Quick Takes: U.S. Proposes Fee Hike for Foreign Students, Calif. Students Protest Budget Cuts, Clarence Thomas Invite Roils UGA, $60 Million for Undergraduate Science, B-School Turnover, Terrorism Charges Dropped Against Buffalo Professor, Yale Art Furor

April 22, 2008
  • The American government continues its seeming love-hate relationship with international students. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday proposed hefty increases in the fees that foreign students must pay for their visas, to help pay for the government's system for tracking the whereabouts of the students once they're in the United States. In rules proposed in the Federal Register, the agency said it would double, to $200, the fee paid by non-immigrant students seeking F-1 visas and raise the fee paid by those seeking J-1 visas, for exchange visitors, to $180. The additional funds would be used to pay for increased costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Comments on the proposed increase, which some international exchange officials worry will be yet another deterrent to foreign students studying in the Unites States, may be submitted until June 20 on the Regulations.gov Web site or by fax at (866) 466-5370.
  • More than 2,000 college students staged protests in Sacramento and elsewhere in California Monday to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts for higher education, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The protests, at the state capitol and sites throughout the state, were part of a statewide "Day of Action."
  • Many students and faculty members at the University of Georgia are protesting the selection of Justice Clarence Thomas as graduation speaker, in a year in which the university has been criticized for the way it handled allegations of sexual harassment, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. University officials defended the selection, saying that it was an honor to have a Supreme Court justice speak, and noting that Thomas has close ties to the university's law school.
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute this morning announced $60 million in grants to 48 colleges to help them revamp their undergraduate curriculums in the life sciences. Under the program, the institutions will receive grants of $700,000 to $1.6 million over four years; among the recipients, about a quarter of which have never received grants before from the biomedical foundation, are Bowdoin, Calvin, Occidental and Vassar Colleges, the City University of New York's Hunter College, and North Carolina Central and Saint Joseph's Universities.
    • Business school deans appear to be turning over at faster rates, with nearly a quarter of deans on the job just a year or less, The Wall Street Journal reported. The trend is making competition tougher when hiring deans, the Journal said.
    • A federal judge on Monday dismissed terrorism-related charges against a State University of New York at Buffalo professor who had been accused of illegally obtaining biological materials for an art exhibit to protest federal food policies, the Buffalo News reported. The judge found "insufficient on its face" an indictment for mail and wire fraud brought in 2004 against Steven J. Kurtz.
    • Yale University says that Aliza Shvarts, a senior, has assured officials that she did not really inseminate herself and induce miscarriages for her senior project, slated to go on display. Shvarts continues to imply otherwise. The university has upped the ante by saying that it will not permit her to display her work unless she signs an "unambiguous written statement that her installation is a work of fiction." A statement from the university also indicated that an instructor and an adviser failed in their jobs overseeing the work and questioning it, and that "appropriate action" has been taken.

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