Quick Takes: Arizona Senate Rejects 'Opt Out' Bill, Brown Provost to Become Chicago President, Hamilton Keeps SAT-Optional Policy, Death Toll Rises for Iraqi Academics, Dissent at St. Thomas, Notre Dame Professor Cleared on Plagiarism Charge

March 10, 2006
  • The Arizona Senate has rejected a bill -- widely opposed by academics in the state -- that would have let students opt out of material that they found offensive, the Associated Press reported. The bill was considered by many professors to be the worst form to date of the "Academic Bill of Rights" and many were alarmed when a Senate committee approved the legislation, whose sponsor said it was prompted by a complaint over a course where The Ice Storm was on the reading list.
  • The University of Chicago's board is expected today to formally name Robert J. Zimmer, provost of Brown University, as Chicago's next president. Zimmer is a mathematician who taught at Chicago for more than two decades before becoming Brown's provost in 2002. He will succeed Don Michael Randel, who is leaving the Chicago presidency he has held since 2000 to become president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
  • Hamilton College announced Thursday that it would make permanent a policy -- put in place as an experiment five years ago -- making the SAT optional for college admissions. About 40 percent of the students in each entering class have opted not to submit SAT scores and they fare slightly better academically at the college than the students who do submit the SAT. While the experiment was in place, Hamilton also found that it attracted more minority students. College officials pointed out that the decision was made prior to this week's embarrassing announcement by the College Board that several thousand students received incorrect SAT scores.
  • At least 182 Iraqi academics have been killed by gunmen since the United States invaded the country, according to new estimates by academic groups, Reuters reported.
  • Unusual levels of dissent and debate have emerged at the University of St. Thomas, The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, following a recent incident in which the university instructed an unmarried couple not to share a bed while traveling on university business. Many professors feel that the Roman Catholic institution is going too far into trying to enforce its values on employees' lives.
  • A prominent theologian at the University of Notre Dame, the Rev. Richard McBrien, has been cleared of plagiarism charges made by a conservative Roman Catholic group, the AP reported.
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