Quick Takes: Academics' Contributions Favor Dems, Arizona Tuition Increases Upheld, Accreditation Revoked at Lewis, Obstacles to Stem Cell Research, Ominous Sign for Public Higher Ed, Yale Pulls Out of BioMed Central, State R

August 10, 2007
  • Employees of colleges and universities have donated $7 million to candidates for federal offices during the '08 campaign cycle -- with nearly 60 percent of the funds going to presidential candidates, and 76 percent going to Democrats, according to a new analysis of federal election records by the Center for Responsive Politics. The top two recipients of funds were Barack Obama (nearly $1.5 million) and Hillary Clinton (almost $940,000). Harvard University employees gave more than those of any other institution, the study found: $266,044, with 81 percent going to Democrats.
  • The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a suit challenging large tuition increases approved in 2003 by the Arizona Board of Regents, saying that they did not violate the state's constitutional requirement that tuition be "as nearly free as possible." Despite the large size (39 percent) of that year's increase, the court found that it could not substitute its judgment for that of the regents.
  • Lewis College of Business has lost its accreditation, cutting off the federal aid on which most of its students rely, The Detroit News reported. Accreditation was originally revoked earlier this year, but that order was on hold, pending an appeal that has now been denied. Lewis officials told the newspaper they would try to find other funds for students, most of whom are in associate degree programs in business.
  • When Missouri voters last year backed a measure to assure the legality of stem cell research, scientists thought they had won a major victory. But an article in The New York Times notes that various political and financial problems have largely blocked new progress in the state on stem cell studies.
  • States finished fiscal 2007 with less money than they had a year ago, according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While such figures do not necessarily mean tight budgets are ahead, public higher education is generally vulnerable whenever state funds are shrinking as such a large share of state funds (outside of higher education) are required spending. For fiscal 2008, the report projects that state revenues will grow by 2.6 percent, but state spending needs will grow by 5.4 percent.
  • Citing rising costs, Yale University's medical and science libraries are pulling out of BioMed Central, an open access project in which universities pay for their faculty authors' work to be published online -- and to be made freely available there. Yale said that the decision was necessary because of "unprecedented increases in electronic resources," not all of which the university could afford. BioMed Central responded by defending its overall model as being economical and supporting to mission of providing maximum access. But the publisher acknowledged that institutions where people publish more on BioMed Central would see increased charges.
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Governors Association have released a new report, "Investing in Innovation," that highlights state strategies for promoting research and development.
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