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Quick Takes: Anger Over Tennessee Plan, Stony Brook Research Assistants Unionize, Anti-Gay Column at U. of Washington, Shaw Protests on Dorms, Native American Anger at Utah

December 8, 2008
  • Radical ideas to save money -- floated by the chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents -- are angering many professors and students in the state, The Tennessean reported. Among the ideas: four-day work weeks, requiring all students to take specified numbers of credits online and eliminating many programs. Rumors have also surfaced, the newspaper said, that the board wants to shut Middle Tennessee State University or make it an online institution. The board governs the state's universities and community colleges outside the University of Tennessee. State leaders deny plans to shut a university or having specific plans to carry out these ideas. A Facebook group to oppose the plan is growing rapidly.
  • Research assistants at the State University of New York at Stony Brook voted Friday to unionize, Newsday reported. The final vote was 214-135 to be represented by the Communications Workers of America. Union organizers said that their main goals were better pay and benefits.
  • About 200 students at the University of Washington held a protest Friday about a recent column in the student newspaper that denounced gay marriage and warned that it would lead to legalized incest and bestiality, The Seattle Times reported. Editors of The Daily have defended the column -- while not endorsing its views -- as free speech. But many students say that it crossed lines of appropriate commentary and that the paper was inflammatory in publishing it, with an illustration of a man and a lamb.
  • Students at Shaw University, in North Carolina, are protesting what they call deteriorating dormitory conditions, including overcrowded, unclean bathrooms, and severe mold. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that 100 students staged a sit-in in the administration building until they were allowed to meet President Clarence Newsome, who promised to look into their complaints, but said that part of the problem was that many students hadn't paid their bills.
  • Native American students at the University of Utah say the institution ignores their issues, even while making money off of the "Ute" Indian name used by its athletic teams, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The University of Utah is one of the few institutions with Indian nicknames to which the National Collegiate Athletic Association does not object, citing the approval of tribes. But students on the campus say they don't approve. Many said that they are angry that the university gave up a federal grant for training American Indian teacher education students. The university said it couldn't afford the matching requirement.
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