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Quick Takes: California Admissions Changes, Arrest of Scholar Accused of Genocide, Iraqi Presidents Seek U.S. Ties, Awaiting the Senate, Layoff-Furlough Double Whammy, Penalties for Incarnate Word, Complaints in Alaska, Trying to Fire Ayers, Angry Dons

February 6, 2009
  • The University of California Board of Regents on Thursday approved major changes in undergraduate admissions for the system's campuses. The system will ease the requirements to make someone eligible for a full admissions review, broadening the potential pool of admitted students. In addition, the university is ending the requirement that students submit two SAT Subject Test scores. The faculty-drafted plan is seen by supporters as a way to diversify the applicant pool and to avoid forcing students to take standardized tests that may add little to the admissions process. But critics fear that Asian-American enrollments could drop, while most of the resulting open slots go not to other minority applicants, but to white students.
  • Leopold Munyakazi, who was until recently teaching French at Goucher College, was arrested Thursday and U.S. officials are beginning the process of deporting him, The Baltimore Sun reported. Goucher suspended Munyakazi after learning that he faces charges in Rwanda of participating in genocide there. Munyakazi denies the charges and says that the government there is trying to punish him for speaking out against its policies.
  • A delegation of seven Iraqi university presidents is attending the American Council on Education's annual meeting, which starts tomorrow in Washington, and visiting several American campuses. At a discussion with reporters Thursday, several stressed a desire to build relationships with American universities involving faculty exchanges and collaborative research.
  • The U.S. Senate ceased work on its version of the economic stimulus bill Thursday evening as it waited for a group of moderate lawmakers to come forward with an expected amendment to slash tens of billions of dollars from the measure to try to win more Republican support. Based on a draft version of the amendment being crafted by Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, it would cut $1.4 billion in research and other funds for the National Science Foundation and money for several other science agencies, but sustain the nearly $14 billion in money for Pell Grants, for which college lobbyists were aggressively fighting. But the situation was very much in flux late Thursday, with lawmakers vowing to continue their work this morning.
  • Arizona State University is dealing with deep state budget cuts in part through layoffs and in part through furloughs. The Arizona Republic reported that some of those who have received layoff notices may also be required to have furloughs in their remaining time on the job.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II Committee on Infractions punished the University of the Incarnate Word Thursday for violations in its men's basketball program. The panel found that a former assistant basketball coach at the institution had given cash and loans to a prospective player and that the former head coach failed to monitor the assistant coach's behavior. Both former coaches will be required to appear before the infractions committee if they seek to work at NCAA institutions for the next two years, and Incarnate Word agreed to impose recruiting limits and vacate victories in games in which ineligible athletes participated.
  • Legislators in Alaska used a budget hearing to complain that professors and students at the University of Alaska oppose development projects that bring the state money -- while asking for more state funds for higher education. The Juneau Empire quoted Rep. Mike Kelly as saying: "They come down here and rail against anything that brings in the very bucks that they come down here and tell us that we owe them." Mark Hamilton, the university system president, urged lawmakers not to judge the entire university by the views of some. "We probably have the most conservative faculty, and the most conservative student body, you'll ever meet," he said. "Thank goodness you are not representing Berkeley."
  • How many professors at Illinois public universities are known for having once been members of groups that committed violent acts against the U.S. government? William Ayers comes to mind, but Illinois State Sen. Larry Bomke, a Republican, claims not to have a specific target with his bill to ban public universities from employing anyone who was involved in such groups. "It's not specifically for him," Bomke told WCIA3 News. "But if the shoe fits, well, then he should be gone." Ayers is the University of Illinois at Chicago professor who once was a leader of the Weather Underground and who was a favorite target of Republicans during the presidential campaign last year. Bomke said he didn't realize Ayers was a professor in the state until the campaign. In a speech Thursday, Ayers said that legislators have better things to do than focus on this legislation, which he called "frivolous." The Chicago Tribune quoted Ayers as saying that Bomke is "working off a Fox News paradigm."
  • Proposed rules changes at the University of Cambridge have many professors angry. The Guardian reported that the university wants to take away professors' right to appeal to the highest governing bodies in cases where they face disciplinary hearings or could lose their jobs for other reasons. The proposal would still give some appeal rights to professors, but would align those rights with the due process system currently provided to librarians, technicians and non-academic staff members. Faculty members note that the system used by those employees has never found in favor of an employee.
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