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Quick Takes: WVU President Quits, Israel Eases Gaza Rules, Faust Defends Endowment, Retired Prof Sues, Charges on File-Sharing Questioned, Political Scientists Protest Arrest of Saudi Scholar, Court in Turkey Upholds Scarf Ban, T-Shirt Flap, Safer Sex

June 6, 2008
  • Mike Garrison announced this morning that he would resign as president of West Virginia University. Garrison has been under fire from professors, alumni and others for a scandal in which an M.B.A. was incorrectly awarded to a politically connected executive who didn't earn the degree. A full report on the resignation and what's next for the university will appear on this site Monday.
  • Israeli officials have pledged to look favorably on requests by students in Gaza to travel to countries where they have scholarships to study, The New York Times reported. For the last year, Israel has responded to attacks from Gaza with a blockade that has almost entirely blocked students there from leaving. But publicity over the plight of Fulbright recipients' difficulty getting out to accept their fellowships has focused attention -- and U.S. government criticism -- on the policy.
  • Harvard University's $34 billion endowment has received much scrutiny in the last year, with critics questioning why the university doesn't spend more and some lawmakers looking for ways to tax it. Drew Faust, the university's president, used a commencement speech Thursday to defend the institution's endowment as necessary and to question those critics. Some see endowments as "vast pots of money for presidents to spend at will," she said. Others say endowments must be devoted to "educating the most students at the lowest cost." Faust noted that much of the endowment is restricted -- she cited examples of funds to buy meteorite specimens or plants that reproduce via spores. If Harvard spent more of its endowment funds, it would have less annual support for its budget, Faust said, and that would mean "less research, less teaching, at a lesser level of quality." Further, she said that endowments must be viewed in the context of the needs of future generations, since donors gave to support Harvard over time. "It means we cannot treat our endowment as a lump sum to be spent on the projects of any given cohort of faculty or students, the demands of today's politics, or even the vision of an individual Harvard president," she said.
  • A retired professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati, David Niland, has sued the university for barring him from campus unless he's been specifically invited by a student or professor, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The suit claims that his free expression rights are being violated because of his criticisms of changes in the architecture curriculum.
  • The campaign by the music and movie industry against peer-to-peer file sharing, which has ensnared many colleges and students, has significant potential to include false accusations, and just about any Internet user could be framed, according to a report released by a University of Washington research team.
  • The American Political Science Association has written to Saudi authorities protesting the arrest of Matrouk al-Faleh, a political scientist at King Saud University who has criticized some policies of the Saudi government. A letter from Dianne M. Pinderhughes, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and president of the APSA, says that the arrest is both an issue of academic freedom and a violation of human rights. "The arrest and detention of Dr. Matrouk al-Faleh appears to be a case of his being held solely for the non-violent exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association. If this is the case, we urge that he receive an unconditional and immediate release," the letter concludes.
  • Turkey's highest court has ruled that head scarves may not be worn by women at universities because doing so would violate the country's secular system, the Associated Press reported. The dispute over the scarves has for years divided the country, and the current government has pushed to allow women to wear them.
  • At Utah State University, "A" means Aggies, but its other meanings worry administrators. They are concerned about a planned student T-shirt, on which the backside would proclaim "I'm Proud of My A," the AP reported. A compromise plan would change the slogan to "I'm Proud of the A."
  • Teens who attend college after they graduate from high school are more likely than other teens to use condoms during sex and less likely to have casual sex, according to new research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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