Quick Takes: Nobel in Physics, Schwarzenegger Vetoes Aid for Undocumented, Pact on Ala. Desegregation, Probe of Corinthian, Baptists Sue Belmont, Reading Ends Physics, Court Rejects Coach's Bias Suit, Jail Terms for 4 in Barton County Scandal

October 3, 2006
  • John C. Mather and George F. Smoot were named the winners of 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics this morning for "their discovery of the blackbody form and anistotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation," work that is credited with advancing knowledge about the origin of galaxies and stars, and with supporting the Big Bang theory for the origin of the Universe. Mather is a senior astsrophysicist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Maryland. Smoot is a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has vetoed legislation that would have allowed some undocumented students to apply for state financial aid. Current California law lets undocumented students pay resident tuition rates at public colleges if the students graduated from a California high school, attended a California high school for three years, and indicate that they have applied for legal status. The legislation that Schwarzenegger vetoed would have also given those students the right to apply for financial aid. In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said that the state doesn't have enough money for legal residents' aid so it would be inappropriate to add more students. Supporters of the legislation said that the state stands only to gain by making it easier for undocumented students who have lived in the state for years, and who will probably continue to do so, to get the best possible education.
  • A settlement appears close in the Alabama desgregation case, the Associated Press reported. The agreement -- which stil requires a federal judge's approval -- will involve a new need-based financial aid program for the state, and millions for improvements in facilities and programs at two historically black institutions, Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University.
  • California officials are investigating whether Corinthian Colleges Inc. violated state law by miscalculating graduation rates at its institutions in the state. Corinthian officials revealed the investigation and denied wrongdoing in a press conference, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Corinthian officials said that they did not believe they did anything wrong, but they complained that California's requirements for calculating graduation rates differ from those used elsewhere. If state officials find wrongdoing, they could order Corinthian to close its California campuses.
  • The Tennessee Baptist Convention has sued Belmont University, seeking repayment for funds the convention has provided the university over the years, The Tennessean reported. Belmont has been pushing for independence from the convention, especially on the issue of board appointments -- and the convention says that the university is violating agreements between the two entities.
  • Britain's University of Reading has become the latest of that country's institutions to eliminate its physics department, The Guardian reported. Science groups in the country said that 30 percent of British universities have closed or merged physics departments in recent years.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court, on the first day of its new term, let stand a Louisiana court's ruling that Louisiana State University did not engage in racial discrimination when it fired its former women's track coach, Loren Seagrave, in 1990. A lower court had found discrimination and ordered LSU to pay Seagrave $773,000. But the appeals panel -- in a ruling that the Louisiana Supreme Court let stand -- ruled last year that the alleged comments by a former athletics director that Seagrave cited to prove he had been discriminated against for being married to a black woman were too out of date to have been used as evidence of discrimination.
  • Four former athletics officials have been sentenced to jail terms in the financial aid fraud scandal involving Barton County Community College, the AP reported.
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