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Quick Takes: Non-Traditional Choice for Colorado Presidency, Final Attempt to Block Bush Library, Chicago State Leader to Quit, Paper's Funds Restored at Montclair State, AAUP Protests Turkish Verdict, 3 Charged in Clemson Drinking Death

January 31, 2008
  • The University of Colorado Board of Regents late Wednesday named a sole finalist -- Bruce Benson -- for the presidency of the system. Benson has served on university boards and education commissions, but his career has been in business (as owner of an oil and gas company) and politics (as chair of Colorado's Republican Party). The Denver Post reported that the vote to approve Benson as sole finalist was 7-2, with the regents in the minority saying that they were concerned about Benson's political activism. Benson would succeed Hank Brown, who also was a Republican politician (serving in the U.S. Senate) before becoming a university leader. Brown took over as president in 2005 from a president with a more traditional academic background, Elizabeth Hoffman. She left amid mounting controversies involving athletics and the statements of Ward Churchill. Under Brown, the university settled a long and contentious lawsuit based on allegations that Colorado football players raped two students, and after several faculty reviews finding Churchill guilty of scholarly misconduct, the Colorado Board of Regents -- on Brown's recommendation -- fired Churchill. While some professors have hoped for the selection of an academic leader to succeed Brown, many have credited him for improving the university's political standing with lawmakers.
  • Some Methodists are mounting a last-minute challenge to block church approval of a plan by Southern Methodist University to lease some of its land to build the George W. Bush Presidential Library and an affiliated policy institute, The Dallas Morning News reported. Methodist bishops have already given permission and an SMU spokesman told the newspaper that the matter was resolved. But Methodists who oppose the library plan hope to use a regional meeting of Methodist leaders to force a vote that would block church approval. Many professors have opposed the SMU plan, saying that the proposed institute appears to have an ideological agenda.
  • Elnora Daniel, the controversial president of Chicago State University, has announced plans to retire at the end of the academic year, the Chicago Tribune reported. Daniel, who has previously said she would not resign or leave, has faced a series of disputes over state audits questioning her spending on meals, alcohol, and theater tickets, among other things, without providing documentation, the Tribune reported.
  • The student government at Montclair State University, in New Jersey, has temporarily restored funding for the student newspaper, the Associated Press reported. Funds were cut in a dispute that followed the newspaper's critical coverage of the student government.
  • Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors has written to Turkey's minister of justice to protest the recent conviction of a political science professor, Atilla Yayla, for saying that the country's founder was not as progressive as government officials say he was. Nelson called for the conviction to be vacated, and said that punishment of a scholar for expressing views was "inimical to internationally accepted principles of free expression."
  • Three fraternity members at Clemson University have been charged with alcohol-related misdemeanors in the alcohol poisoning death of a freshman in December, the Associated Press reported.
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