Quick Takes: Publishing Rules, Prof Wins Visa, Museum Director Quits, Oral Roberts Sued, Talks on Sallie Mae, Army to Offer Credit, Using Facebook to Mock Jena 6, Sports Hiring, Salve Regina Forfeits Games, Tuition Freeze Eyed, American Style Down Under

October 3, 2007
  • University presses and other publishers announced this week that they have dropped a suit against the U.S. Treasury Department because the agency has dropped certain requirements that effectively forced publishers of works produced in Cuba, Iran and other "enemy nations" to obtain government permission before proceeding. While the publishers continue to object to the authority asserted by federal officials, the government's willingness to revise its interpretations of rules allowed the suit to be settled. A statement from the Association of American University Presses and other publishing groups details the case and provides examples of some of the works that had been affected by the dispute.
  • Marixa Lasso, an assistant professor of history at Case Western University, who has been stuck in Panama with her visa renewal rejected, received good news this week when the U.S. Embassy renewed her visa. It was never clear why Lasso's visa was being blocked, and it was also not clear why it was renewed.
  • The director of the art museum at Randolph College has resigned following the college board's decision to sell off four works, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported. The college board says that the college is too short on cash to ignore art worth millions, but the director -- and many furious alumnae -- say that the college is violating the trust placed by donors of the art in the college.
  • Three former professors have sued Oral Roberts University, charging that numerous irregularities involving the Roberts family are covered up and that employees who raise questions about them are punished. The Tulsa World reported that the allegations include university involvement in political campaigns, university employees doing the homework of Roberts family children, awarding scholarships to friends of the Roberts family who did not meet eligibility requirements, and using university funds for personal vacations.
  • The investor group that had withdrawn its $60-a-share bid last week to buy the student loan giant Sallie Mae said Tuesday that it would pay $50 a share in cash plus warrants worth up to $10 a share depending on the company's performance. The investor group, led by the private equity firm J.C. Flowers and including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co., said in its letter to Sallie Mae officials that it believed the new bid was more closely in line with the company's value, given the legislative and regulatory outlook for the student loan industry. But in response to the statement -- which was released to reporters at the same time Sallie Mae received it -- company officials said: "Our contract is with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, two of America's largest and strongest banks. We expect these banks to honor that contract, not breach the contract."
  • The U.S. Army is starting a new program, "The College of the American Soldier," in which soldiers will earn credit through selected colleges for the training and education they receive, Stars and Stripes reported. Officials told the newspaper that the program would make it possible for someone in the Army for 6-10 years to earn an associate degree, while those serving longer periods would eventually leave the military with at least a bachelor's degree. The Army is working with existing colleges to have its programs certified as credit-worthy.
  • The Smoking Gun, a Web site that publishes foolish or offensive material from public documents or Web sites, has found more material from students. Several students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe re-enacted the incident that led the Jena 6, a group of black teens, to be charged for attacking a white student. The Louisiana students used blackface style and posted a video and photographs on Facebook, where the Smoking Gun found them.
  • Division I athletic directors have been drafting guidelines to encourage more hiring of minority athletic administrators, USA Today reported. One idea likely to be included in the guidelines, the newspaper reported, is a recommendation that at least one minority candidate be interviewed before head coaches are hired. The guidelines are expected to start with football and to expand to other sports.
  • Salve Regina College has announced that it is forfeiting five men's soccer games as a result of a hazing incident, The Providence Journal reported.
  • The Council on Postsecondary Education in Kentucky, charged with offering a budget recommendation to the governor, is considering whether to recommend a two-year moratorium on community college tuition increases on the condition that the move is offset by supplemental funding from the legislature, according to Brad Cowgill, the council’s interim president. Cowgill cites a drop in full-time enrollment since 2002 commensurate with rising tuition rates as the reason: In fall 2002, Kentucky’s public two-year institutions had 33,193 full-time students, a number that climbed to 34,691 in 2003 before dropping to 32,860 in fall 2006. Meanwhile, tuition and fees at Kentucky community colleges have increased from $1,536 in 2002-3 to $2,616 in 2006-7.
  • The University of Melbourne, which for years was required by Australian law to model itself on the University of Oxford, is remaking itself in the style of American research universities, The Guardian reported. Among the signs: a proliferation of professional schools, the appointment of a provost, and shifts in financing.
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