Quick Takes: A Commencement Speech Takes Aim at Spellings, UC and Derrida Family Settle, New Alumni Group for Mississippi U. for Women, $10B for Middle East Education, No Charges Against CC Athletes, Prisons vs. Colleges

May 22, 2007
  • Daniel F. Sullivan, president of St. Lawrence University, used his commencement speech Saturday to strongly denounce Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, calling the report issued by the commission she appointed to study higher education "a national embarrassment." While the commission has been unpopular with many academics, especially at private colleges, Sullivan's criticism was notably direct, especially in a commencement address. "Almost every day we read in the newspaper of efforts by Spellings to dumb down the education for life we seek to provide at St. Lawrence and substitute something that is woefully inferior."
  • The University of California at Irvine and the family of Jacques Derrida have formally ended their bitter dispute over control of the late professor's papers, which both sides had claimed, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a settlement announced Monday, the university will keep the papers it already has but relinquish its claims to the rest, and the institution will pay about $16,000 in legal fees accumulated by Derrida's widow.
  • Mississippi University for Women, where senior administrators have been fighting with the alumni association, has received state permission to recognize a new alumni group, the Associated Press reported.
  • The leader of Dubai announced over the weekend that he would spend $10 billion of his own funds to create a fund to bolster the quality of education in the Arab world, the Globe and Mail of Toronto reported. In a speech at the World Economic Forum of the Middle East, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, acknowledged the gap that separates the quality of education in much of his region from that of the West and Asia, and said that Arab leaders must bridge that gap. He said he would use his vast personal funds to create research centers and institutes and finance scholarships at leading universities, among other things.
  • Prosecutors in California's Santa Clara County said Monday that they would not file charges against a group of De Anza College baseball players who were suspended in March amid accusations that they had participated in an alleged sexual assault at a party, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
  • California is fast approaching a state spending milestone: Appropriations for prisons will soon top those for higher education, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Current projections call for the spending shift to be reached in five years.
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