Quick Takes: More Presidents Sign Climate Pledge, New Bids to Kill and Save Chief Illiniwek, $100M for Scholarships at UNC, Harvard's Loss Could Be U. of Washington's Gain, $75M for Stanford, Anti-War Protests, Has MIT Lost Sense of Humor?

February 16, 2007
  • Dozens of presidents have now signed the "American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment" pledging their institutions to take various steps to reach "climate neutrality" while also agreeing to meet certain targets for environmental responsibility on their campuses. The University of New Hampshire became the latest to join, doing so on Thursday. The moves come as a number of college presidents have set specific, ambitious goals for reducing energy consumption.
  • The University of Illinois was planning today to announce that it was ending the use of Chief Illiniwek -- a student dressed as an Indian who performs at athletic events -- but may be forced to change its plans because of a lawsuit, The Chicago Tribune reported. The mascot's use has been controversial for years, with American Indian groups calling its use offensive and athletic boosters calling the American Indians and their supporters politically correct or overly sensitive. But Illinois officials, after long defending the mascot, may change their stance under pressure from the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The Tribune reported that two students who play the chief filed the suit to block the action, and that the university is awaiting the results of a hearing today before deciding whether to go ahead and end use of the mascot.
  • The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation of Texas on Thursday announced a $100 million gift to the John Motley Morehead Foundation to expand the Morehead Scholars Program, which provides scholarships, summer enrichment experiences and leadership training to top students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Harvard University's loss may be the University of Washington's gain. The Seattle Times reported that the University of Washington is in negotations with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a grant in the $100 million plus category to create a public health institute, which would do some of the work -- and perhaps attract some of the key researchers -- who were expected to work on an ambitious public health institute at Harvard, plans for which collapsed when another software philanthropist, Larry Ellison, dropped plans to give $115 million to that institution.
  • Stanford University on Thursday announced a $75 million gift from Jerry Yang, an alumnus, trustee and the co-founder of Yahoo!, and his wife, Akiko Yamazaki to support multidisicplinary programs.
  • Students walked out of classes on Thursday on several campuses -- among them Columbia University and Columbia College Chicago -- to protest the war in Iraq, the Associated Press reported.
  • "Hacks" -- or student pranks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- are legendary, with students breaking into off-limits parts of campus or leaving large objects on top of buildings. But The Boston Globe reported that three students found exploring the Faculty Club one night in October are facing felony charges of breaking and entering. The students say that MIT has ended a tacit understanding about not treating hacks as criminal acts.
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