Quick Takes: Bush Veto Threat, Expanded 'Bologna' Process, 10% Stays in Texas, AFT Opposes Israel Boycott, Sallie Mae Settlement

May 23, 2005
  • President Bush on Friday vowed to veto any legislation that loosens limits that he placed on federally supported research involving stem cells. In remarks to reporters, he said, "I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is -- I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."
  • Europe is moving ahead with a plan to make its higher education systems more comparable -- with the goal of making it easier for Europeans to move among colleges in different countries and to have degrees recognized. On Friday, the 40 countries that have been involved in the "Bologna Process" -- named for the Italian city where the goal of "harmonizing" European higher education was first pledged in 1999 -- announced that five more countries have joined the effort. These countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Bologna countries have set a goal of 2010 to finish their efforts. The higher education ministers of all 45 countries released a joint statement Friday outlining the status of their efforts. One of the major goals of Bologna is to have standard lengths of time to complete programs (generally three years for an undergraduate degree and one to two years for a master's degree).
  • Efforts in the Texas Legislature to change the state's "10 percent" admissions law appear to have faltered, The Houston Chronicle reported. The law guarantees admission to any public college to anyone who graduates in the top 10 percent of a high school class. While the law helped Texas preserve diversity in higher education without affirmative action, many educators and students have found the admissions system frustrating. The Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would have allowed colleges to limit the number of applicants they admit under the plan. But the legislation failed to pass out of a Senate committee on Saturday.
  • The American Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 150,000 faculty members at colleges, is calling on the main faculty union in Britain to rescind its boycott of two Israel universities. The British union, facing international criticism, is reconsidering the boycott.
  • Sallie Mae announced Friday that it was paying the College Loan Corporation $14 million to settle a lawsuit over Sallie Mae's policies on loan consolidation. Sallie Mae said that the agreement was not an admission of wrongdoing and did not require it to change any policies. A federal appeals court's ruling this winter had breathed new life into the years-old lawsuit, siding  with College Loan Corp.
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