Quick Takes: Probe of Lenders and Colleges, $811,000 for President Who Had Affair, Unusual Newspaper Theft, Police Inquiry on Guilford Ends, Harvard Loses a Top Candidate, Desegregation Appeal Rejected, Campus Priest Linked to Misconduct, UK Gender Gap

February 1, 2007
  • New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has started an investigation into the relationship between lenders and colleges, and in particular into the way the former seek to have the latter recommend them to students for loans, The New York Times reported. Cuomo has requested information from a number of prominent lenders and from more than 50 colleges nationwide, the Times reported.
  • William Merwin, who quit last month as president of Florida Gulf Coast University after admitting to an affair with a professor, is likely to receive a settlement of $811,000 from the university, The News-Press reported. While some of the money is for unused vacation time and annuity money paid by a retirement fund, the package also includes $398,000 to settle the contract, the newspaper reported. While the deal has been approved by the university's board, some students and faculty members are objecting.
  • Theft of student newspapers has become more common in recent years, with groups unhappy about an article deciding to just take the entire issue of a paper. But in an unusual theft, all of the issues of the paper at Notre Dame de Namur University, in California, were stolen last week, had one article cut out, and were then returned, according to The San Mateo Daily Journal. The article was about a sexual assault victim, and officials suspect the victim's friends -- who were worried about the article -- may be responsible for the theft and mass clipping.
  • The Greensboro Police Department announced Wednesday that it was ending its investigation into an alleged attack on three Palestinian students by football players at Guilford College, The Greensboro News-Record reported. Police officials said that they had completed the work that they could do, and the next steps would need to come from the courts and the college. Six football players have been arrested in the incident, which has concerned many on the campus.
  • Thomas R. Cech, widely seen as one of the leading candidates to become Harvard University's next president, pulled out of the search Wednesday, The Boston Globe reported. Cech is a Nobel laureate who is president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and he told the Globe that he loved his job. Many Harvard watchers have said that the search committee wants a scientist for the job and reports have circulated -- prior to Cech's withdrawal -- that a decision could come as soon as this weekend. One caution before betting too much attention on the Harvard watchers' speculation: In 2001, there were reports that Lee Bollinger, then the president of the Univesity of Michigan, was about to be named president, but those reports didn't turn out to be true and the job went to Lawrence H. Summers, with Bollinger subsequently landing at Columbia University.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Wednesday rejected a bid to re-open Alabama's desegregation case on the grounds that the state's poor funding of elementary and secondary schools contributes to the inequities facing black students in higher education. The appeals court affirmed a lower court's ruling that the state's tax policies and support of pre-college education were not relevant. "We cannot permit federal lawsuits to be transformed into amorphous vehicles for the rectification of all alleged wrongs, not matter how belatedly asserted, nor how unrelated to the underlying action," the appeals court ruled.
  • The Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, president of Saint Joseph's University, in Pennsylvania, wrote to students this week to inform them that the Rev. H. Cornell Bradley, who left a post on the campus ministry staff last year, did so after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him. A statement from Jesuit leaders indicated that Father Bradley confirmed the allegation, and that other allegations had been made against him, prior to his decade of service at Saint Joseph's. While no allegations have been reported involving Father Bradley's time at Saint Joseph's, Father Lannon called the revelations "deeply disturbing."
  • Government and academic officials in Britain are concerned about growing evidence of a gender gap in enrollments, similar to that taking place in the United States, The Guardian reported. Of British people aged 17-30, 47 percent of women and 37 percent of men had started work in higher education, and last year, 57 percent of those earning their first degree in Britain were women, the newspaper reported.
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