Quick Takes: What Irvine Donor Bought, Art Sale Blocked, Pomona Debate Cut Short, Tensions at Denison, President's Sudden Exit, House Falls Short on Spending Bill, Kentucky Debunks Rumor, Pneumonia Outbreak, Social Networking and Student Ethnicity

November 9, 2007
  • The major donor to the University of California at Irvine's new law school was promised that the chancellor would "periodically and confidentially consult" with him about the selection of the first dean and future deans, the Los Angeles Times reported, based on a gift agreement it obtained. Irvine's chancellor faced an uproar when he withdrew an offer of the dean's job to a prominent legal scholar whose political views are to the left of those of the donor. The job was restored and the donor, Donald Bren, denied any involvement -- a denial he reiterated to the Times after it obtained the gift agreement. That pact also suggests other matters of concern to Bren. For example, he was promised that signs on all law school buildings would read "Donald Bren School of Law" in lettering at least twice the size of the building name.
  • A Virginia judge on Thursday issued a temporary injunction Thursday to block Randolph College from selling four paintings from its noted collection, The News & Advance reported. College officials say that they need the millions that the art sale would raise to support basic educational functions. But the sale has been condemned by museum groups and challenged in court by alumnae who say the college is breaking agreements with donors of the art. Those challenging the sale were surprised Thursday when the state judge also made the injunction contingent on their posting a $10 million bond. College officials are planning to appeal the temporary injunction.
  • An immigration policy debate at Pomona College was cut short Thursday night when protesters shouted down the discussion, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported. Prior to the debate, some students and professors had questioned the participation of a speaker who claims to lead the Minuteman Project, an anti-immigration group. (The group is apparently divided over its leadership with some questioning whether the speaker, Marvin Stewart, is in fact a leader.) At the beginning of the debate, the Daily Bulletin reported that about 50 of the nearly 600 present stood, turned their backs to the speakers, and removed jackets to reveal signs on their clothing with slogans such as "Don't Fuel Hate." They stood silently during the debate, the newspaper said, but started chanting during the question period, cutting it short.
  • About 1,800 students at Denison University, gathered for what was supposed to be a two-hour forum on race relations on Wednesday, refused to leave when the president tried to get them to go to classes, and kept the forum going for hours, airing grievances over the treatment of minority groups, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Students said that there have been numerous incidents in which racial slurs have been used in vandalism, and they noted a poster for a campus singing group's Halloween concert that featured a noose and the phrase "looking for a place to hang?"
  • In April, Cedar Crest College, in Pennsylvania, announced the appointment of Jill Leauber Sherman as president, hailing Sherman as an experienced fund raiser and manager. At the time, she was vice president for institutional advancement at Haverford College. On Thursday, the college announced that Sherman had left the presidency the previous day for "personal reasons" that the college did not detail. Cynthia Blaschak, chair of the board, said that the departure was "regrettable." Blenda J. Wilson, a Cedar Crest alumna who is former president of the Nellie Mae Foundation and of California State University at Northridge, will serve as interim president.
  • Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to muster enough votes Thursday in support of a 2008 spending bill for education and health programs to override a certain veto by President Bush. Fifty-one Republicans joined 223 Democrats in voting for the appropriations measure for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Labor and Related Agencies, but that's short of the necessary two-thirds. The bill would increase the maximum Pell Grant to $4,925 in 2008 and increase spending on the National Institutes of Health by $1 billion, to $30 billion. But President Bush and Republican critics say the bill spends irresponsibly.
  • The University of Kentucky issued a statement Thursday to officially state that it has not removed material about the Holocaust from its curriculum. The rumor, which is circulating online, apparently started as a reference to curricular changes in Britain, and the UK -- for United Kingdom -- became associated with the University of Kentucky. A detailed explanation of the rumor (which also isn't true with regard to Britain) appears on the Snopes.com Web site.
  • Thirty-two Bowdoin College students have been diagnosed with walking pneumonia since mid-September, and 12 are currently "acutely ill," according to The Bangor Daily News. Two students were recently hospitalized and released. Parents and teams that play Bowdoin in athletic events have all been informed. Officials stressed that no one was in danger.
  • While conventional wisdom these days has it that all traditional age college students are on Facebook, there are significant differences in the use of social networking sites by race and ethnicity. New research by Eszter Hargittai, an assistant professor of communication studies and sociology at Northwestern University, found that Latino students were significantly less likely than white students to use Facebook, but more likely to use MySpace. Asian American students are less likely than white and Latino students to use MySpace and more likely to use Xanga and Friendster. The research appears in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
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