Quick Takes: NSF Budget, Protests at DePaul, Police Chief Quits Over Gun Policy, $400M for Medical Research at Cornell, Endowment Management Faulted at Ohio State, President Quits at Lake County, Access for Latinos, Title IX Suit, Sleep Matters

June 13, 2007
  • A U.S. House of Representatives panel approved a bill late Monday that would give the National Science Foundation significantly more money in the 2008 fiscal year than it is receiving this year. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies passed legislation that would give the foundation -- a leading source of research funds for higher education -- $6.509 billion in 2008, $80 million more than President Bush requested and $593.4 million, or 10 percent, more than the agency's 2007 spending level. The panel's bill would provide $5.139 billion for the science foundation's research account, about what President Bush sought, and its education account would receive $822.6 million, $72 million more than President Bush's request and $124.6 million over the 2007 level.
  • Students at DePaul University have been holding sit-ins outside the office of Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, the institution's president, sleeping over Monday night, to protest his decision to deny tenure to Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee, both of whom had departmental backing for their tenure bids. Finkelstein's case especially has attracted worldwide attention because of his controversial statements about Israel and the Holocaust. A Web site maintained by the students holding the sit-in says that they plan to continue daily protests until the two professors are awarded tenure. A spokeswoman for DePaul said that the students have primarily been in a conference room and have not been disruptive. She said that Father Holtschneider met with the students and indicated his respect for their views, but said that he had no plans to change the tenure decisions.
  • The police chief of City College of San Francisco has quit after he failed to win approval for his officers to carry guns, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Carl Koehler, the chief, has been pushing for the right to carry guns on campus for two years, but renewed his push after the killings at Virginia Tech in April. "I know that some other community college districts have their police force armed," Philip Day, chancellor of the college, told the newspaper. "We do not, and I think that's a reflection of the overall culture and climate of the school and San Francisco ... in terms of nonviolence."
  • Cornell University this morning will announce pledges that total $400 million by a small group of philanthropists to support research at the medical school, in New York City, The New York Times reported. The funds will be used to build research centers and to recruit top scientists.
  • An outside audit found that James L. Nichols, who retired as treasurer last year at Ohio State University, misled trustees and donors about the size of the endowment, making it appear up to a half-billion dollars larger than it was, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Operating funds were included in the total -- a practice the university said has now stopped.
  • The president of the College of Lake County, a community college in Illinois, quit Tuesday night, after less than 18 months on the job, the Chicago Tribune reported. Details were vague about why Richard Fonte was leaving, or why he started an unscheduled leave a month ago.
  • The vast majority of Latino students want to attend -- and realistically believe they will graduate from -- college, but their actual enrollment remained at only 25 percent in 2004, according to a new survey by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, the Hispanic College Fund and Excelencia in Education. At a news conference Tuesday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), himself the son of parents who didn't attend college, advocated increased support for Pell Grants, tax benefits and other programs that would benefit students from lower-income backgrounds and families with no college experience. He also endorsed the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act, up for renewal this year, and called for improved mentoring and assistance during the college admissions process. Pointing to the survey's findings, he said, "They are an indictment of what this country is supposed to be about." Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.), also present at the news conference, said that programs like Head Start, focusing early on in children's lives, were important to the effort to elevate overall academic achievement among Latinos.
  • A group that threatened to sue James Madison University if it did not postpone its plans to cut 10 teams has named the university and a number of its leaders as defendants in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Education's three-pronged test for compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The suit, filed by Equity in Athletics, Inc., alleges that the cuts violate the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, the Virginia Constitution's due process clause, the Virginia Human Rights Act - and Title IX itself.
  • Two studies being released today will point to the problems college students face when they don't sleep. One paper presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies will present evidence that students who go to bed late are more likely to have poor quality sleep, which may affect their mental health and academic performance. The other paper finds academic problems associated with pulling all-nighters.
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