Quick Takes: MIT Earns Best Endowment Return, Grad Rates of Bowl Athletes, Papers Nationwide Oppose Ouster of USC Editor, Lake Forest Drops SAT, Vote Expected on Tucker, Governors to Focus on Science Education, Lawsuit Over Signs, Fried Flag Furor

December 5, 2006
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed the top return on its endowment -- 23 percent -- among the 25 American universities with the largest endowments, according to a survey by Bloomberg.com. MIT narrowly overtook Yale University, which had a return of 22.9 percent. The average rate of return for the universities in the survey was 16.2 percent. Among the low performers were Johns Hopkins University (11.5 percent) and the University of California (11.6 percent). Typically, the rate of return of the wealthiest universities -- which have the flexibility to make more high-risk, potentially high return investments -- is greater than those for other institutions.
  • Fifty-five percent of the Division I-A football teams playing in bowl games this year have graduation rates of more than 50 percent for their athletes, an improvement over past years, according to a study released Monday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, at the University of Central Florida. But that data suggest a significant racial gap in graduation rates. Of the 64 teams, 27 graduated less than half of their black athletes while only three teams graduate less than half of their white athletes.
  • Nineteen student newspapers nationwide are publishing a joint editorial today denouncing the University of Southern California for blocking the re-election of the editor in chief of The Daily Trojan. "An administration-controlled student paper poses the same threat to an academic community that a state-controlled press would to a nation; oversight limits the press’ ability to act as a watchdog and prevent misuse of authority," the editorial says. "The USC administration’s interference with the student press creates a chilling effect, forcing student journalists to weigh the risk of losing their jobs against the duty of writing a story about or questioning the administration."
  • Lake Forest College, a liberal arts institution outside Chicago, has stopped requiring applicants to submit either SAT or ACT scores. Personal interviews, recommended for all applicants, will be required for those opting not to submit scores.
  • A U.S. Senate committee is expected to vote today to confirm Sara Martinez Tucker as under secretary of education. At a meeting this afternoon, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to consider Tucker's nomination among several others on which it will vote with no debate. In the position, Tucker, president of the Hispanic Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education, would overseethe government’s postsecondary, career education and financial aid programs.
  • The National Governors Association will today announce the creation of a special task force to focus on math and science education, The Arizona Republic reported. The committee is part of a broader effort, called "Innnovation America," led by the association's chair, Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona.
  • A women's group is suing Rhode Island College, charging that the group's free speech rights were violated when the college took down abortion rights signs it had placed near a campus entrance, the Associated Press reported. The signs said: "Keep Your Rosaries Off Our Ovaries."
  • Austin Peay State University has adopted a new policy requiring that students' senior art exhibits take place on campus. The shift follows a furor over the decision of a local museum to remove a student exhibit, called "The Fat Is in the Fire," featuring flags on which comments about obesity were written and a flag that was deep fried in peanut oil, according to The Leaf Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn.
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