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Quick Takes: For-Profit Oversight Ends in California, Bush Signs New GI Bill, More Talks on Border Fence, Green Digest, Politics at Monroe CC, Support for Humanities in Africa, Suit Against Dartmouth Dropped, Top Public Intellectuals, Dog Dispute in China

July 1, 2008
  • State oversight of for-profit higher education in California is expected to effectively end today, following the rejection in the State Assembly Monday of legislation to replace a law that expired at midnight, the Los Angeles Times reported. For-profit colleges and consumer groups and politicians have been fighting over the issue for three years. About 400,000 California students are enrolled in for-profit colleges.
  • President Bush signed a supplemental war spending bill Monday that includes a dramatic expansion of GI Bill benefits for veterans who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001. The new GI Bill, championed by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) would provide up to the cost of in-state tuition at the most expensive public college in a veteran's state, a monthly housing stipend based on a college's location, and an extra $1,000 annually for books. Currently, GI Bill benefits are worth just $1,101 monthly, and many are wonder how the infusion of new funds for veterans might impact where they choose to attend college. The GI Bill expansion is estimated to cost $62 billion over 10 years.
  • A federal judge on Monday ordered more talks over a fence on the Mexican border that U.S. officials currently want to place in a way that would cut off part of the joint campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, The Dallas Morning News reported. University and federal officials had worked out a deal to work together to find a better place for the fence, but the two sides were back in court after the university charged that the government was moving ahead with its plans without seriously considering alternatives.
  • By most measures, 2007 was a year when colleges adopted new or tougher policies to promote green conduct on their campuses. More colleges made pledges to meet specific environmental goals, or hired sustainability coordinators, or added academic programs related to the environment. These trends are documented and summarized in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Digest 2007, released Monday.
  • The resignation letter of a trustee at Monroe Community College, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle -- explicitly cites partisanship by board members as a reason for the collapse of a recent presidential search. The board at the college deadlocked between two candidates with political connections while rejecting candidates with considerable experience running community colleges.
  • The Carnegie Corporation of New York on Monday announced a new $5 million program -- to be managed by the American Council of Learned Societies -- that could represent a major infusion of support for the next generation of humanities scholars from Africa. The funds will support both doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships for those from five countries: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
  • A lawsuit by Dartmouth College's alumni association against the college has been dropped. The alumni group had sued to block a board restructuring plan that will result in a smaller proportion of trustees being elected by alumni. Recent elections for the alumni group leaders displaced those in favor of the suit with those opposed.
  • It wasn't quite like the Iowa caucuses, but campaigning was intense for a spot on Foreign Policy's list of the top 20 public intellectuals. The magazine initially released a top 100 list and invited the public to vote. More than 500,000 did so -- and several of those on the list, the magazine reported, mounted voting drives through blogs or issued press releases. Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic scholar in Turkey, leads the top 20 list, which also includes Noam Chomsky, Al Gore, Bernard Lewis and Amartya Sen. The top write-in candidate: Stephen Colbert.
  • Dog-loving students at China's Jinan University are "barking mad" over a ban on pet dogs on campus -- and a threat by security officials to seize any dogs they find, China Daily reported. The university attracts many students from Hong Kong and Macao, about one-third of whom bring dogs to campus. In a sign of potential anti-canine bias, cats are permitted to stay on campus.
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