Quick Takes: WVU Loses Gifts, Anthropologists Question 'Minerva' Project, Johnson C. Smith Tuition Freeze, New Buyer for Myers U., First Contract for Wayne State Part Timers, Flooding Shuts Maine-Fort Kent, Congress Passes Loan Bill

  • The McGee Foundation, citing the scandal over an inappropriately awarded degree to a politically connected executive, has revoked a $2 million gift to West Virginia University, The Charleston Daily Mail reported.
  • May 1, 2008
  • The McGee Foundation, citing the scandal over an inappropriately awarded degree to a politically connected executive, has revoked a $2 million gift to West Virginia University, The Charleston Daily Mail reported. The co-chair of the foundation said that President Mike Garrison should quit because he "has immensely damaged the school." While Garrison has said repeatedly that he accepts responsibility for the scandal, he has not quit -- even as his provost and business school dean have done so. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which broke the news of the scandal, reported today that the university says it can provide no phone records for Garrison during the five-day period when the university decided to award an M.B.A. to Heather Bresch, the governor's daughter, even though she didn't earn it.
  • The Network of Concerned Anthropologists, a group that has asked scholars to pledge not to help the Bush administration's "war on terror" or military activities in Iraq, has announced a series of concerns about a Pentagon proposal to support unclassified research in the social sciences and humanities. The statement notes that federal research support already has the potential to shift researchers' agendas, and says that there were additional concerns about this program. Despite pledges that there will not be political litmus tests for research, the statement says that "subtle but powerful biases" are present from any outside funder. Further, the statement says that the plan -- which is being endorsed by a number of university presidents -- would push the Pentagon's research agenda for the social sciences above that of scholars. The statement also questions whether the Defense Department could live up to promises made about the program. "The Pentagon is an agency that lacks the historical commitment to more open debate and the freer pursuit of knowledge associated with, for example, NSF and NIH and many foundations, and university funds themselves," the statement says.
  • Johnson C. Smith University announced Wednesday that it is freezing tuition for the next year in light of the national economic downturn. “Many of our students are working three and four jobs and their parent’s jobs have been downsized," said the president, Dorothy Cowser Yancy. Tuition at the private, historically black institution in North Carolina is $15,754. This will be the first time since 1975 that the university has not had a tuition increase.
  • An Ohio judge on Wednesday gave an entity controlled by an investment firm that has investments in for-profit higher education the right to buy financially troubled Myers University, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported. While the owners were supposed to be kept secret, one of the competing groups made the revelation in an open court session. Myers Education LLC, which won the right to buy the university, is affiliated with Bradley Palmer and Palm Ventures.
  • The new, part-time faculty union at Wayne State University on Wednesday announced that it had reached a tentative contract agreement with the institution. Details of the agreement were not available, but the union said that it included salary increases and new provisions for job security. The union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, won an election last year to represent part-time faculty members.
  • The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be closed for the rest of the week due to flooding in the region. About 150 students who live on campus have been evacuated, some to other University of Maine campuses.
  • Moving with unusual speed, the U.S. Senate approved legislation Thursday that will allow the federal government to intervene in several key ways in the guaranteed student loan program, in an effort to ward off a potential crisis in the availability of federal loans. The House is expected to pass the legislation as soon as today, and President Bush is expected to sign it promptly.
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