A court in Turkey has convicted a political science professor of insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the nation's founder, Reuters reported. The professor had questioned why statues of Ataturk are everywhere in the country, and whether the government at Turkey's birth was entirely progressive.
  • A venture capitalist has donated $25,000 to the University of Colorado at Boulder to endow a bathroom and place a quotation outside it, The Daily Camera reported. The quotation: "The best ideas often come at inconvenient times. Don't ever close your mind to them."
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