Quick Takes: Sallie Mae Ousts CEO, Southern Ill. Settles With Christian Group, Google Bans Term Paper Ads, Suicide Worries in California, Sports Injuries, Iowa State Sues Monsanto, Wheaton Bars Sudan Stocks, Student Strike Ends in Israel

May 23, 2007
  • Weeks after Sallie Mae announced the proposed sale of the company to a consortium of private equity firms and banks, the student loan giant continued a governance overhaul, announcing that its chief executive officer, Tim Fitzpatrick, would resign. The news of Fitzpatrick's departure, which several industry analysts had predicted, is seen as potentially easing Congressional opposition to the sale of Sallie Mae, because Fitzpatrick was a combative figure who bluntly criticized Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the education kingmaker in the Senate, for his scrutiny of the student loan programs during a January investor call. Sallie Mae's new owners, led by the J.C. Flowers private equity firm, had announced Monday a series of "responsible lending" practices to guide Sallie Mae going forward, including the appointment of an entirely new Board of Directors, an independent monitoring committee, and increased transparency in its operations.
  • Southern Illinois University has agreed to recognize the Christian Legal Society's chapter at the university's law school, ending years of legal maneuvering in a dispute over the university's anti-bias rules for student groups, the Associated Press reported. The university had rejected the society's request for recognition on grounds that it did not comply with those rules, but the society -- with backing from federal courts -- argued that the university's interpretation violated the Christian students' First Amendment rights to express their faith.
  • Google, which places advertisements on many Web sites (including this one), is barring advertising from companies that sell term papers, the BBC reported.
  • An article in the Los Angeles Times explores concerns at the University of California about increasing numbers of student suicides and fears that counseling centers on campuses have not received adequate budgets to deal with the rising numbers of students seeking care for depression or mental health difficulties. In the last three academic years, a total of nine students at the university's Davis campus have committed suicide.
  • A new report from the National Athletic Trainers' Association, in conjunction with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, details trends in college sports injuries. Among the findings: More than half of all injuries were to the lower extremities, but rates of concussion are increasing. The latter trend may be due to better reporting.
  • Iowa State University is suing Monsanto, charging the biotechnology company with violating patents held by the university and its professors on a new type of soybean, Reuters reported.
  • Wheaton College, in Massachusetts, has announced a new policy of barring from its endowment stocks in companies that do business in Sudan. As part of the process of adopting the policy -- to protest the genocide in Darfur -- a $60,000 holding in one company was sold.
  • Student leaders in Israel have agreed to end a 41-day strike that has effectively shut down higher education in the country, Haaretz reported. The current semester will be lengthened to make up for the lost class time.
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