Quick Takes: Jury Orders HP to Pay Cornell $184 Million, Disputed Report at WVU, No Confidence at Monroe CC, Bush at Furman, Facebook Snooping at Seattle U.

June 2, 2008
  • A federal jury on Friday ordered Hewlett-Packard to pay Cornell University $184 million for infringing on a Cornell patent on ways to increase the speed of computers, The Syracuse Post-Standard reported. Like many patent lawsuits, this one is complicated and lengthy -- the university first sued over the dispute in 2002. A share of the proceeds will go to H.C. Torng, a professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell. A Hewlett-Packard lawyer who handled the case did not respond to e-mail seeking the company's reaction. A background article on the case by the Newhouse News Service, written prior to the verdict, may be found here.
  • A report presented to West Virginia University's board Friday, by embattled President Mike Garrison, says that there are questions about 70 M.B.A. degrees awarded in the same executive M.B.A. program in which the governor's daughter received a degree she didn't earn. While the latest report would suggest that the politically connected degree recipient didn't receive such special treatment after all, as has been widely believed at the university, there are few signs that the latest news is ending the controversy. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the panel that investigated the inappropriate degree did not find the widespread problems the president found. Mountaineers for Integrity and Responsibility has turned over a petition with 1,240 names calling for Garrison's ouster. But the university board on Friday, while stating that it continues its review of the scandal, issued a statement saying that it found "no evidence" that Garrison was involved in awarding the degree that set off the furor.
  • Faculty and staff members at Monroe Community College, in New York, have voted 546 to 7 that they have no confidence in the board's ability to carry out the search for a new president, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. The board recently deadlocked between two candidates -- both politically well connected but lacking extensive experience in college management -- even as professors and others urged the selection of candidates who had led two-year colleges.
  • President Bush gave the commencement address at Furman University Saturday night and despite debate on campus over whether he should have been invited, the event went off without any disruptions, The Greenville News reported. The president was warmly received over all, but some faculty members and students wore white armbands, a few professors did not stand when the president arrived and was introduced, and 14 wore T-shirts that said "We Object."
  • Students at Seattle University are upset over recent incidents in which officials used Facebook to identify parties to which the institution objected. The Seattle Times reported that students called off a party in which they planned to wear costumes to mock fraternity and sorority members (lots of Abercrombie & Fitch, apparently) at an event dubbed the "douchebag party." University officials learned of the event on Facebook and warned organizers that the celebration might violate rules against parties with themes that reflect gender bias.
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