Quick Takes: U.S. Leadership in Physics Seen in Danger, New Reports From Spellings Panel, Columbia Bars Sudan Stocks, RPI President Seeks Better Communication, Minn. Students Walk Out of Classes, Congressman at Frat Party

May 1, 2006
  • A new report by the National Research Council says that the historic leadership of the United States in particle physics is in danger, and calls for the United States to push to be the site of the next major particle accelerator.
  • The commission appointed by the education secretary to study American higher education has released four new reports. The reports, like earlier studies released by the panel, are not official views of the commission. The topics of the latest reports are the health workforce, the link between education and income, shortfalls in state spending on higher education, and adult education.
  • Columbia University on Friday became the latest to announce that it would not invest in companies linked to supporting the genocidal policies of Sudan's government. Columbia said that it had identified 18 such companies. Columbia does not currently have holdings in any of them, and the university's investment managers will be told to avoid the entities. Columbia joins such institutions as Harvard and Stanford Universities and the University of California with anti-Sudan investment stances.
  • Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, pledged on Friday to do a better job of communicating with faculty members, but she didn't give any ground on her policies and said that professors also needed to reach out to her. Jackson's remarks came days after the faculty rejected a no confidence measure in Jackson, with her presidency winning the vote by a slim margin, 155-149. Many angry faculty members said that Jackson's priorities favored new faculty members over those with long histories at the institute, and that engineering and graduate programs were suffering. Jackson responded that her priorities -- especially related to fund raising -- were intended to respond to those problems. She called the discussions on campus of late "wrenching," and while she said she would reach out, she insisted that she alone was not to blame. "I will listen to you. But you have to listen to me, as well.... You cannot hope to get my attention and cooperation by vilifying me or trying to embarrass me publicly," she said. "Let us turn to each other and say I am sorry."
  • Several hundred University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students, along with students from area high schools, walked out of classes Friday for a protest against the war in Iraq, the Associated Press reported. Local police arrested one protester for throwing paint at a local military recruiting station, the AP said, and cited five others for disorderly conduct for smearing the paint.
  • Photographs of U.S. Rep. John E. Sweeney, a New York Republican, at a Union College fraternity party suggest that he was getting closer to student drinking culture than most members of Congress do. Sweeney's attendance at the party was first reported by Union's student paper, which said he was "acting openly intoxicated." The New York Times ran one of the photographs of the party with an article Saturday in which an aide to Sweeney said he ended up at the party after attending a wake and having dinner in the area. Sweeney "enjoyed the dialogue" with the students at the Alpha Delta Phi house, the aide told The Times.
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