Higher Education Quick Takes

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Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:00am

A new report, "Taking Stock: Higher Education and Latinos," summarizes research about the progress of Latino students in higher education and the views of political leaders and students themselves on that progress -- and areas where not enough progress has been made. The report urges a renewed national focus on increasing educational attainment by Latinos. Such a focus might include a media campaign, goals for enrollments and graduation rates, and increased support (along with accountability measures) for institutions that educate large numbers of Latino students. The report was prepared by Excelencia in Education.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:00am

The stem cell lines most commonly used by researchers are lacking in diversity, according to a study by University of Michigan professors that is being published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The Michigan team analyzed 47 embryonic stem cell lines and found that most were derived from donors of northern and western European ancestry. None of the lines were from people of recent African ancestry, from Pacific Islanders, or from populations indigenous to the Americas, the researchers said.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 3:00am

Black students at Georgetown University are protesting the campus humor magazine's attempt to satirize a controversy over race related to the April Fool's edition of The Georgetown Hoya, the main student newspaper, the Associated Press reported. The Hoya's joke issue featured an article -- denounced as offensive by many students -- calling for more sex between black and white students on campus. Editors of The Georgetown Heckler, the humor magazine, say they were trying to poke fun at that controversy with an article that described Hoya staffers celebrating the holiday season with a "cross lighting." The article is illustrated with a photograph of hooded Ku Klux Klan members lighting a cross, with the caption "Jubilant Hoya staffers taking part in the annual tradition."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 3:00am

An organization that seeks tougher enforcement of immigration laws is suing Texas over a state law that gives in-state tuition rates to some students who lack the documentation to show that they have the legal right to live in the United States, The Houston Chronicle reported. The suit charges that the law violates federal statutes, but defenders argue that there is no such federal ban. The suit says that at least 8,000 students currently benefit from the law.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 3:00am

The barrage of dueling entreaties and warnings about the future of the federal student loans continued Tuesday, as four leading Congressional Republicans told college presidents in a letter that "the elimination of the [Federal Family Education Loan Program] is not imminent" because "there remains widespread, bipartisan support in Congress" to continue it. Many Republicans oppose the Obama administration's plan to end the lender-based guaranteed loan program and shift all federal lending to the competing Direct Loan Program, for which Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Democratic leaders, in multiple letters, have encouraged college leaders to prepare. Tuesday's letter from Sens. Michael B. Enzi and Lamar Alexander and Reps. John Kline and Brett Guthrie accused Democrats of "prematurely pressur[ing] schools" to switch programs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 3:00am

Eastfield College is being sued for allegedly violating the religious freedom of students in a ceramics class by barring them from making crosses in the class, WFAA News reported. The Texas community college says that the class bans many relatively common objects students might create -- including Christmas items, dog bowls, and mugs with names of states or football teams -- not to limit religious expression, but to encourage student creativity.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 3:00am

As negotiations and lobbying continue, Pittsburgh's City Council is slated to vote today on a plan to impose a 1 percent tax on tuition, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, and the outcome is unclear. Earlier articles suggested that the necessary five votes were there for passage, but the newspaper quoted one of the council members who had been expected to vote Yes as saying she was undecided, and others may want to delay a vote. Higher education leaders and students have been strongly opposing the idea, and a court fight is likely to follow any vote to impose the tax.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 3:00am

Students at Boise State University organized a rally after hateful fliers were distributed on campus -- by who is not known -- KTVB News reported. The fliers claimed to be providing information about safe sex, and said that "blacks are walking STD factories" and "once you go black we don't want you back."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 3:00am

Authorities are investigating vandalism that damaged about three-fourths of the pianos in practice rooms at Ithaca College this weekend, The Ithaca Journal reported. Some of the pianos were severely damaged, while others had parts removed. The piano vandalism comes as music students are preparing for final exams and performances.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 3:00am

Canadian universities -- like their counterparts in the United States -- have been telling students to stay away from campuses if they have flu-like symptoms. But some students are taking advantage, according to an article in Maclean's, which said that students "quickly expanded the definition of flu-like symptoms to include smoker’s cough, hangovers and an insatiable appetite for TLC’s Cake Boss." The magazine spoke to one Dalhousie University student who said she reported flu-like symptoms once for her logic course and once in her deduction course, and was planning to contract flu-like symptoms before an epistemology exam. "It’s supposed to come in waves," she said. The University of Western Ontario recently created a database into which students skipping classes for H1N1-related reasons are supposed to enter their names. While the database could be used to detect those experiencing multiple instances of the "flu," officials said it was created for public health record-keeping.

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