Quick Takes: New Aid Loophole, Occidental President Quits After 17 Months, Hate Crime Data, Brigham Young Criticized for Rhino Hunt, Michigan Responds on Stadium, LLB vs. JD

November 20, 2007
  • A new loophole was inserted with little notice into federal law last year to provide "financial aid for the rich," according to U.S. News & World Report. The measure changed the way wealth is calculated to determine financial assets by excluding the assets associated with small businesses with up to 100 full-time employees. The measure is similar to provisions that protect farm owners from having to sell their farms to pay for college, but businesses with up to 100 full-time employees can be much more valuable, allowing some to shelter considerable wealth while qualifying for aid, the magazine said.
  • Susan Prager, president of Occidental College, announced Monday that she was resigning her position after only 17 months on the job. The press release announcing her departure was vague, but the Los Angeles Times quoted both Prager and board leaders as saying that they had failed to develop a good working relationship.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported Monday that 12.2 percent of hate crimes in 2006 took place at schools or colleges, down from 13.5 percent the year before. However, the overall number of hate crimes was up 8 percent, to 7,722.
  • The University of Michigan has offered to increase the number of seats in its football stadium that are fully accessible to people with disabilities to 592, up from the current 88. A finding by the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights that the university was failing to meet its obligation for the stadium to be accessible has prompted denials from Michigan and discussion about whether athletic facilities generally meet federal standards.
  • Brigham Young University is facing widespread criticism for asking a benefactor to obtain a permit in South Africa, where he hunted down a rare white rhinoceros whose skin is slated to be displayed in the university's natural history museum, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Humane Society of the United States has joined other groups in noting that while such hunts were a common way for museums to obtain exhibits a century ago, the practice has long been abandoned by most institutions. The donor/hunter has defended the hunt, noting that the fee he paid for the right to kill the rhino supported conservation efforts. Museum officials are also reportedly hoping to get a black rhino, a hippo, and a giraffe. An editorial in the Tribune denounced the museum, saying that there are all kinds of ethical ways (using video, using animals that have died of natural causes) to educate without killing. "The thrill kill also puts BYU, which claims on its Web site that the collections are used to 'celebrate the role of Jesus Christ as Creator,' in a bit of an ethical bind," the editorial says. "If the private university wants stuffed animals in its museum, it should display Teddy bears."
  • A proposal at Queen's University, in Canada, to shift the law degree from an LL.B. degree to a J.D. has set off a storm of debate and anti-American feelings, The Globe and Mail reported. While the British LL.B. does not require an undergraduate degree, the Canadian version does, but many Canadian law graduates report that international law firms and legal organizations associate the Canadian degree with the British degree, and therefore consider it less rigorous than the American J.D. Students and some alumni at Queen's want the degree there to shift to the J.D., but the push has generated a huge backlash, with many alumni accusing the university of becoming "Americanized" by considering the idea.
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