Quick Takes: Crime Data Questioned, Rules for SMART, Hartnell Strike, Milwaukee Shuts Down Student Govt., Morgan State Bars Lil' Wayne, Teaching News Literacy, No More DARPA Prize Money, Reconciliation at Syracuse, Dancing at John Brown, Error on Aid

October 23, 2006
  • An analysis published today in The Wall Street Journal suggests that the crime data colleges report to the Education Department -- and share with applicants -- understate the extent of campus crime. The analysis compares that data with less publicized statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which tend to suggest a far greater frequency of crime.
  • The U.S. Education Department said in a letter to college officials Friday that it had clarified its rules for two new grant programs to give institutions more flexibility in defining what "academic year" a potential recipient of a grant is in. The department's regulations for carrying out the new Academic Competitiveness and Science and Mathematics Access to Retaining Talent Grants had generated significant confusion and consternation, in some cases forcing institutions to disqualify otherwise highly qualified students, often in high demand fields like engineering, who had actually taken too many academic credits. Critics of the department's previous approach, including officials at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, said they believed the new guidelines would resolve at least this particular concern about the implementation of the new grant programs.
  • Faculty members at Hartnell College, a community college in California, started a strike Friday, The San Jose Mercury News reported. Faculty and administrators are divided on a salary offer.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee shut down its student government Friday when student leaders refused to provide financial records to campus police investigating possible embezzlement by a student government official, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
  • Morgan State University has barred Lil' Wane, a hip hop artist, from returning to the campus after three women were hurt at his concert on campus last week, according to The Baltimore Sun. The women were hurt when money was thrown into the crowd, setting off a melee as students tried to get the cash. The Sun reported that it was unclear whether Lil' Wayne or a member of his entourage threw the cash, mostly singles, but also including some larger bills. Campus police said that they were considering criminal charges. Lil' Wayne's publicist did not return the newspaper's calls.
  • The State University of New York at Stony Brook will today announce a new course in news literacy, financed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to teach students how to evaluate the news and stay informed. The course -- intended for a broad segment of the student population, not just journalism students -- will reach 10,000 students over four years.
  • A new federal law will make it impossible for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- the Pentagon's research arm -- to award prize money in its popular contest for college teams to race robot vehicles they have created, the Associated Press reported. Last year, a Stanford University team won $2 million in the contest, which has been credited with encouraging top students in engineering and science. DARPA does plan to award trophies.
  • Syracuse University this weekend formally apologized to the "Syracuse 8," the nine black football players who quit the team in 1970 to protest discrimination they and others experienced. (While they are known as the "Syracuse 8," there were actually nine -- one had been injured at the time and his involvement wasn't noticed by reporters at the time.) The university presented them each with various honors, including the lettermen jackets they were denied.
  • John Brown University, a nondenominational Christian university in Arkansas, has loosened up its rules on student dances, the AP reported. University rules have limited dancing to folk and square dancing, but students will now be permitted to organize ballroom, swing and salsa as well.
  • The U.S. Education Department said Friday that it had mistakenly told about 1,100 students in July and August that the department had given them too much financial aid and that they were obligated to repay the funds. In fact, the students had already resolved their overpayments and owed no money. The department's notice did not make clear how the error occurred or how much the students were told they owed. Department officials said they had now notified the students that they did not owe additional funds.
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