Quick Takes: Loan Scandal Fallout, Imus Apologizes to Rutgers Athletes, Harvard Deans Take on Textbook Costs, The Regent Connection, Northwestern in Qatar, Oakland U. Plans Med School, 3 Minn. Athletes Accused of Rape

April 9, 2007
  • The U.S. Education Department announced Friday that Matteo Fontana, a career employee with responsibility for overseeing lenders, has been placed on administrative leave. In addition, the department announced that Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education, has asked for the resignation of Lawrence W. Burt from the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Burt is director of financial aid at the University of Texas at Austin. Both Burt and Fontana owned stock in a lending company -- and the revelations about that ownership already have led Texas to suspend Burt and for some Congressional leaders to criticize the department's oversight of loan programs. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, meanwhile on the director of financial aid at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee serving on an advisory board for Student Loan Xpress, the lending company at the center of the controversy.
  • Don Imus, the radio host, on Friday apologized for calling members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." In statements posted on the MSNBC Web site, Imus said that the "characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry," and the network said that it does not share the views of Imus and that "we regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC." A joint statement from Richard L. McCormick, president of Rutgers, and Myles Brand, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, said: "The NCAA and Rutgers University are offended by the insults on MSNBC's Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers basketball team. It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit."
  • Two top deans at Harvard University sent an e-mail message to professors last week urging them to take steps to cut students' textbook costs, The Boston Globe reported. Professors were urged to use more online materials or to decide earlier which books they will require, to give students more options to obtain less expensive copies. The deans didn't impose any new requirements, as the University of North Carolina System recently did.
  • The scandal over Justice Department firings of prosecutors has drawn attention to a group that the Bush administration very much wants in government service: Regent University law school alumni, The Boston Globe reported. The university was founded by Pat Robertson, and the Globe article details the way graduates are highly sought by the Justice Department.
  • Northwestern University is finalizing a deal to open a journalism and communications school in Qatar, the Associated Press reported. Northwestern would join a number of other American universities -- including Cornell, Georgetown and Texas A&M Universities -- that offer full degree programs in Qatar, usually in one academic area (Cornell in medicine, Georgetown in foreign service education and so forth).  Several other American institutions, including Boston University, were seeking the contract for the communications program.
  • Oakland University has announced plans to open a new medical school. While Oakland is a public institution in Michigan, only private funds are planned for the new school.
  • The University of Minnesota football team has suspended three football players who have been jailed on charges of raping a woman who is not a student, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
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