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Quick Takes: Another Call for Values in Admissions, Obama Impact on Youth Voting, Obama Impact on Foreign Students, Election Day Noose at Baylor, Colorado State President Quits

November 6, 2008
  • Admissions officers should assert the importance of educational values -- as opposed to pure competition -- in their work, and commit more effort to attracting disadvantaged students to higher education, says a new report from the College Board. The report was prepared by a group of leaders in the profession, and it notes a series of "have" and "have-not" divisions in higher education. "Although the mailboxes of high-achieving students overflow with letters urging them to apply to colleges across the country, the mailboxes of nearly half a million potential college students sit empty because their high school grades and test scores are disappointing," the report says.
  • Preliminary projections show that turn-out for young voters, ages 18-29, will be between 49.3 and 54.5 percent for Tuesday's elections, an increase of 1 to 6 percentage points over 2004 estimates, according to an analysis from Tufts University's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. Peter Levine, the center's director, explained that the range is so wide due to the ongoing uncertainty about the total number of votes cast by Americans of all ages, and that the lower-end estimate of youth turn-out, which would represent just a 1 percent uptick over a 2004, is based on the unlikely assumption that all votes have already been counted. What's particularly striking about the data is the degree to which young voters broke for President-elect Barack Obama over John McCain, favoring Obama 66 to 32 percent while, overall, 52 percent of voters preferred Obama and 46 percent McCain. "Traditionally young voters have not diverged much from older voters in their presidential preferences," said Levine. "Obama did the best of any president of any party in reaching young people since 1976, which is the first year we have data." Levine added that Ronald Reagan would be second-best, having attracted 59 percent of the youth vote in 1984 – interesting because the 1984 election "was seen as having a lasting, formative impact on that generation… There is a very significant possibility that if you lock in young voters that you can hold them for the rest of their lives." Meanwhile, John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, added that in some cases, the youth vote "turned red states into blue states." In Florida, for instance, "the most prized of states in electoral politics in the last 10 years, Barack Obama won the youth vote by 24 points, 61 to 37, and essentially tied everyone else," he said.
  • British universities worry that the election of Sen. Barack Obama as president-elect may make the United States more desirable than Britain to some foreign students, The Guardian reported. The unpopularity of U.S. foreign policy has been cited by some students seeking other locales, such as the UK, to study.
  • Baylor University officials are condemning the hanging of a noose on Election Day, and are investigating reports that some Obama campaign materials were burned in a barbecue pit, the Associated Press reported. David Garland, the interim president, issued a statement: "These events are deeply disturbing to us and are antithetical to the mission of Baylor University. We categorically denounce and will not tolerate racist acts of any kind on our campus."
  • Larry Penley unexpectedly resigned as president of Colorado State University Wednesday. The Denver Post reported that the move follows tensions with faculty and student leaders over distance education and other growth plans and public relations campaigns at a time that many feel the main campus needs more money and attention.
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