Quick Takes: $100 Million for Harvard, Hitler Video Angers North Dakota, Seminary Lays Off Tenured Faculty, Gender Bias and Postdocs, Reversal by Chase on Student Loans, Zebra on Campus

April 25, 2008
  • David Rockefeller is giving $100 million to Harvard University to expand its study abroad opportunities for undergraduates and its art education offerings, The New York Times reported. The Times characterized the gift as the largest the university has received from an alumnus, and President Drew Faust expressed appreciation for the gift, despite the widespread publicity about the university's $35 billion endowment. “To outsiders, our bucket may seem full, but at Harvard, we so often see aspirations we hope to fulfill that we can never have too many resources,” she said.
  • Officials of North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota are condemning a video circulating in the state, featuring a clip from a German movie set in Hitler's final bunker, but which has had the subtitles altered so that Hitler is talking about the two institutions' sports rivalry, The Grand Forks Herald reported. The doctored subtitles portray Hitler as a fan of the University of North Dakota, frustrated by its sports losses and insulting its president and other administrators.
  • Seabury-Western Theological Seminary told its tenured faculty members Thursday that their jobs would be eliminated next year, citing financial woes that have led the institution to dramatically shift gears, the Chicago Tribune reported. The latest news follows by several weeks the Episcopal seminary's announcement that it would shut down its residential master of divinity program but remain open, part of a wave of financial difficulties facing some of the nation's 11 Episcopal seminaries.
  • Several months after announcing that it would expand its presence in the federal student loan programs, JPMorgan Chase's education lending arm said it would cut back on benefits for borrowers and stop making federal consolidation loans. Chase Education Finance cited
    "dramatic federal cuts to FFELP lenders and an extremely challenging credit environment" as reasons for its moves, saying those changes would make it more difficult for it to meet "higher than expected demand" for originating federal loans.
  • A new study of the academic careers of postdoctoral fellows in a part of Fermilab found that female workers were, on average, significantly more productive than male researchers, but that male researchers dominated conference presentations on the work -- putting the women at a disadvantage.
  • A prankster revived a tradition at Emory University's Oxford campus of leading a large animal to the third floor of Seney Hall -- this time with a zebra -- much to the distress of campus officials. While a student has fessed up to the prank, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the zebra's owner is planning to press theft and trespassing charges.
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