Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 3:00am

Colleges and universities were among the entities that allegedly miscalculated how many jobs had been saved on their campuses through the use of federal stimulus funds, leading to overcounting of the national numbers, The Wall Street Journal reported. The White House said in recent days that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had saved a total of 640,000 jobs so far, including 325,000 in education. But the Journal finds that some organizations misunderstood the forms or exaggerated the number of jobs that had been saved. Stetson University, for example, counted every part-time student who received work study funds, greatly boosting its count, the Journal said.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 3:00am

British government leaders have called on universities to be more inclusive in whom they admit, with less of a focus on grades or test scores in cases where applicants may have potential, The Guardian reported. Peter Mandelson, the business minister, who also has responsibility for universities, said: "What we are saying is that nobody should be disadvantaged or penalised on the basis of the families they come from, of school they attended and the way in which simple assessment based on A-level results might exclude them." While the government can't order changes in admissions policies, its pressure could be significant.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 3:00am

Matteo Fontana, the former general manager for financial-partner services in Education Department's student-aid office, pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest and false-statement charges over his ownership of stock in a loan company, The Wall Street Journal reported. Fontana held as many as 10,500 shares of Education Lending Group Inc. when he joined the Education Department in 2002, prosecutors said. The holdings became public when Andrew Cuomo, New York State's attorney general, started investigating conflicts of interest between the lending industry and colleges.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 3:00am

The University of Mississippi has altered its fight song to discourage a chant of "the South will rise again," based on the old version. With many fans continuing that chant -- which many find offensive -- Chancellor Dan Jones said Monday that either the chant stops, or he'll bar the song from being played at football games, the Associated Press reported. "The University of Mississippi is a warm and welcoming place. So many have worked hard to make sure our image moves forward, and we don't want anything to hurt that," Jones said in a speech.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 3:00am

About 2,700 teaching and research assistants walked off the job Monday at McMaster University, in Ontario, The Canadian Press reported. Negotiations have resumed on a new contract.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 3:00am

The fight over academic boycotts of Israel -- which has been centered in Britain -- has shifted to Norway, The Jerusalem Post reported. The board of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology will consider a boycott proposal this month, at the request of professors. Israeli academic leaders are organizing a campaign against the plan.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 3:00am

The cities (and colleges campuses) we see in the movies are not always what they claim to be -- and that doesn't go over well with students at Johns Hopkins University. The Social Network is currently being filmed at Hopkins, which is in effect playing the part of Harvard, which doesn't permit commercial films to be shot on its campus. The fee the university is receiving isn't enough to justify pretending to be Harvard, students told The Baltimore Sun. They fear Hopkins looks like a safety school. "The general consensus is, a lot of kids are not pleased," one student told the Sun. "It's obvious they [the filmmakers] could get Hopkins and not get Harvard."

Monday, November 2, 2009 - 3:00am

Students at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania have been protesting lack of access to a library, poor food service, and the way police treated a student who organized their protests, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. The student -- who was inspired to get more vocal after finding a moth in her salad at the university cafeteria -- staged an 11-day hunger strike over the issues. The library has been closed for renovations since January 2008 and students must use trailers to get access to books, which the students say take 24 hours to arrive. Lincoln officials say that they are working to get the library project and other improvements completed, but will not comment on the protests.

Monday, November 2, 2009 - 3:00am

Samim Anghaie, and his wife, Susan, were arrested Friday and charged with fraud for using $3.7 million in government contracts for personal uses, such as the purchase of cars and homes, The Gainesville Sun reported. The two are also charged with submitting false information to get the contracts from various federal agencies. Samim Anghaie has been director of Florida's Innovative Nuclear Space Power and Propulsion Institute. The couple's lawyer said that they had no comment on the charges.

Monday, November 2, 2009 - 3:00am

Just weeks after releasing its latest ranking of universities worldwide, and receiving some criticism over the methodology, The Times Higher announced a new partner for the project and a decision to revisit the methodology. Ann Mroz, editor of Times Higher, said in a statement in her publication that while she was pleased with the influence of the rankings, "we acknowledge the criticism and now want to work with the sector to produce a legitimate and robust research tool for academics and university administrators." The new partner for the project will be Thomson Reuters.

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