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Quick Takes: Bombs at 2 Colleges, Battle Over Anti-Abortion Scholars, Pollock Painting May Be Safe, 3 Europeans Share Nobel in Medicine, Deal at Windsor, St. Augustine's Sports Violations

October 6, 2008
  • A 20-year-old student at Brevard Community College was arrested Friday and charged with detonating a bomb in an elevator on the campus on Thursday, Florida Today reported. No one was injured but the campus was closed after the bomb went off. The college has suspended the student and barred him from college property. Authorities declined to reveal a possible motive. Meanwhile, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, police say that someone tossed a firebomb into a fraternity house, setting off a brawl in an alley, the Associated Press reported. One man was hospitalized.
  • As voting blocs go, anti-abortion scholars are probably not as large as Reagan Democrats or soccer/hockey moms, but they are receiving a great deal of attention this election year. In recent election years, these thinkers have been solidly Republican, but there have been cracks this year -- with reverberations in higher education. Last week, the National Catholic Report published an opinion piece called "I'm Catholic, staunchly anti-abortion, and support Obama," by Nicholas Cafardi, a law professor and former dean at Duquesne University. In the article, Cafardi called abortion an "unspeakable evil," but argued that "we have lost the abortion battle -- permanently," and that abortion will remain legal regardless of who is elected president. But he went on to say that Obama's commitment to helping low-income people stands the best chance of discouraging abortion because of evidence that "abortion rates drop when the social safety net is strengthened." Cafardi is a trustee of Franciscan University of Steubenville, which issued a statement to distance itself from Cafardi. "Franciscan University stands with the Catholic Church in its opposition to abortion as an intrinsic evil and violation of the sanctity of human life," the statement said. "The university does not believe the abortion battle is lost, as Dr. Cafardi states, but that the tide is decidedly turning in favor of life."
  • The University of Iowa has come out strongly for holding on to "Mural," a Jackson Pollock masterpiece at the university's Museum of Art. At a Board of Regents meeting in August, following floods that caused considerable damage to the campus, a regent raised the question of whether "Mural" might be sold to finance repairs, and asked the university to provide certain information about the painting and its impact. The painting is insured for $140 million, so there's no doubt it could bring in serious cash. But a detailed report from the university argued against a sale. It said that, if it sold the painting, it would probably lose the museum's accreditation, which would make it difficult to acquire or borrow works of art, and that future donors would be unlikely to give works of art to the university. A statement from David Miles, president of the Board of Regents, thanked the university for the information and said that the report "concludes the board's inquiry into this matter." Several universities have become embroiled in debates about whether it is legitimate to sell art received by their museums.
  • Three European scholars were this morning named winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of dangerous viruses. Harald zur Hausen, professor emeritus and former scientific director of the German Cancer Research Center, in Heidelberg, won for for his discovery that human papilloma viruses cause cervical cancer. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier were jointly honored for their discovery of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Barré-Sinoussi is director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit, at the Institut Pasteur, in Paris. Montagnier is director of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, in Paris.
  • The faculty union and the University of Windsor, in Canada, have reached a tentative agreement to end a strike, The Globe and Mail reported. Terms of the contract were not released. Classes have been skipped for 13 days but are expected to resume today.
  • St. Augustine College allowed 29 athletes to compete in intercollegiate sports even though they should have been ineligible to play, the college and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II Committee on Infractions announced on Friday. Because of the violations uncovered in the case, which was adjudicated through the NCAA's "summary disposition" process, St. Augustine will lose scholarships in seven sports and forfeit all victories in which the ineligible athletes participated between 2002 and 2008. The college was also fined $2,500. The NCAA infractions panel said the St. Augustine case was part of what it called a "regrettable trend" in which Division II sports programs have failed to maintain adequate rules compliance programs.
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