Quick Takes: College Groups Blast Budget Bill, Salary Oversight at U. of California, U.S. Releases Iraqi Scientist, Gender Gap Grows in Computer Science

December 20, 2005
  • Twelve college and student groups sent a strongly worded letter Monday to all members of the U.S. Senate urging a No vote on a compromise budget reconciliation measure passed by the House of Representatives early Monday. The letter said the legislation would "pay for deficit reduction by sending the bill directly to America’s college students and their parents," citing cuts in student loans and an administrative change that could undermine Pell Grants and direct lending. The groups said those changes -- and the abandonment of a need-based grant program that had been in the Senate's version of the bill -- far outweighed the bill's advantages.
  • The University of California Board of Regents on Monday announced the creation of a new committee and the use of outside auditors to monitor compensation for senior officials. Recent newspaper articles in the state have focused on the six-figure salaries paid to top professors and the homes provided to campus presidents, and while university officials have defended these arrangements, the announcement said that additional oversight would assure politicians and the public that compensation policies were receiving serious consideration.
  • Huda Ammash, an Iraqi scientist whose imprisonment has concerned many academic groups, was recently released by U.S. military authorities, CNN reported. The network quoted military officials as saying that Ammash -- who turned herself in in 2003 -- was no longer the subject of an investigation. Shortly after the U.S. invaded Iraq, Pentagon officials dubbed Ammash "Mrs. Anthrax" and suggested that she was responsible for Iraq's chemical weapons program. But as time passed, and she was not formally charged with anything, academic groups took up her cause. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of University Professors, the the Network for Education and Academic Rights had all been lobbying for her release.
  • As a young science discipline, computer science was once seen as relatively welcoming to women, but the gender gap in the field is growing, The Boston Globe reported.
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