Quick Takes: Longer Visa Stay for Foreign Profs, Guilty of Grade Fixing, Chicago-Led Group Wins Fermilab Contract, Trustee's Ethics Probed, Record Gift for German University, Assessing HEROES Act, Penalties for Ex-Oklahoma Players, Drug Ring at Mansfield

November 2, 2006
  • Some visiting scholars from abroad will be able to obtain visas to work in the United States for as many as five years, up from the current limit of three years, according to new State Department rules that take effect Saturday, the department said in Wednesday's Federal Register.
  • Two men admitted guilt Wednesday on charges related to a grade-fixing operation that involved more than 100 students at Florida Memorial University, The Miami Herald reported. The two men -- who were placed on probation for five years -- were among a group of students and employees who broke into university record systems and gave higher grades than those earned by basketball players, fraternity brothers and friends. The problems were discovered three years ago.
  • The Energy Department on Wednesday announced that it had awarded a five-year, $1.575 billion contract to run the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to the Fermi Research Alliance, which is jointly run by the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Association. The department's willingness to consider other proposals had alarmed some at Chicago, but in the end it appeared that there were no other contenders. Other universities involved in the contract include the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is investigating charges that one of its trustees steered contracts to friends and persuaded a student on pain medication to hire him as a lawyer, The Boston Globe reported. The newspaper said that the trustee -- Kenneth P. Halloran -- did not respond to calls. But the Globe reported that Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican who could remove Hollaran, called the allegations "very troubling."
  • The Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation on Wednesday announced a grant of €200 million (more than $255 million) to International University Bremen, an international institution in Germany in which English is the language of instruction. The gift is the largest ever to a German university. The institution -- which currently enrolls about 1,000 students -- will be renamed Jacobs University Bremen.
  • The U.S. Education Department should conduct a study to assess the impact and effectiveness of a 2002 law aimed at ensuring that those called to serve in the military while they are pursuing higher education are not negatively affected, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released Wednesday. The GAO said that under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (or HEROES) Act, the Education Department has been granting waivers and providing other help to service members and that most colleges have policies to help them when they leave and return, but that the federal government has not yet conducted a study of the program that Congress requested when it passed the law.
  • Two former University of Oklahoma football players who were paid by boosters for work can regain their National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility if they repay the thousands of dollars to charity and forgo one year of play, the NCAA said Wednesday. Rhett Bomar, who was to have been Oklahoma's starting quarterback, and J.D. Quinn transferred to Sam Houston State University and the University of Montana, respectively, after being declared ineligible in the summer. Bomar must repay $7,406 and Quinn $8,137 to the charities of their choice. “The fact that the student-athletes knowingly were paid thousands of dollars for work they did not perform was a significant factor when determining the sanctions," said Jennifer Strawley, the NCAA's director of membership services and student-athlete reinstatement. “Further, the high level of culpability and responsibility exhibited by both student-athletes warrants a significant sanction that reflects the seriousness of the violations.”
  • Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett on Wednesday announced the arrests of nine current or former Mansfield University students accused of trafficking as much as $500,000 worth of cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs, especially OxyContin.
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