Quick Takes: A Call for Scientists to Tithe Time, MIT Prof Ends Hunger Strike, Latest Offensive Party, Fulbright Delays in India, Huge Deficit in Texas Prepaid Tuition, Carson-Newman President Quits, Missing Defibrillator, Mayor Won't Become President

February 19, 2007
  • Scientists should tithe 10 percent of their time "to working to increase the benefits of science and technology for the human condition and to decrease the liabilities," said John P. Holdren in his presidential address Thursday night at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in San Francisco. Holdren, director of the Woods Hole Research Center and professor of environmental policy at Harvard University, made the suggestion in a speech examining a range of difficult situations for humanity for which scientists may make contributions. His comments on tithing won a standing ovation.
  • James Sherley, who started a hunger strike February 5 outside the provost's office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ended his protest Friday. Sherley, who is black, maintains that racism played a role in MIT rejecting his tenure bid and he previously pledged to fast until he was either awarded tenure or died. On Friday, MIT and Sherley jointly issued statements announcing the end of the fast. Sherley said that his demands remain, but that he was breaking the fast "in celebration of the attention that has been brought to bear on issues of equity, diversity and justice at MIT and in higher education." MIT said that it "deeply regrets" the hunger strike, but said that it had "focused attention on the effects that race may play in the hiring, advancement and experience of under-represented minority faculty, and on ensuring that our grievance processes are comprehensive, fair, and timely."
  • Santa Clara University is the latest college debating a racially themed party. The San Jose Mercury News  reported that students organized a march and other protests after finding Facebook photos of a "South of the Border" party in which students posed as Latino janitors, pregnant Latino women, and gang members. An editorial in the student paper,  The Santa Clara, criticized the party, and suggested that people not just focus on this one event that happened to become public. "These theme parties are nothing new, and many Santa Clara students have attended them, dressed up or not," the editorial said. "The people depicted in the pictures of this specific party were just the ones that got caught. Whether it be a 'South of the Border,' 'Ghetto' or 'Fresh off the Boat' party, feeding into ethnic stereotypes at parties has become a pastime of predominately white, upper-class students at colleges nationwide."
  • American scholars seeking visas and approval for research projects through the Fulbright program in India have been facing increasing delays, frustrating both the scholars and those in India who promote the program, Indian Express reported.
  • The prepaid tuition program in Texas faces a deficit of as much as $3.3 billion over the next two decades -- a far larger shortfall than previously had been expected -- according to a state audit,  The Dallas Morning News  reported.
  • James Netherton has announced plans to leave the presidency of Carson-Newman College, where faculty members recently voted no confidence in his leadership, to become executive vice president of Mercer University, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
  • When a basketball player collapsed Wednesday night in a game at Grayson County College, no one knew where to locate the college's defibrillator, The Houston Chronicle reported. The player subsequently died, and while college officials do not believe that the death could have been prevented with an defibrillator on site, they are working to be sure it could be located in the future.
  • The search committee for a new president for Westfield State College voted Thursday to extend the search. While The Republican reported that the Massachusetts college said that previous finalists could still be considered, one controversial candidate said he was no longer seeking the job. Richard K. Sullivan Jr., mayor of Westfield, was viewed by many professors as lacking the academic experience necessary, but others said his political and managerial experience could help the college.
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