Quick Takes: Punishments in VCU Degree Scandal, College Tries to Find Anonymous Critic, Fresno State to Pay $605K to Ex-Coach, Missing Regents at Morgan, Ethics and Football Tickets, Town vs. Gown, Cats vs. Coyotes, Campaign Silliness

July 14, 2008
  • Some officials at Virginia Commonwealth University have been punished for their role in an inappropriately awarded degree, but the university is not saying who they are, how many there are, and what the punishments are, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The university also announced it is trying to find "Harry Potter," the pseudonym of the whistle blower who sent some of the relevant records to local journalists. A university investigation determined that the former Richmond police chief didn't meet degree requirements, but he was permitted to keep his degree because he didn't try to break the rules.
  • Officials of Cambridge College are so angry over an anonymous mock newspaper that criticizes administrators and suggests that the college is in poor financial shape that a former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been hired to identify the author, The Boston Globe reported.
  • California State University at Fresno has agreed to pay $605,000 to its softball coach in an apparent gender discrimination suit, although details of this case are generally being kept confidential, The Fresno Bee reported. The university has faced a series of multi-million dollar judgments and suits over allegations of sex bias in its athletics programs.
  • Many of the more prominent members of the Morgan State University Board of Regents routinely miss committee and other meetings, The Baltimore Sun reported. For example, Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman, has missed the last eight meetings of the board's finance committee, and William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland, has missed seven of the last eight finance meetings -- at a time that state officials are investigating contracting and management at the university.
  • When a state legislator in Ohio leaves office and rumors spread that he may have inappropriately sold Ohio State University football tickets he obtained as a lawmaker, who investigates? State legislators and other officials who also have special access to the tickets, The Akron Beacon-Journal reported.
  • Reed College purchased a large house near the campus in 2005, planning to use it for various events, but neighbors in Portland have fought attempts by the college to get permission from local authorities to actually use the house, reported The Oregonian in an exploration of one community's town-gown tensions.
  • Feral cats have been congregating at California State University at Long Beach, and the felines have attracted coyotes, resulting in several attacks on the cats. The Los Angeles Times reported that the university is trying to get rid of the cats, a step that officials hope would lead the coyotes elsewhere as well. But cat-lovers, who held a protest Sunday, said that they fear the cats will be killed (a contention the university denies) and that the coyotes should be trapped and removed.
  • You expected serious discussion of higher education on the campaign trail? Sen. Barack Obama is being attacked by some anti-immigration groups for suggesting that more Americans should learn to speak foreign languages. Obama is sticking with his position. Sen. John McCain, meanwhile, is being subjected to online analysis for his statement that the University of Southern California (his wife's alma mater) is "the University of Spoiled Children." Some observers think a little university-bashing may be good for the McCain campaign, some at USC aren't amused, while still others are upset that Cindy McCain is being described as having been a cheerleader at the university when she was actually a "song girl."
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