Quick Takes: Early Success on SAT-Optional Plan, Suit Over Student's Death, Civility Suit Settled, Postdoc Jobs Rated, Sudden Closure for Trade School, Whaling Research Questioned, Einstein and Margarine, Copying a Campaign?

March 4, 2008
  • Salisbury University, in Maryland, on Monday released early data suggesting success for its new policy of making the SAT optional for applicants with high school grade-point averages of at least 3.5. While many liberal arts colleges have gone SAT optional, Salisbury is being closely watched by many because it is a larger public university, with a freshman class of 1,200. Salisbury now has its first semester of data on the 220 students admitted who did not submit SAT scores. The results: The non-SAT students had higher grade point averages and earned more credits during their first semester than did other students. In addition, the policy shift may be adding economic diversity to the university. While 29 percent of students who submitted SAT scores qualified for financial aid, the figure rose to 39 percent for those who did not submit SAT scores.
  • The family of a student at the College of New Jersey who is believed to have somehow been killed in a college building's trash compacting machine in 2006 is suing the college, saying that it did not lock the doors to the trash facility in a way that would have protected students, The Times of Trenton reported. It is not known how the student ended up in the trash compacting system, but his blood was found there. His body was found in a landfill. The college on Monday issued a statement that expressed sadness over the death, but that did not directly respond to the suit.
  • The California State University System has agreed to amend its student conduct code to clarify that while students are expected to be "civil," lack of civility is not the basis for disciplinary actions, the Associated Press reported. The change will settle a suit that challenged the civility provision, which gained attention in a complaint -- subsequently dropped -- over a 2006 incident in which some students at San Francisco State University stomped on the Hamas and Hezbollah flags.
  • The Scientist has released its annual survey on the best postdoc positions in the life sciences in the United States (the J. David Gladstone Institutes) and the rest of the world (the University of Cambridge).
  • Students at Tennessee Career College arrived for classes Monday and were told that the trade school had been closed, The Tennessean reported. The owner decided to shut down the institution several months ago, but didn't tell students because he was trying (without success, it turned out) to find a buyer for it.
  • Environmental groups are criticizing the University of St. Andrews for accepting research grants from the Japanese agency that leads that country's annual hunt for whales. The Guardian reported that while the university has said it would not hunt whales as part of the research, many environmental groups believe that such grants are a public relations ploy by Japan to shift attention away from its whale hunting practices.
  • Brandeis University has a new Web feature designed to attract prospective students with stories of the institution's history. The feature starts off by noting ties of such notable as Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt to the institution, then goes on to note numerous prizes won by professors, and then features a large tub of margarine -- the Smart Balance buttery spread to be precise (developed by Brandeis scientists). The Boston Herald is not impressed by that last item, at least compared to Einstein, and has just run a blog entry asking: "What would Einstein put on his bagel?"
  • York University, in Toronto, isn't flattered by the many similarities between the new ad campaign of The Globe and Mail and an ad campaign the university started in 2004. Marketing Magazine reproduced images from both campaigns.
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