Quick Takes: Tighter Oversight of Tobacco-Financed Research, Income Cap Likely for D.C. Tuition Program, Audit Forces Utah College Chief From Job, Irvine Chancellor Admits He 'Bungled' Dean Search, Ohio State Ordered to Pay Ex-Coach $2.5M, British Elites

September 21, 2007
  • The University of California Board of Regents voted Thursday to require special reviews by a new peer review panel of all research financed by the tobacco industry. The proposal represents a compromise between anti-tobacco advocates who pushed for a ban on research supported by the tobacco industry and faculty groups, which generally argued that any limits would infringe on academic freedom. Some faculty groups also opposed the idea of special reviews of tobacco-sponsored research.
  • District of Columbia residents earning more than $1 million would be barred from participating in a program that provides federal financial aid to students from Washington families to attend public and some private colleges in other states under a bill passed by the U.S. Senate Tuesday, The Washington Post reported. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) fought to add the income cap to legislation to extend the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program, saying that making the aid available to wealthy families limits support for low-income students. Democrats have apparently decided not to fight his efforts to ensure that the provision remains in whatever compromise legislation Congress ultimately passes, according to the Post. City officials and other supporters of the program are furious, the newspaper said.
  • The Utah Board of Regents accepted the resignation Thursday of the president of the Utah College of Applied Technology, several weeks after a state audit uncovered significant problems in the campus's operations. Brem admitted no wrongdoing in his letter of resignation to the board, but said he was leaving to "alleviate further disruption."
  • News flash: The president of the University of California at Irvine admitted in an interview published in the Los Angeles Times today that he "bungled" the firing (and subsequent re-hiring) of the noted law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as founding dean of the university's fledgling law school. On he day that the University of California's regents approved a $350,000 salary for Chemerinsky, Michael V. Drake told the Times that he could not shed any additional light on why he initially scuttled the job offer that had been made to the Duke constitutional law professor, saying it was a personnel matter. But he said: "This is certainly something that I bungled, and I regret it completely and totally. I am always trying to do what I can to enhance the institution and have it move forward. It's awful that all this has blown up like this. I couldn't regret it more."
  • A state appeals court ruled Thursday that Ohio State University must pay nearly $2.5 million to Jim O'Brien, its former men's basketball coach, consistent with a lower court's ruling, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Both sides appealed the lower court's ruling, which followed O'Brien's dismissal for violating National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The appeals court found that although O'Brien acted improperly, the university violated the terms of his contract.
  • A new report from the Sutton Trust provides new evidence of the extent to which Britain's elite high schools almost completely dominate admissions at top universities. The report found that 100 elite high schools, or 3 percent of all British high schools, account for one third of the students at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Of those high schools, 80 percent are private high schools, a sector that enrolls only 7 percent of British students. Further, the report found that of the proportion of Oxbridge university admits at the top 30 private high schools was nearly twice that of the top 30 public high schools -- even though the public and private high schools have similar score averages on Britain's "A level" university entrance exams. A statement issued by Cambridge said that the university was "committed to accepting the brightest and best students regardless of background" and has been increasing financial aid. The statement noted that many of Cambridge's efforts to better prepare low-income children for college admission involve "work with young children that are yet to bear fruit" and that other efforts "are aimed at raising aspirations generally and will not benefit Cambridge exclusively."
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