Quick Takes: Evolutionary Biology Majors Eligible for Grants, Details on Katrina Damage, $30M in Foreign Aid to Gulf Colleges, Evidence in Duke Case, Mayoral Help for St. Xavier, Mixed Grades for British Profs, Betting on Harvard's Next President

August 25, 2006
  • U.S. Education Department officials said Thursday that evolutionary biology is and always has been a major for which students can qualify for the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retaining Talent (SMART) Grants, contrary to several recent news reports, which suggested that the omission of the field from a list of eligible majors might have been purposeful. "The misunderstanding occurred as the result of a draft document that omitted evolutionary biology from a list of majors put forth for use by colleges," said David Dunn, chief of staff at the department. "As soon as the omission came to our attention, we took steps to correct it. However, regardless of its omission on that one document, evolutionary biology was and continues to be SMART grant eligible."
  • Democrats on the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce have released a report with details on the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to schools and colleges, and recovery efforts.
  • Foreign countries are providing $30 million in aid for the reconstruction of colleges in New Orleans and other areas that were hit by Hurricane Katrina, Education Secretary Margaret M. Spellings announced Thursday.
  • The New York Times today published an in-depth investigation of the evidence files in the Duke lacrosse case. In the case, many reports initially assumed that the lacrosse players accused of rape were guilty; more recently, many reports have suggested that the evidence is weak.The Times examined 1,850 pages of evidence and and found an "ambiguous picture." While the newspaper found "big weaknesses" in the case against the players, it also said that the recent reports -- based largely on information released by defense lawyers -- were notably incomplete and that there was a "body of evidence" to support the prosecution.
  • Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley lends his name to a recruiting letter sent every year by St. Xavier University that officials there say has helped the institution increase enrollments, The Chicago Tribune reported. The mayor is a DePaul University graduate, but an aide told the newspaper that he wanted to help some of Chicago's smaller colleges.
  • Only 51 percent of university professors in Britain provide prompt feedback and only 57 percent of students reported receiving detailed comments on their work, according to a survey of student satisfaction in British higher education, The Times reported.
  • Bodog, the online gambling service, offers customers odds on such important questions as whether Lindsay Lohan will travel to Iraq, which celebrity will next be photographed kissing Jake Gyllenhaal, and who will be selected as Harvard University's next president. The Boston Globe reported that several of those on whom the betting service offered odds were amused by their online fame, but not taking it a serious indicator of their odds of moving into Massachusetts Hall.
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