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Quick Takes: Drill Terrifies Students, Northern Ill. to Demolish Shooting Site, Security Incidents, Buckley's Legacy, iPhones at Abilene Christian, Colleges Answer Senate Inquiry, NCAA Punishes Lane, Student Press at Montclair, Realism and Obamamania

February 28, 2008
  • Elizabeth City State University, in North Carolina, is offering counseling to students and faculty members after a mock safety drill in which someone pretended to be a killer and entered a classroom with a fake gun, The News & Observer reported. An e-mail and text message had alerted the campus to the drill, but there were not full details and many at Elizabeth City State apparently didn't read the message. The unknowing professor whose class was the target of the fake drill said he was "prepared to die" as the events took place.
  • Northern Illinois University will receive a special state grant to demolish the building where five students were shot to death, and to build in its place a state of the art classroom facility to be called Memorial Hall, the Chicago Tribune reported.
  • After the Virginia Tech murders last year, colleges experienced a series of security scares -- some real and some based on threats that were not serious. The pattern continues with this month's tragedy at Northern Illinois University. This week, Ferrum College, in Virginia sent students on spring break three days early after an armed man was seen making threatening comments to a housekeeper, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Wednesday, a student was shot and hospitalized. Evening classes were called off, but a regular schedule is expected today. In Massachusetts, three colleges responded to threats with heightened security, The Boston Globe reported. At Bridgewater State College, a series of threatening notes included two specifically suggesting threatening the life of the college's president, the Globe said.
  • The death Wednesday of William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review and a key player in intellectual debate, prompted discussion in some circles of his role in higher education. Buckley's career was launched with God and Man at Yale, a critique of his alma mater, and his magazine devoted considerable critical attention to higher education. In a symposium on Buckley published on his magazine's Web site, William J. Bennett, the former education secretary, credited Buckley with having "made" many conservative scholars' careers by publishing them and giving them a broader audience. The magazine's Phi Beta Cons blog reminded readers of one of Buckley's most famous quips: that he would "sooner be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand members of the faculty of Harvard University." A critical look at the impact of Buckley's writing on higher education can be found on the blog College Freedom, where God and Man at Yale is explored as a tool for attacking professors and their academic freedom.
  • All freshmen at Abilene Christian University will receive iPods or iPhones in the fall, as part of a new educational program. Students will receive homework alerts, surveys, quizzes and other material through the devices. Duke University started an iPod experiment in 2004, but scaled the effort back after finding mixed educational results.
  • More than a month after leaders of the Senate Finance Committee asked 136 colleges with the largest endowments to submit a wealth of data and analysis about how they set tuition prices, mete out financial aid, and manage their endowments, only "about 30" institutions have submitted their reports so far, according to a Senate staff member. The 30-day deadline set by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) passed last Thursday, but numerous colleges have asked for and been granted extensions to that "soft" deadline, the aide said. The aide said that staff members had begun poring over the responses to the senators' inquiry, but that it would probably be months before the panel's work was completed.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II Committee on Infractions harshly penalized Lane College on Tuesday for a series of major violations in its sports program. The college's former athletics director inappropriately allowed 32 athletes in eight sports to compete and receive financial aid even though they should have been ineligible to do so. The NCAA panel forced the college to vacate records records in numerous sports, reduced scholarships, declared it ineligible to compete on television for the next two years, and required the former athletics director to appear before the panel if he seeks to work at an NCAA member college within the next four years.
  • Susan A. Cole, president of Montclair State University, on Wednesday announced plans to separate control of the student newspaper from the student government. Disputes between the two entities have led to freezes in the paper's spending, raising concerns over freedom of the press.
  • Some student life experts are worried that campus excitement and idealism over Barack Obama's campaign has reached such high levels that students are sure to be let down by either an Obama presidency or an Obama loss. Here's evidence that students -- while indeed getting excited -- remain as focused on immediate needs as pre-Obama. Headline in The Lantern, Ohio State University's student newspaper: "Obama rally to inspire voters, cause parking problems."
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