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Quick Takes: Israel Reconsiders Ban on Gaza Students' Travel, Oregon State Drops Italian, Med Schools Ranked on Ethics, Rosemont to Go Fully Coed, Shifting History Specializations, SAGE Buys CQ Press, Rejected Ph.D. Candidate Sues

June 3, 2008
  • The Israeli government told the country's Supreme Court Monday that it is reconsidering a ban on allowing students in Gaza to leave for study abroad, The Jerusalem Post reported. The comments came in a hearing about the case of a student denied permission to travel to Germany to accept a scholarship to pursue doctoral studies in computer engineering there. Israeli officials have previously defended the travel ban for those in Gaza (which is much broader than just students) as necessary to prevent attacks on Israelis. But the policy has been drawing increasing criticism especially as the U.S. government last week rescinded Fulbright awards to students unable to use them (although those grants have been restored, with U.S. officials pledging to work to get the students out of Gaza). At Monday's hearing, the justices strongly suggested that the Israeli government reconsider its policies.
  • Students and professors are protesting a decision at Oregon State University to eliminate Italian instruction and to reduce the number of other language sections, The Corvallis Gazette Times reported. Students carried a red coffin, stuffed with petitions, to a protest. University officials have cited tight budgets as requiring the cuts.
  • Academic medical centers have a new ranking to consider: on their ethics. The American Medical Student Association is today unveiling a survey with the letter grades it awarded medical schools and their affiliated centers for policies on conflicts of interest, and enforcement procedures these policies. The association plans to regularly update the grades and survey results, which come at a time of increasing scrutiny of the financial support medical centers receive from the pharmaceutical industry, and concerns over whether that support may inappropriately influence patient care and research. In the "AMSA PharmFree Scorecard" for 2008, 7 institutions received grades of A, 60 received the grade of F.
  • Rosement College will admit men to its undergraduate program for the first time in 2009 under a strategic plan approved by its Board of Trustees on Friday. The announcement by the Roman Catholic institution in Rosemont, Pa., acknowledges that many of its alumni and students originally opposed the idea of abandoning its single-sex nature at the undergraduate level, even though the college has long had men in its graduate and professional programs. But "through our analysis, research, and evaluation we learned that Rosemont cannot continue to be viable as a Catholic single-sex college at the undergraduate level," Ron Remick, the board chair, said in a prepared statement. Numerous other women's only institutions have made similar decisions in recent years, although others have found not only survival but success remaining women-only.
  • Data released Monday by the American Historical Association on the state of its membership show shifts in the specializations of members (which may not correlate to the entire history profession). Within the AHA, from 1992 to 2008, more historians are working on black, cultural, or religious history. The shares of historians working on diplomatic, intellectual and social history are all down.
  • SAGE, an independent academic publisher, has purchased CQ Press, the publishing unit of Congressional Quarterly. CQ Press sells extensively to college libraries, with both new scholarship and reference works. The CQ Press name and senior management will remain in place, according to an announcement of the sale.
  • When a grad student is close to the finish line for a Ph.D. and a committee reverses course and says that the doctorate isn't going to happen, it can be disappointing. Peter Beckway is responding to such a situation by suing five professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago who rejected his plans for a Ph.D. in English, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He says that they praised his work for too long to change their minds.
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