Authorities investigating unusual chemical smells in a Georgetown University dormitory Saturday morning evacuated 400 students and found what appears to be a drug lab, The Washington Post reported. Two male students and a visitor were arrested, and many other students were stunned by the news. "I would understand if someone got caught doing it. Making it, that's different. It's shocking," one student told the Post.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Nearly 49,000 students in New Jersey, most of them with low incomes, are in danger of losing state aid because they have not filled out a one-page financial aid form that the state requires, The Star-Ledger reported. The forms are due by Nov. 15 and state officials are trying to contact all of the students. While some would lose only a few hundred dollars, others would lose more than $10,000 a year if they are deemed ineligible.
Some students charge that the University of California at Los Angeles is effectively ending its Islamic studies program, by failing to move quickly on a pledge made in 2007 to reorganize it, the Los Angeles Times reported. The pledge was made at a time that admissions to the program were suspended. On Friday, students held a protest, carrying signs that said "Scared of Islam? Learn about it." Faculty leaders say that they are working to revive the program.
Friends of Steve Li, a student at the City College of San Francisco, are trying to build support to keep him in the United States. The Contra Costa Times reported that authorities have charged Li and his parents with being in the United States illegally. An unusual twist on the case is that Li's parents are Chinese, but he was born when they were in Peru. As a result, federal authorities are trying to send his parents to China, and Li to Peru, where he does not know a single person. Li is currently being held in a detention center in Arizona. He said he can't imagine leaving the U.S. "I've been living [in the United States], studying here. I feel like I've been here all my life. All my friends, my teachers, my family is here," he said.
An Egyptian administrative court on Saturday upheld a lower court's ruling ordering police units that have been permanently stationed at universities for years to leave the campuses, and to let education officials supervise security, Reuters reported. Several Cairo University faculty members sued, charging that university autonomy was being violated, and the court agreed. "The presence of permanent Interior Ministry police forces inside the Cairo University campus represents an impairment of the independence guaranteed to the university by the constitution and the law," the court ruling said.
College seniors who graduated in 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from the previous year, according to data released Thursday by the Project on Student Debt. At the same time, unemployment for recent college graduates climbed from 5.8 percent in 2008 to 8.7 percent in 2009 – the highest annual rate on record for college graduates aged 20 to 24. Details are available from the project's Web site.
An anonymous Boston College law student has published an open letter asking his dean to let him leave the law school without a diploma this semester (two and a half years into the program) in return for getting his tuition money back. The student writes that he was convinced to go to law school by "empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career," and that now he faces the likely prospect of huge debts and no decent job. The deal he proposed, the student writes, would benefit both parties: "on the one hand, I will be free to return to the teaching career I left to come here. I’ll be able to provide for my family without the crushing weight of my law school loans. On the other hand, this will help BC Law go up in the rankings, since you will not have to report my unemployment at graduation to U.S. News. This will present no loss to me, only gain: in today’s job market, a J.D. seems to be more of a liability than an asset." The student's request comes in a year of increased scrutiny of the placement records of law schools. Boston College does not seem likely to agree to the proposal. A statement it released to The Boston Herald said that law schools can't guarantee anyone a job. "What we can do is provide the best education possible, and work together to provide as many career opportunities as possible," the statement said.
Canadian medical schools, worried that women are being admitted at higher rates than men, are adjusting admissions criteria in ways that favor men, The Globe and Mail reported. McMaster University, for instance, decreased its emphasis on grades and saw its male admission rate go up.
The University of Virginia has released its inquiry into the management of the Virginia Quarterly Review, the award-winning journal that has been the subject of conflicting reports since the suicide this summer of Kevin Morrissey, the managing editor. Morrissey's death led some people (and some news reports) to say that he had been bullied in the work place by the top editor at the review, Ted Genoways. Others, however, said that Genoways was being unfairly made a scapegoat for a tragedy. The university's report does not cite evidence of bullying, and also finds that the university did not ignore evidence of serious problems. The university did observe that it had heard of personnel tensions at the Review, but said that many saw those issues as "conflicts between a creative, innovative manager and persons who did not share the editor's aspirations." The report notes that some actions taken as a result of the inquiry are not being made public as they involve personnel. And the report identifies problems with documentation of some spending and states that funds "arguably were not spent in a judicious manner."
Suffolk University on Wednesday announced the retirement, immediately, of David J. Sargent as president. Sargent has led the institution since 1989, but as The Boston Globe reported, some on the board (and others) have argued in recent years that his compensation package (currently $1.5 million) is too large and that he has excluded many at the university from a meaningful role in making decisions.