Quick Takes: 3 Dead in La., Pentagon Opposes New GI Bill, Record HBCU Campaign, Judge Rejects Fisk Art Sale, Judge Reduces Ex-Coach's Award, Suit Disputes Study Abroad Fees, Sex Abuse Charged, ETS on Assessment, More Lender Woes, Anti-Jewish List in Italy

February 11, 2008
  • A student at Louisiana Technical College's Baton Rouge campus on Friday shot and killed two other female students and then killed herself, The Advocate reported. Police are unsure about the shooter's motive. The shootings took place in a classroom with about 20 students.
  • While momentum is growing in Congress to pass a new GI Bill, adding education benefits for a generation of veterans serving in Iraq, the Pentagon and Bush administration are opposed. The reason? The Boston Globe reported that it is fear that better education benefits would discourage those who have the option to leave from re-enlisting. The Globe quoted Robert Clarke, assistant director of accessions policy at the Department of Defense, as saying that "the incentive to serve and leave" might with better education benefits "outweigh the incentive to have them stay."
  • Howard University has announced that it raised $272 million in a campaign that ended December 31. The total is a new record for historically black college fund-raising campaigns, topping the $264 million raised by Hampton University.
  • A state judge ruled Friday that Fisk University cannot sell 50 percent of the ownership of its modern art collection to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Associated Press reported. The judge ruled that such a sale -- under which the collection would be shared -- would violate the intent of Georgia O'Keeffe's bequest to Fisk. O'Keeffe never intended the art to be used for fund raising, said Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle. Fisk officials said that they were considering an appeal. The university has argued that it needs the millions it could raise in a sale to improve its educational programs. The controversy is among several involving colleges' sales of art that have prompted a national debate on whether such sales are ever legitimate.
  • A California judge has reduced a jury's award to an ex-coach at California State University at Fresno from $19.1 million to $6.6 million, The Fresno Bee reported. Stacy Johnson-Klein was awarded the sum last year when a jury backed her claims that she was forced out of a job because of her advocacy for female athletes -- charges that Fresno State denied. While the judge found that the jury was excessive in its award, he upheld her discrimination claims. Johnson-Klein now has the choice of accepting the smaller sum or having a new trial. The case is among three in which the university has been ordered or agreed to pay millions of dollars to women suing over their treatment by the athletic department.
  • The father of a recent graduate of Wheaton College has sued the Massachusetts institution, charging that its policy of requiring students to pay full tuition while attending off-campus programs that are significantly less expensive is a "deceptive and unfair" billing practice, The Boston Globe reported. While it is unclear if the case will succeed, Wheaton's practice is similar to the policies of many other colleges and universities.
  • A new suit charges that Atlantic Union College, in Massachusetts, knew about and did nothing to stop sexual abuse by a former choral director against four students and a consultant, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. In addition, the suit charges that those who were abused were expelled. Francisco de Araujo, the former choral director, did not respond to the newspaper's messages. The college's president, Norman L. Wendth, issued a statement that did not comment on the specific allegations, but that urged any with knowledge of wrongdoing to come forward and urged "respect for the reputations of everyone involved."
  • The Educational Testing Service today releases the third and final report in its "Culture of Evidence" series, following up more philosophical and contextual reports with a practical framework for how colleges should go about deciding what and how to measure student learning, involving various campus constitutencies.
  • A front-page article in The Wall Street Journal today portends more trouble for companies that make student loans, citing larger problems in the financial credit markets. The article notes that investors are continuing to shun the purchase of securities that back student loans and municipal bonds, "because they fear the debt used to back the instruments will default or get downgraded by rating services."
  • Italian police are investigating a blog that listed the names of 150 Jewish professors, accused them of supporting Israel, and provided links to anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial Web sites, Reuters reported. The controversy over the site comes as Italian intellectuals are debating whether the Turin book festival erred in saluting Israeli literature. Some who oppose Israel's treatment of Palestinians have called for a boycott of the event.
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