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Quick Takes: Nobel in Medicine, TB Cases, Huge Campaigns, Duke's Strategy, Crime and No Punishment, Loan Program Criticized, Anti-Hazing Law, 'Full Monty' Ends Adjunct Job, NSF Win for Texas, State Policy Expert Moves On, Cuts at James Madison

October 2, 2006
  • The Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2006 will go to Andrew Z. Fire, a professor of pathology and genetics at Stanford University, and Craig C. Mello, a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester. The two were honored for their discovery of RNA interference, which the prize announcement this morning called "of great importance for the regulation of gene expression," and which "participates in defense against viral infections, and keeps jumping genes under control." According to the announcement, "RNA interference is already being widely used in basic science as a method to study the function of genes and it may lead to novel therapies in the future."
  • A woman who attended an orientation program in August at Mesa College, in San Diego, has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The college is attempting to notify students and others who were exposed. The announcement follows by only a few days a similar one about a student from Korea who took classes this summer at San Diego State University.
  • Columbia and Yale Universities and the University of Virginia announced major fund-raising campaigns on Friday and Saturday. Columbia is seeking $4 billion (a record for academe), while Yale and Virginia are each seeking $3 billion.
  • Duke University's Board of Trustees on Friday approved a strategic plan that will involve spending $1.3 billion above normal budget levels over the next five to eight years on selected key goals. Among them: a $100 million program to recruit and retain faculty members, increased financial support for graduate students, an expansion of arts programs and facilities, and special academic initiatives in selected areas to include global health, earth sciences and engineering, imaging, and brain, mind, genes and behavior.
  • In the last nine months, 17 Ohio University football players have been arrested, 10 have been convicted, and not a single player has missed a minute of game time in punishment, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
  • An Education Department audit has criticized the department's track record in monitoring guarantee agencies, lenders and those who service loans. The audit found a "weak control environment," monitoring activities that were "insufficient," poor communication, and a lack of effective use of tools to identify risks to the program.
  • A new California law will turn some hazing violations from misdemeanors to felonies, and give hazing victims of their families the right in some circumstances to sue organizations that encourage hazing, The Contra Costa Times reported.
  • The University of Cincinnati agreed to pay $7,500 to a local woman whose name was included in a crime report about her rape that a journalism instructor distributed to his class, The Enquirer reported. The report included identifying information and the woman's phone number. The woman learned about the class seeing her information from a friend who happened to be in the class, and sued the university. Because she was under 18 at the time of the rape, the information was protected by a privacy law in Ohio.
  • An adjunct theater instructor of Evangel University has quit his job after officials at the Assemblies of God institution in Missouri objected to his role in a local production of The Full Monty, the Associated Press reported. Evangel officials wouldn't comment directly on why Jeff Jenkins had to leave his position, but a spokesman told the AP that "there are certain places, activities and forms of entertainment that we ask our students to abstain from, and the faculty and staff are held to the same standard."
  • The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center $59 million to acquire and operate one of the world's most powerful supercomputing systems. UT and its partners, Arizona State and Cornell Universities, will work with Sun Microsystems to deploy the system, which is designed to support mammoth science and engineering projects.
  • Travis Reindl, one of the country's leading experts on state higher education policy, is leaving the American Association of State Colleges and Universities for Jobs for the Future, where he will lead the Lumina Education for Foundation-sponsored College Costs: Making Opportunity Affordable project. Reindl has been director of state policy analysis and assistant to the president at AASCU since 1997.
  • James Madison University on Friday announced that it would eliminate 10 teams -- 7 of them men's teams -- to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. James Madison's student body is 61 percent female, but without the cuts only 51 percent of athletes are women. After the plan is enacted, the percentages will match.
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