Quick Takes: Tucker Nominated, Judge Refuses to Block Michigan Referendum, Contract at Oakland U., Stem Cell Rules in Mass., Minority Enrollments Lag in Wash. State, Mumps Warnings, Legal Win for Florida State, Research on Patients, Democratic Culture

August 30, 2006
  • President Bush announced Tuesday that he intends to nominate Sara Martinez Tucker as under secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, a position that oversees the government's postsecondary, career education and financial aid programs. Tucker, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and a former executive at AT&T, has been a member of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, where she was a forceful advocate for need-based financial aid and a key behind-the-scenes moderator. Fitting right in in the Bush administration, she is a Longhorn, with bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • A federal judge on Tuesday refused to block a Michigan referendum this fall to bar affirmative action by public colleges and universities and other state agencies, The Detroit Free Press reported. The judge was harshly critical of the initiative, and said he believed that many people who signed petitions to place the measure on the ballot had been misled. But the judge said he lacked the authority to remove the measure from the ballot. College leaders are pushing hard to defeat the measure.
  • The faculty union and administration at Oakland University reached a last-minute deal Tuesday night that should lead to a new contract and prevent professors -- represented by the American Association of University Professors -- from staying away from classes, The Detroit News reported. Under the agreement, faculty members will receive raises of  3.2, 3.25, and 3.3 percent over the next three years, while their health insurance co-pay will double, to $20.
  • Universities in Massachusetts are charging that state regulators are instituting rules designed to discourage stem cell research, despite a legislative push to support the research, The Boston Globe reported. Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican considering a presidential run, controls the regulatory process and has been critical of stem cell research.
  • Minority enrollments have lagged in Washington State, relative to the state's population for the last eight years -- ever since the state's voters barred the use of affirmative action in public higher education, the Associated Press reported.
  • Officials in Iowa and other Midwestern states are renewing their requests that college students get appropriate mumps vaccinations. This spring many colleges in the Midwest experienced mumps outbreaks.
  • A Florida judge on Tuesday ruled that Florida State University could keep control of an $18 million project to build a chemistry laboratory as long as the university returned $11 million and interest to a professor who donated funds for the project, The Tallahassee Democrat reported. Robert Holton, the professor, created Taxol at Florida State, but the university has been fighting with Holton over the new project. Florida State has argued that it should be able to return his money and proceed with its own plans for the project.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued new draft guidance on research involving patients in emergency situations who are unable to give informed consent. Under federal regulations, informed consent is considered essential before anyone participates in research. The new guidance is designed to allow for research -- in certain cases -- on people experiencing head trauma, stroke or other conditions that render them unable to give informed consent. Some scientists say that important treatments may have been delayed because of difficulties over the issues of informed consent.
  • The Council of Europe, following discussions with a delegation of American academic leaders, is asking American colleges to sign an international statement, "Higher Education and Democratic Culture: Citizenship, Human Rights and Civic Responsibility." Colleges signing the declaration are asked to pledge a commitment to having values that support and encourage students to support democratic structures, active citizenship, human rights and mutual respect, environmental and societal sustainability, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
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