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Quick Takes: Controversial Pick Gets Colorado Presidency, UMass Crime Wave, Texas A

Quick Takes: Controversial Pick Gets Colorado Presidency, UMass Crime Wave, Texas A
February 21, 2008
  • The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 6-3 Wednesday night to select Bruce Benson as the system's next president. Benson -- an energy executive who has been active in Republican politics and who has not held academic jobs -- was backed by all the Republicans on the board and none of the Democrats. Many faculty members have opposed his selection, citing his lack of academic experience, perceived opposition to tenure, and partisan activities. Supporters have cited his political and fund raising skills. A live blog account of Wednesday's board meeting in on the Web site of The Rocky Mountain News.
  • The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, never known for its tranquility, is experiencing a wave of crime and unruly incidents that stand out. The Boston Globe reported that in recent weeks, the university has seen two students facing murder charges in separate dormitory incidents -- one involving an alleged rape and the other a double stabbing with possible racial issues, a bloody brawl at a house party off campus, and allegations that athletes attacked others at a party with baseball bats and lacrosse sticks.
  • Texas A&M University has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to resolve complaints about violations of federal safety rules in biodefense research, The Dallas Morning News reported. Following a federal inspection of labs, which have been blocked from conducting certain of studies because of the violations, the research is expected to resume.
  • More states are adopting policies that outline appropriate high school graduation requirements that would prepare students for college, but much more work needs to be done at making sure students actually meet requirements and are prepared, according to a new report, "Closing the Expectations Gap 2008," prepared by the group Achieve.
  • A controversy has broken out at the University of Colorado at Boulder over a column in The Campus Press, the student newspaper, that some view as satire and others as racist. "If it's war the Asians want ... it's war they'll get," the column describes Asians on campus as disconnected from mainstream university culture and outlines a plan to kidnap them and teach them to be more like everyone else. The column is full of stereotypes of Asians as anti-social math and science nerds, but also contains plenty of stereotypes of white students at Boulder ("white bread, brainless tree sloths"). A furious debate may be found at the end of the column, features both critics and defenders of the piece. G.P. (Bud) Peterson, chancellor at Boulder, issued a statement in which he condemned the column, while saying it was "unquestionably protected under the First Amendment." Wrote Peterson: "The column was a poor attempt at social satire laden with offensive references, stereotypes and hateful language. It was not properly labeled as either satire or commentary, and readers were left with the impression that the author spoke for the collective staff and leadership of The Campus Press, and perhaps even the University of Colorado. He spoke for none of the aforementioned."
  • The Apollo Group has announced that it is purchasing a three-campus university in Chile, Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicacion, for $40 million, plus possible additional payments based on earnings. The Chilean university focuses on the arts and communications. Apollo is the parent company of the University of Phoenix.
  • The College Board is suing Karen Dillard's College Prep, a test-prep company in the Dallas area, charging it with illegally obtaining and using "live" questions in preparing students for the SAT and PSAT, the Associated Press reported. The suit also charges that the company obtained advance copies of a PSAT from a high school principal whose brother works at the test-prep company. The owner of the company denied wrongdoing and charged that the College Board was trying to force it out of business.
  • The Student Press Law Center is reporting a series of student newspaper thefts. At Berry College, in Georgia, a theft of papers followed a column criticizing the cheerleading squad. At Drew University, in New Jersey, staffers on the paper believe the theft of papers may relate to an article about a drug bust on campus.
  • One quarter of Israeli academics work in the United States, a proportion that is greater than that of any other country and that endangers Israeli higher education, according to a new report prompting discussion in Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported. The exodus is particularly high in fields such as computer science and economics, but extends across a broad range of disciplines, the report found.
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