Quick Takes: Sudden Leave at Southern Illinois, Claremont McKenna and Lafayette Add Aid, Another Cartoon Controversy at U.Va., Payroll Snafu, St. Edward's Expands in France, Quidditch Spring Break, Bancroft Prizes, Rare Look at Morrill Act

March 18, 2008
  • The president of Southern Illinois University, Glenn Poshard, placed the chancellor of the Carbondale campus, Fernando Trevino, on leave Monday, based on "serious concerns" about his performance, the Chicago Tribune reported. Trevino has been in office only since July. No details were available about what led to the leave.
  • Two more colleges have joined the growing number pledging to eliminate loans for low-income students. Claremont McKenna College announced Monday that it would eliminate loans from the aid packages of all current and new students, effective this coming fall. Lafayette College on Monday announced that it would eliminate loans in the packages of students from families with incomes of up to $50,000 and limit to $2,500 a year the loans in aid packages of families with incomes of between $50,000 and $100,000. Lafayette also announced plans to increase the size of its faculty by 35 positions (or about 20 percent) over five years, without increasing the size of the student body.
  • Less than a year after a controversy over publishing a cartoon that appeared to make fun of starving people in Africa, the University of Virginia's student newspaper is again in apology mode. The Cavalier Daily has now removed from its Web site cartoons published last week that depicted the Virgin Mary in a sexual encounter and Jesus doing stand-up comedy while being crucified. Both cartoons were widely criticized. A notice published by the newspaper said that it is "never the intention" of the newspaper "to offend, and we regret having done so." The notice goes on to say that the newspaper is reviewing its cartoon policies.
  • Florida A&M University accidentally overpaid 66 employees in January, and they are now being told to give the money back. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the overpayments ranged from $3.25 to $4,543, and that employees have until April 4 to give back the extra money.
  • At a time that many universities in the United States are starting or considering campuses in the Middle East, St. Edward's University is planning to open a campus in France. St. Edward's is located in Austin and its French outpost will be in Angers, where the university plans a range of certificate and degree programs. The university anticipates enrolling French students, but instruction for credit programs will be in English. For St. Edward's, the new location is a return to the roots of the university, which was founded by French priests from the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
  • Middlebury College is promoting a different kind of March Madness. The 25 students in its Quidditch Club will take a spring break road trip next week to play matches at eight colleges. Because Middlebury students take the game -- inspired by the Harry Potter novels -- more seriously than their counterparts elsewhere, the club is bringing equipment for teams at the other colleges and will offer instruction prior to the matches. One key modification from the game as played in the novels: No flying.
  • Columbia University has announced three 2008 winners of Bancroft Prizes -- one of the top honors for historians. The winners are Allan M. Brandt, the Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine at Harvard University, for The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America (Basic Books); Charles Postel, assistant professor of history at California State University at Sacramento, for The Populist Vision (Oxford University Press); and Peter Silver, assistant professor of history at Princeton University, for Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian Wars Transformed Early America (W.W. Norton).
  • One of the most important documents in the history of American higher education -- the Morrill Act (above right) -- has not been viewed in public since 1979 and has never been seen outside of Washington. But next week, the original law signed by President Lincoln to create the nation's land grant universities will go on display at Iowa State University, as part of a special exhibit on the impact of the act and the 150th anniversary of Iowa State, which was designated as a land grant early in its history.
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