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Quick Takes: House Passes Veterans' Aid Bill, AAUP Opposes Loyalty Oath Dismissals, Fired Toledo Official Defends Views, Perkins Shortfalls Predicted, Chicago Boost for Econ, Diane Jones Explains

May 16, 2008
  • The House of Representatives voted 256-166 Thursday to support a major expansion of education benefits provided to veterans who have served since 9/11. The measure now moves to the Senate. While support is strong in both houses -- and includes some Republicans -- the Bush administration has backed more modest changes, and the House measure does not have a veto-proof majority.
  • The American Association of University Professors has issued a statement opposing the dismissals of people who do not sign loyalty oaths that are still required of some public employees. While many see the oaths as "a harmless remnant of a dark period in American history," the statement notes that two Quaker instructors at the California State University System recently lost positions because of their refusal to sign. "Affirmative oaths are not likely to fade away any time soon, but refusal to sign the oath should not, in and of itself, be a justifiable reason for not appointing a faculty member or for terminating an appointment," says the statement.
  • Crystal Dixon has kept quiet as she was suspended and then fired by the University of Toledo, where she had the top human resources position, for a column she wrote questioning whether gay people suffer denial of their civil rights. On Wednesday, however, she defended herself in public, saying that she had a "divine mandate" to challenge homosexuality, WTOL 11 News reported. She said she could have continued to work at the university, which bars bias against gay people. "To say that I cannot have a personal opinion regarding the practice of some humans, and not be effective in my job as a human resources leader is preposterous," Dixon said.
  • Almost 30 percent of colleges expect shortfalls in their Federal Perkins Loan Funds this year, according to a survey being released today by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations. An additional 18 percent are not sure if they will have a shortfall.
  • The University of Chicago, long known for the strength of its economics department, plans to invest $200 million to create a new research institute, to be named for the late Milton Friedman, who was on the faculty. Plans call for the institute to start ramping up this fall.
  • Diane Auer Jones, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Education Department, said in an interview Thursday that the opportunity to head the Washington Campus was too good to pass up, even though it will require her to leave her prominent federal post just nine months after taking it. Jones will become CEO and president of the group, a consortium of 16 business schools that work to educate graduate students and corporate executives about government decision making. The job is the perfect intersection of Jones's background in government, academe and business, she said, and although the opportunity came at an "imperfect" time, it was too good to pass up, she said. Jones insisted, though, that it was a logical time for transition at the Education Department, given that the department has completed two rounds of negotiated rule making and will be starting a new one as soon as Congress passes the Higher Education Act. Jones said she was confident the Education Department could find someone strong to fill the job for the last eight months of the Bush administration.
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