Quick Takes: Saint Louis U. Wins Right to Tax Break, Shootings Prompt Hearing, Arrest for Va. Tech Comment, Student Detained With (Empty) Ammunition Belt, No Agreement on Grants, U. of Hawaii Lifts Gag Order, Report on Rankings, Foreign Fans of Summers

April 19, 2007
  • The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that Saint Louis University, a Jesuit institution, is entitled to government supported tax breaks for financing facilities, the Associated Press reported. The university is run primarily by a lay board of directors so the institution's religious mission does not disqualify the university, the court ruled, 6 to 1. A ruling by California's Supreme Court in March allowed religious institutions there to qualify for bonds to be issued on their behalf.
  • Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor announced Wednesday that the panel would hold a hearing a week from today on "college campus safety." Few details were released, but the panel's chairman, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), said it was prompted, of course, by the mass shootings at Virginia Tech. "It is difficult to make sense of a tragedy like this or to know what to do to prevent one, and unanswered questions about this week’s events will undoubtedly persist for a long time," Miller said. "But we must start now to learn what we can do to prevent things like this from happening in the future and what we can do to help communities cope with such unimaginable horror and sadness. That is the purpose of this hearing -- to allow Congress to learn what it can do to help Virginia Tech and all other colleges and universities across the country prevent and recover from tragedies like this.”
  • A University of Colorado at Boulder student was arrested based on comments he made in a class in which he appeared to express sympathy with the gunman who killed 32 people Monday at Virginia Tech, the Associated Press reported. Max Karson, the student, was charged with interfering with staff, faculty members or students of an educational institution. His father said that the comments may have been misunderstood and that -- regardless -- his son had a right to free speech.
  • Lewis & Clark College officials detained a student wearing an ammunition belt Wednesday, and were on the verge of locking down the campus, but did not do so because the student wasn't carrying ammunition or weapons.
  • Federal negotiators considering possible changes in rules governing two new student grant programs failed to reach agreement at the end of their third negotiating session Wednesday, meaning that Education Secretary Margaret Spellings can essentially propose any changes she wants to the Academic Competitiveness Grant and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retaining Talent Grant Programs. The negotiators had been considering a wide set of proposed regulatory changes, including toughening the high school requirements for the competitiveness grants and making them available to students in certificate programs, but the members of the panel -- including college and high school officials, Education Department officials, and student representatives -- failed to reach the full "consensus" necessary for approval of the package of changes.
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa has lifted a gag order it imposed on a professor the institution says was bullying students, but whose supporters say is being punished unfairly for his controversial views, The Star Bulletin reported.
  • A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy examines the increasingly global debate over college and university rankings, comparing those in the United States (both the rankings and debates) with those elsewhere.
  • He may be controversial in the United States, but Lawrence H. Summers, the ousted president of Harvard University, is a huge hit whenever he lectures in Asia, reported The New York Times.
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