Quick Takes: Next Targets for Affirmative Action Ban, Settlement in Alabama, Lumina Head to Retire, President Arrested for DUI Quits, New Grades for Some Flagships on Access, Purdue Students End Hunger Strike, UK Shifts From Peer Review, Literate Cities

December 14, 2006
  • Ward Connerly, leader of a national campaign to outlaw affirmative action, on Wednesday confirmed the open secret that he has a group of states in mind on which to promote state ballot measures to advance his cause, The Sacramento Bee reported. The states appear to have been selected not because of particular tensions about affirmative action, but  because of the ability to place items on the ballot. States named by Connerly were: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Connerly led the successful efforts in California, Michigan and Washington State for such measures. He told reporters Wednesday that he probably would not move ahead in all of the states at the same time.
  • As expected, a federal judge on Tuesday approved a settlement to Alabama's long-standing desegregation case, The Birmingham News reported. The final settlement involved a series of plans to improve services for black students throughout the state and to improve the facilities and academic programs at historically black colleges.
  • Martha D. Lamkin, the first president of the Lumina Foundation for Education, announced Wednesday that she would retire from that position at the end of 2007. Lamkin has led the foundation since its creation in 2000 -- and in that time it has become a major player in financing projects related to college costs, community colleges and other issues. Lumina's assets are worth about $1.3 billion.
  • Evelyn C. Lynch has resigned as president of Saint Joseph College, in Connecticut, two months after she was arrested for driving under the influence and went on a medical leave. The college's announcement did not reference the arrest, but The Hartford Courant reported on an e-mail she sent to those on campus in which she said that her decision "appears to be in the best interest of the college." Saint Joseph had a one-third drop in freshman enrollment this fall, leaving some worried about the institution's viability as a women's college, the Courant reported.
  • The Education Trust, a nonprofit group that published a damning report last month about flagship universities' admission and financial aid policies for low-income and minority students, has reassessed the data it used to grade institutions on how much progress they had made between 1992 and 2004 in access for minority students. The changes altered the grades for five institutions: Four -- the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Louisiana State University, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison -- now show that they have made meaningful positive progress rather than gone backwards, while one -- Pennsylvania State University -- now appears to have lost ground instead of gaining it. "The overall grades for all of these schools remain the same, however," an Education Trust official said in an e-mail message.
  • A group of hunger strikers at Purdue University broke their 27-day fast Wednesday, one day after the administration rejected their demands to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program, an anti-sweatshop measure, the Journal & Courier reported. According to the newspaper, the students ate pita bread and said they had made enough progress to justify ending the strike, citing President Martin C. Jischke's promise that he would remain open to the possibility of joining a modified version of the program in the future. Jischke said Tuesday that the program is incompatible with Purdue's business standards.
  • The British government has announced plans to shift away from peer review and toward a system of statistical analysis for making decisions about allocating research funds, The Guardian reported. The plan faces opposition from many British universities.
  • Seattle is the most literate city in the United States, based on an analysis of bookstores, newspaper circulation, educational attainment and other factors. The research is led by John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University. This year, for the first time, Miller looked for a link between the literacy factors he studies and political leanings. He found that cities where voters backed John Kerry in 2004 were significantly more literate than those where voters backed President Bush.
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