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Quick Takes: 2 Central Ark. Students Killed and 2 Ball State Students Shot in Legs, Neuroscience as Target of Anti-Evolution Lobby, End to Male-Only Class, Drunk Driving Ends Presidency, Anthropology Ethics, Trip to Iran, 40 Years Later at SF State

October 27, 2008
  • Details are minimal, but separate shooting incidents this weekend killed two students at the University of Central Arkansas, and left two Ball State University students shot in the legs. At Central Arkansas, the shootings took place Sunday night near a men's dormitory very close to the campus police station, the Associated Press reported. The campus was locked down and Monday's classes have been called off. A third victim, who is not a student, was also shot and sustained minor injuries. On a Friday night, at a house near Ball State University, three people -- two of them students -- were shot in the legs, The Star Press reported. Authorities have not released an explanation for the shootings, although Ball State officials said that they believed the incident did not suggest a threat to anyone else at Ball State. Some students are complaining that the university didn't use its emergency notification system and say that rumors about the shootings left many on campus uneasy.
  • Members of the Intelligent Design movement -- widely derided as pseudoscience by researchers -- may be broadening their attacks on evolution to a new focus on study of the brain, New Scientist reported. The magazine noted increased interest from Intelligent Design leaders in neuroscience, with anti-evolution officials showing a particular interest in trying to separate study of the mind from study of the brain.
  • Northeast Lakeview College has decided to allow women into a course that had been advertised as being exclusively for male students at the Texas community college, The San Antonio Express-News reported. While college officials previously defended the course's policy, many experts doubted its legality.
  • Randolph Flechsig resigned as president of Davenport University Friday, weeks after he pleaded guilty to drunk driving. After he was arrested last month, he first indicated that that the arrest may have been due to his diabetes, not drinking. But he admitted in court this month to having had beer and “some Bloody Mary’s” at home prior to the drive that led to his arrest. Board leaders had said that they would let the legal process proceed before taking any action. In an e-mail message to the campus, Flechsig said he resigned "for the larger good of Davenport University and our students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors." Several other colleges have had seen their presidents arrested for drunk driving in recent years, and these presidents have not typically lasted long in office after the charges.
  • The American Anthropological Association has announced a broad review of its ethics rules. The association in the last year or so has been in an intense debate over a subset of those rules pertaining to secret research and work for the government in war zones. But this review will cover the entire range of ethics issues. The announcement -- posted on the association's Web site -- did not indicate why the review was taking place at this time and a spokesman for the association said he had nothing to add. A three-year review process is envisioned, ending with a vote by association membership.
  • Six presidents of research universities on Friday announced plans for a joint trip to Iran next month to meet with academic leaders and students there. The presidents are: Jared Cohon of Carnegie Mellon University; David Leebron of Rice University; J. Bernard Machen of the University of Florida; C.D. Mote Jr. of the University of Maryland at College Park; David Skorton of Cornell University; and Larry Vanderhoef of the University of California at Davis. They will be joined by Robert M. Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, which is coordinating the trip. The announcement comes at a time that many academics in the United States are concerned about incidents involving the detention of scholars in the country. Currently, U.S. officials are pushing for the release of Esha Momeni, a graduate student at California State University at Northridge, who is being held in prison in Iran, where she was doing research on the women's movement there. A spokesman for the AAU said that this issue is one "of great concern, and we're making inquiries."
  • San Francisco State University is this week marking the 40th anniversary of a landmark student strike that led to the establishment of an ethnic studies college and that is considered one of the key moments in the student protest movement of the '60s. As an article in The San Francisco Chronicle noted, the strike's significance continues to be much debated -- with some noting the need at the time to broaden the curriculum and others questioning whether some of the tactics of the strike could ever be justified.
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