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Quick Takes: Clustering of Minority Athletes, Change Brings Controversy at UDC, UMass Plans Major Increase in Tuition and Aid, Pennsylvania Aid Plan, College Will Return Fossils to Tribe, Thai Academic Flees

February 10, 2009
  • The "clustering" of college athletes in certain academic majors has been drawing increased attention, amid concerns that the National Collegiate Athletic Association's increasing academic standards, well-intentioned as they are, may be driving athletes -- or prompting colleges to push athletes -- into majors that are perceived as easier. A new study suggests that minority athletes are more likely than their white peers to collect in certain majors. The study, conducted by two researchers at Nova Southeastern University and published in the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, finds that four of the 12 universities in the Atlantic Coast Conference had more than 60 percent of their minority football players clustered in one major, while six of the 12 had 75 percent or more of their minority football players clustered in two majors.
  • Students at the University of the District of Columbia are planning protests over major changes being planned at the institution, The Washington Post reported. The university is planning to create a community college -- Washington lacks one -- and to raise tuition and admissions standards in the four-year programs that will not be part of the community college. For four-year students, the annual rate would go to $7,000 from $3,800 and open admissions would be ended. Students said that they are planning the protests because of concerns that the university will shift away from its mission of providing affordable education. University officials have defended the changes as necessary to raise academic quality.
  • The University of Massachusetts System is considering a plan in which tuition rates would go up by 15 percent, but enough money would be added to financial aid that most students with family incomes under the state median of $78,500 would see their bills and loans decrease, The Boston Globe reported.
  • Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania unveiled a plan Monday that would significantly increase the financial aid available to students with family incomes of up to $100,000 who attend the state's 14 community colleges and the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Using revenues from video poker, which the state plans to legalize in bars and taverns, Pennsylvania would essentially use grants to replace loans to fill the gap after families and students have paid what they can afford and taken in aid from federal and other sources.
  • Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota has agreed to return a disputed collection of dinosaur fossils to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, The Minneapolis Start Tribune reported. The fossils were collected in 2003 by a biology professor, since retired, and the college and tribe have since been debating the college's right to hold them. The newspaper quoted Mark Krejci, Concordia's vice president for academic affairs, as saying: ""The bone people are all excited about what's been found there, and we want to support the tribe.... We'll give them all back, grateful we've been able to do the research there."
  • Ji Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, has fled Thailand for Britain rather than face a trial under a lèse-majesté law that could have resulted in a sentence of 15 years in prison, the Associated Press reported. At issue is a book in which he suggested that the Thai monarchy played a role in a coup.
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