Quick Takes: E-Mails Back Claims in MIT Dispute, Voc-Ed Bill Advances, Judge Reinstates Newspaper Adviser, Court Upholds $600,000 Award, Church-State Dispute, Watching Canadians, White House Honors Young Scientists, Post-Scandal Ad Campaign Nixed

July 28, 2006
  • The Boston Globe is today publishing the e-mail exchanges between a star neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the rising star in the field some scientists say he discouraged from accepting a job offer. The Globe earlier reported on demands by some scientists that MIT investigate the role played by Susumu Tonegawa in leading Alla Karpova to turn down MIT's offer, but Tonegawa has denied doing anything wrong. The e-mail exchanges published by MIT show Karpova trying to win Tonegawa over, but Tonegawa repeatedly warning her of problems she would face at MIT because her work might overlap with his. The incident has prompted many in higher education to consider the issues facing new hires who are opposed by more senior members of their departments.
  • The House of Representatives is expected to give final approval today to legislation to extend the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act. The Senate passed the compromise measure on Wednesday, and upon House passage, which is expected, the legislation will go to President Bush for his signature. The Bush administration has proposed wiping out the program's funds in recent years, but the president is expected to sign the bill, which would, among other things, maintain a separate stream of funds for the Tech-Prep Program.
  • A federal court judge has barred Ocean County College from removing the student newspaper adviser from her position pending the outcome of a lawsuit in which editors of the Viking News accuse the college of retaliating against the paper for publishing articles critical of administrators, according to the Student Press Law Center. In his written decision, Judge Stanley R. Chesler said he had issued the preliminary injunction because the student plaintiffs had "demonstrated a likelihood of success" in proving that Karen Bosley was removed from her post in retaliation for the critical articles. The judge declined to grant other requests the students had sought, including barring the director of student media from its offices.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit largely upheld a lower court's award of more than $600,000 in damages, lost compensation and lawyers' cost to a former professor who had accused Shelby State Community College of racial discrimination and retaliation. The appeals court found that the lower court jury and judge had rightfully concluded that the Tennessee college had inappropriately weighed Robert Cox's history of filing discrimination complaints in deciding to remove him from his teaching position, and that its award of "front pay" was appropriate. But the appeals panel found that the lower court had awarded Cox too much front pay because it calculated the amount using an incorrect age for him.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has declined a request that it reconsider its ruling in a church-state lawsuit challenging a federal grant of $500,000 to the University of Notre Dame. The court's order denying a rehearing of the case heard by a three-judge panel of the court is not a decision in the case, and leaves open the possibility of appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the original legal challenge is over church-state issues, much of the appeals court's ruling was on the question of mootness and whether a challenge to a grant is appropriate once the funds have been spent. The appeals court ruled that just because Notre Dame had spent the money did not mean that the case was moot.
  • Canadians coming to the United States for college would be subject to the same fingerprinting requirements imposed on other foreign students, under regulations proposed in the Federal Register Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The White House has named 56 winners of this year's Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. The winners are nominated by nine federal agencies.
  • What should a university that has faced months of financial scandals and budget cuts do? At the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, officials thought a $2.5 million advertising campaign would be just the thing to restore the institution's image. But aides to Gov. Jon Corzine told the university to abandon the idea, The Star-Ledger reported.
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