Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Subscribe to Inside Higher Ed | Quick Takes
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 3:00am

Carleton University, in Ottawa, announced Tuesday that it has replaced a professor teaching an introductory sociology course who is facing extradition to France, where authorities have accused him of a role in a deadly 1980 bombing of a synagogue, The Canadian Press reported. News that Hassan Diab -- who maintains his innocence -- was teaching at Carleton became public Monday, leading to criticism of the university. A Carleton statement said that Diab was replaced immediately “in the interest of providing its students with a stable, productive academic environment that is conducive to learning."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 3:00am

The College Art Association has filed a brief -- prepared by the National Coalition Against Censorship -- with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the justices to back a lower court's ruling finding unconstitutional a federal law barring depictions of certain kinds of animal cruelty. The association argues that artists and professors who create or use artistic materials could be charged with breaking the law. The brief notes that the association is not defending actual cruelty to animals -- which is barred under other statutes -- but regulation of artistic depictions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 3:00am

Responding to a request by lawmakers supportive of the guaranteed student loan program, the Congressional Budget Office has released a letter arguing that President Obama's plan to make all loans out of the government's direct loan program would save the Treasury less money than the administration suggests. The letter, requested by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), uses an alternative method of calculating the cost of the Obama plan that takes into account the "riskiness" of the loans that students would borrow (and on which some of them would default), especially if changes in the financial markets result in a longer-term downturn. Using this alternative method, the budget office asserts, the Obama proposal (which House Democrats have largely embraced) would save the government $47 billion over 10 years, far less than the $87 billion Education Department officials have said. Student loan groups and some Republican lawmakers seized on the CBO letter to restate their opposition to the administration's plan. "CBO’s conclusion that a downturn could cause a $33 billion swing in projected cost savings is reason enough for Congress not to rush consideration of the administration’s proposal and to consider alternative reform proposals that pose less risks and costs to students and schools," said Kevin Bruns of America's Student Loan Providers. But House Democrats accused the GOP of trying to "cook the books" and an Education Department spokesman said: "While the 'market cost' analysis provides a useful perspective -- and confirms that the administration’s approach saves tens of billions of dollars -- the cost estimate using the official methodology is a more accurate depiction of the policy’s impact on federal deficits and debt.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 3:00am

Lawrence Eppley, a University of Illinois trustee who is among those found to have urged the admission of politically connected applicants, is resigning from the board and urging others to do the same, the Chicago Tribune reported. "The public's confidence in the university must be restored, and one way to begin to restore that confidence is to make a clean start," he wrote in his resignation letter. The letter also strongly suggested that administrators -- many of whom have blamed the scandal on trustees -- need to share in the responsibility. "While the trustees are, in the end, responsible for the overall governance of the university, it is also important that the public has confidence and trust in the campus administrators who bear responsibility for the day-to-day decisions that have impacted the U of I in these circumstances. It is my hope that these administrators will also put the university first and assume responsibility for their roles in this matter," the letter said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 - 3:00am

President Obama on Tuesday nominated David S. Ferriero to become the next archivist of the United States. Groups of historians and archivists have been urging the president to pick someone with substantial experience in managing large library collections and Ferriero has such a background. He is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Library, and he previously led its research libraries division. Prior to that he held senior library positions at Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 3:00am

A foundation created and led by Henry Louis Gates Jr. is amending its federal tax form after questions were raised about $11,000 paid to foundation officers -- funds that the original tax form called research grants, but that should have been classified as compensation, ProPublica reported. When the payments are accounted for accurately, the foundation's administrative expenses will account for 40 percent of its spending in 2007, not 1 percent as originally reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Gates created the Inkwell Foundation with the goal of supporting work on African and African-American literature, history and culture, the article said. The report by ProPublica also noted that some of the actual grants went to people close to Gates. Gates told ProPublica that the foundation's second-largest grant, for $6,000, went to his fiancée, Angela DeLeon. DeLeon was formerly on the foundation board and Gates said he recused himself from a vote on the grant. A grant of $500 went to Evelyn Higginbotham, chair of the foundation's board and chair of Harvard University's Department of African and African-American studies. Gates said she didn't vote on the grant. ProPublica is an organization that conducts investigative journalism. The article noted that Gates -- the Harvard scholar who is a leading figure in African-American studies whose arrest at his home has set off a national debate about the way black men are treated by law enforcement -- also serves on ProPublica's board.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 3:00am

Three members of the board of the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University are suing the university to block any plans to sell its world-class art collection, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported. Plans by Brandeis to sell the collection set off widespread protests by artists and scholars, at Brandeis and elsewhere. The university says it is re-evaluating its plans, but many supporters of the museum are dubious. A lawyer for Brandeis told the Journal that the lawsuit was "frivolous and without merit" and that the university "has taken aggressive steps to protect its core educational mission."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 3:00am

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday sued a couple, John J. and Frances Stuart, charging that their business was engaged in illegal marketing techniques by telling parents that their children had expressed an interest in materials they were selling. The business -- SAT and ACT Prep Center Inc. -- sells test prep materials. State investigators found that the company called parents, claimed that their children wanted the materials, and sold them for $120. Many parents later reported that their children never requested the materials. Further, the state found that the materials could be found online for about $10. A lawyer for the Stuarts told the Associated Press that they deny any "intentional or systematic wrongdoing."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - 3:00am

Hassan Diab is facing extradition hearings in Canada following the decision by French authorities to charge him with a role in a bombing attack on a Paris synagogue that killed four people and wounded many others in 1980. A court hearing Monday revealed that Diab is teaching an introductory sociology course every Tuesday and Thursday at Carleton University in Ottawa, The Canadian Press reported. Diab maintains that he is innocent of the charges. Under his bail agreement, he cannot leave his house without being accompanied by one of five individuals but that requirement does not cover his time at the university.

Monday, July 27, 2009 - 3:00am

Faced with no good options, a union representing California State University faculty members decided to accept a furlough plan that will reduce compensation by about 10 percent, union leaders announced Friday. The California Faculty Association also questioned Chancellor Charles B. Reed’s leadership, voting “no confidence” in him by a margin of 80 percent. The union represents tenure-track faculty as well as lecturers, who would be most likely to lose jobs if furloughs hadn’t been approved. While the vote indicates some tenured and tenure track faculty essentially voted to preserve other people’s jobs, the measure passed by a significant but not overwhelming margin of 54 percent. The union had criticized Reed for not guaranteeing the furloughs would save jobs, although Reed told Inside Higher Ed he estimated 6,000 positions would be saved if the 23,000 union-represented faculty and other employees took furloughs. The association is affiliated with the National Education Association and the American Association of University Professors, as well as Service Employees International Union.

Pages

Back to Top