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Quick Takes: Attack on Animal Researcher, Pa. Agency Suspends Loans, Berkeley Criticized on Indian Bones, New College Loses Accreditation, Vietnamese Flag Removed, Rumblings at Antioch, Controversial Engineering Dean Resigns, Warner Pacific Cuts Tuition

February 27, 2008
  • A faculty member at the University of California at Santa Cruz whose research involves animals was attacked in a home invasion Sunday, and authorities believe that students were among the six people who tried to break into his home, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. One family member of the professor, who hasn't been named, was attacked. George Blumenthal, the chancellor of Santa Cruz, issued a statement in which he said: "Disagreement, debate, and dissent on a range of subjects are all hallmarks of a healthy university community. However, an attempted home invasion by masked perpetrators is not free speech -- it is a criminal act that threatens, intimidates, and stifles academic freedom."
  • Pennsylvania's student loan agency, responding to the credit crunch, plans to suspend the issuing of new federal student loans, the Associated Press reported. Officials of the agency said that they would continue to guarantee and service loans and that students seeking new loans would be referred to banks that participate in the federal loan program.
  • The University of California at Berkeley is facing legislative criticism for not moving to send thousands of bones of Native Americans from a university museum to the tribes that want the remains of their ancestors, the Los Angeles Times reported. While Berkeley has returned some bones, legislators said that compliance with a federal law has been much too slow, and cited an e-mail from a Berkeley official -- not intended for the public -- suggesting an effort to "stonewall" American Indian leaders. Berkeley officials said that they were working to comply with the law.
  • The news goes from bad to worse for the New College of California, which appears to be dying. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has terminated accreditation, according to a letter published by the blog SFist. In the letter, WASC officials note that New College has been on sanction for 17 of the last 27 years. The accreditor's letter said that there is no doubt about the sincerity of efforts to improve the New College, but that the problems it faces are too serious and too numerous. "WASC can no longer validate to the public and the community of higher education that New College is a financially sustainable institution and has a basic infrastructure of academic, operational, financial and governance systems, structures and policies," the letter said.
  • Irvine Valley College has removed the Vietnamese flag from an atrium display of flags from all over the world, in response to threats by Vietnamese immigrants in the area to hold a protest of what they view as an inappropriate honor for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, The Orange County Register reported. A spokeswoman said that the college was trying to be "considerate."
  • Friday's announcement by Antioch University's board that it planned to shutter Antioch College after this academic year is prompting renewed criticism and activism by alumni and other supporters of the college. Much of the criticism had been on hold, pending negotiations between the board and a small group of alumni seeking to raise money to take the college independent of the university. While those negotiations proceed, the announcement Friday has increased anger and skepticism of the process. The college's Alumni Board issued a statement saying that it was considering "legal remedies and direct action." Another group, the Antioch College Action Network, issued its own statement calling for a series of clarifications and actions by the university's leaders.
  • Mary Sansalone, the engineering dean at Washington University in St. Louis since 2006, announced Tuesday that she would leave that position at the end of the academic year. The announcement noted successes at the engineering college under Sansalone, but her tenure has been controversial. Almost half of the tenured faculty in engineering last year called for Sansalone's resignation, citing a lack of faculty input in key decisions, among other issues. Others, however, suggested that Sansalone was dealing with long-festering problems and was facing sexist criticism.
  • Warner Pacific University, in Oregon, has announced a 23 percent cut in tuition for next year, bringing it down to $16,630.
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