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Quick Takes: Presidential Donations, A's at Brown, Busting the Police Chief, Conviction Over 'Low Work' Job, Settlement With Ex-President of Community College of Denver, Plagiarism Vigilante Answers Comments, Stimulus Would Help NIH, Calling Tim and Heidi

November 19, 2008
  • A number of college presidents have made a point of turning down raises or making substantial contributions to their institutions when their salaries have gone up. Many of those presidents earn quite a lot. James A. Drake, president of Florida's Brevard Community College, was just awarded a healthy increase in his salary, which went from $190,000 to $290,000 -- more than most professors, but not setting any records among presidents. On Tuesday, Drake announced that he was donating the entire $100,000 raise to the college for scholarships to help students pay for books. The previous two years, Drake turned down any raise in base pay from his board. Also on Tuesday, the University of Pennsylvania announced a $100,000 donation from Amy Gutmann, the president, and her husband, Michael Doyle. The funds primarily will support undergraduate research.
  • The Brown Daily Herald has noticed some interesting data about grades at Brown University. Last year, for the first time, a majority of all grades given to undergraduates were A's. In 2007-8, 50.6 percent of grades were A's. A decade earlier, the percentage was 42.5 percent.
  • The top police official at Southern University at New Orleans quit Tuesday, just hours after state auditors released a report saying that she ran many personal errands on the job, gave herself too much overtime, and didn't take the department's required firearms test for the last five years, The Times-Picayune reported. Leatrice Warren, who took over the police force in 2002, could not be reached for comment. Errands she did on the job, some in marked police cars, involved travel of 3,003 miles during a period starting in 2006 and ending this year.
  • Wayne R. Bryant, a former state senator in New Jersey, was convicted Tuesday of bribery and mail and wire fraud in connection with a "low work" job he obtained at the School of Osteopathic Medicine of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, The Star-Ledger reported. The former dean of the school, R. Michael Gallagher, was also convicted of bribery charges for hiring Bryant for what federal prosecutors viewed as a bogus job. The prosecution theory apparently accepted by jurors was that Bryant helped the university win millions in additional funding in return for receiving the job. Both men denied wrongdoing.
  • The Colorado Community College System is once again saying nice things about Christine Johnson, whose contract as president of the Community College of Denver was not renewed last year amid critical state audits. The system on Tuesday issued a statement praising Johnson for leading the college during tough economic times and attracting considerable recognition for the college. The Denver Post reported that the statements are part of a settlement with Johnson -- one that includes a $60,000 payment to her and another $21,000 for her lawyers -- in which she will drop discrimination claims against the college.
  • Loye Young, the instructor fired by Texas A&M International University for posting the names of student plagiarizers on his business Web site, has responded to those who weighed in on Inside Higher Ed's article on his case. "On a moral and pedagogical level, public disclosure is appropriate. Humiliation is a healthy part of a well-informed conscience and is singularly effective for correcting deceptive behavior and preventing recurrence. Those who practice deceit fear detection and notoriety above all else," he wrote in a lengthy comment, now toward the end of the many posted under the article. He concluded: "I stand by my actions, and I appreciate the many supportive public and private comments I’ve received. I also respect and welcome those who openly disagree with me. This is a conversation long overdue."
  • Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate proposed a $100 billion economic stimulus package Tuesday that would provide $1 billion in funds for the National Institutes of Health and $175 million in research support for the Department of Energy's Office of Science. A document explaining the legislation, which was offered by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, said that the money would "restore some of the purchasing power of NIH that was lost because of inflation in the past five years and allow NIH to award as many as 2,700 new
    research project grants." The measure would also provide hundreds of millions of dollars in job training funds, but does not include funds to increase the Pell Grant or eliminate a multi-billion-dollar shortfall in the need-based financial aid program, as college lobbyists had hoped.
  • The British design world is aghast at the quality of fashion and design graduates from universities and art colleges, The Guardianreported. The key problem: They can't sew.
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