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Quick Takes: Faculty Group Criticizes NCAA on Academic Penalties, Lack of Insurance Kills WVU Deal, Coach Bans Reporter, Back-to-College Spending Expected to Drop, Loyola Faulted on Animal Research, Why Med Students Need Monet and Picasso

July 22, 2008
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association's academic standards for Division I athletes will not raise the bar for athletes and colleges if the association fails to punish significant numbers of teams that fall short of the required minimum thresholds, a coalition of university faculty senates said in a statement Monday. The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics criticized the fact that in May, when the NCAA announced how teams fared in the fourth year of its Academic Progress Rate system, only 30 percent of teams that failed to hit the NCAA's minimum standard for team classroom performance were punished. "The mere threat of penalties is not sufficient to produce the desired increase in student-athlete academic performance," the group said in its statement. "The threatened penalties must be consistently imposed on teams not meeting the APR minimum. Moreover, questions of fairness are appropriately raised when some teams are penalized, but not others."
  • A planned 58-acre campus and research park for West Virginia University fell apart last week when the university couldn't obtain insurance to cover potential environmental liabilities on the land, which was coming from Union Carbide Corp., The Charleston Gazette reported. As a result, both parties agreed to call off the deal.
  • George O'Leary, football coach at the University of Central Florida, is refusing to do interviews with or permit players to do interviews with The Orlando Sentinel until the newspaper corrects what O'Leary considers errors in its reporting on the death of a player. However, as the newspaper noted, O'Leary also won't tell the newspaper what the alleged mistakes were.
  • An annual survey by the National Retail Federation to project back-to-college spending by college students sees a 7 percent drop this year, to $599.38, from $641.56 last year, Reuters reported. With college students paying more for gas, there is less money available for other goods.
  • Documents obtained by an animal rights group show that federal inspectors found repeated problems in 2006 and 2007 in the treatment of animals at Loyola University Chicago's medical school, the Chicago Tribune reported. Among the problems -- since fixed -- were rabbits dying from infections, dogs dying when they were not monitored after surgery, poor veterinary care, and poor record keeping.
  • At a time when medical schools worry about their students' declining powers of observation, art may turn things around. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted an experiment in which Harvard Medical School students received instruction at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on how to carefully examine and discuss fine arts, using works by Picasso, Monet and others. The results, which appear in the new issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, show that these students experienced significant improvements in their observations of patients.
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