Quick Takes: Good News for Texas 2-Year Colleges, Illinois Official Quits, Help on Hedge Funds, NIH Support for Interdisciplinary Research, Dorm Fire Data, Don't Offer Pot to Cops, Religious vs. Other Rights, Schiller International Sold

September 7, 2007
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday gave encouraging news to community colleges. His legislative aide said that the governor not only believed $154 million in funds he had vetoed could be restored soon, but said additional funds might be provided, The El Paso Times reported. The veto of the funds this summer by the Republican governor stunned and angered college leaders, who have been working since then to restore the funds.
  • A University of Illinois official under investigation for possible conflicts of interest has quit. Tom Dempsey has resigned as director of the university's police training institute, amid a probe into a deal he negotiated for the institute with a security company that was paying Dempsey to be a consultant, the Chicago Tribune reported.
  • U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, a Michigan Democrat, plans to propose legislation that would ease or eliminate tax liability of universities that invest heavily in hedge funds, Bloomberg reported. For some of the wealthiest universities in the United States, such investments have become a key part of portfolios.
  • The National Institutes of Health on Thursday announced a series of grants that represent a "fundamental change" in that they are entirely interdisciplinary. The grants total $210 million. While the NIH has awarded many previous grants for teams involving multiple disciplines, those projects involved applying different areas of research to a problem, not having all the research involved attempt to break out of disciplinary borders.
  • Recent announcements from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission about increases in dormitory fires may be misleading, according to the Association of College and University Housing Officers International. The group has released an analysis that does not dispute the increase in the number of fires, but that notes that the increase is not proportionate to recent growth in dormitory populations. In addition, the campus housing group noted that a large proportion of dorm fires are caused by cooking equipment, which is more prevalent as more colleges have added kitchens to dormitory rooms and suites. The campus housing group stressed that it was not discouraging fire safety awareness, but wanted to provide context.
  • Northeastern University likes entrepreneurial students, but prefers legal enterprises. The Boston Globe reported that two freshmen were expelled after one of them shouted out a dormitory window: "If you're looking for weed, my roommate Ferrante has some for sale." Plainclothes police officers heard, the students were arrested and they are no longer enrolled.
  • Britain appears to be resolving a dispute in higher education that American campuses face as well: conflicts between institutional anti-bias rules and the desire of religious groups to adhere to rules of their faiths. The Guardian reported that new guidelines being issued in Britain explicitly give religious groups on campus the right to restrict leadership positions in their organizations to those who practice their faiths.
  • Knowledge Investment Partners, a private equity firm, has purchased Schiller International University, a privately owned college that includes American College of Switzerland and London City College.
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