Quick Takes: Battle Continues on South African Scholar, Scholarships for Veterans, UCLA Reforms Dental Admissions, Public Crisis, Antioch Layoff Letter Withdrawn, Good Prospects for Graduating Seniors, MCAT Help for Canada, Loyal Alumni to the End

November 15, 2007
  • Federal officials have finally said why they were delaying -- and eventually rejecting -- the visa application of Adam Habib, a prominent South African social scientist, to come to the United States for various academic meetings. Legal papers filed by the government said Habib "had engaged in terrorist activities." But those papers didn't detail the allegations, which were immediately denounced by Habib's many backers. The American Civil Liberties Union and others are suing over the visa denial. Habib was supposed to be in the United States in August to deliver a talk at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, but he couldn't obtain a visa so his talk was called off.
  • A number of large public universities have been creating programs to provide scholarships and other assistance to veterans. Wesleyan University, well known for the liberal politics and anti-war sentiments of its students, this week announced two new full scholarships to give servicemen and servicewomen four years of study at the institution. The scholarships were created by two alumni gifts. One of the donors, Frank Sica, said he was motivated to give by the gap between veterans' education benefits and the costs of attending a private liberal arts college. The other donor, Jonathan Soros, said: "I want to help reduce disconnect between policymakers and the military. For many at a liberal arts college, interacting with the men and women of the military is not part of their experience. I see a real educational opportunity in which veterans benefit from a liberal arts education, and the community benefits by learning from people of different backgrounds and confronting realities they wouldn't otherwise directly encounter."
  • The University of California at Los Angeles -- facing charges of favoritism in admissions decisions for its dental school -- has announced a series of rules to assure fairness, the Los Angeles Times reported. Among the reforms: Members of an admissions review committee must recuse themselves if they are related to, are close friends with or have a business ties to an applicant or that applicant's family members. In addition, professors will not be able to join the admissions committee on years that they have a family member applying.
  • Public higher education in the United States can learn from its counterparts abroad, according to a compilation of papers from a symposium on the topic and released Wednesday. "The Crisis of the Publics" was released by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Antioch University officials said Wednesday that Andrzej Bloch, interim president of Antioch College, has withdrawn a letter that angered many professors and alumni by telling faculty that their employment after this academic year would be limited. “It is likely that a significant number of the current faculty will NOT be re-employed for the 2008-2009 academic year,” he wrote, suggesting that professors “plan your personal and professional lives accordingly.” The letter has not been replaced with another, said a university spokeswoman, but the letter has been withdrawn and no longer stands.
  • Employers expect a 7 percent increase in the number of jobs for graduating seniors in the arts and sciences this year, according to a national survey conducted at Michigan State University.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges is vowing to prevent a recurrence of problems for Canadians taking the Medical College Admission Test -- problems that forced many of them to travel to the United States to take the exam, Maclean's reported. The MCAT is required by many Canadian medical schools, but only 3,000 slots were offered in Canada during the peak testing season this year, even though 6,000 Canadians took the exam during the same period the previous year. The MCAT's switch to a computer test has made offering slots more complicated than in the paper and pencil days.
  • The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has agreed to review a ban on logos from system institutions being placed on items that may "cause embarrassment or ridicule." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the rule keeps Georgia colleges and universities' symbols off of sex toys, toilet seats, alcoholic beverages and caskets, among other things. The review is taking place at the request of a business that sells caskets with university insignias.
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