Quick Takes: Higher Ed Inflation Index Hits 3.6%, CUNY Faculty Approve Contract, Ex-Prof Convicted, Hawaii Changes Housing Rules, Iran Detains Prof Bound for Penn, 'Tanorexia' Among Students, $2.5M for Organic Food at Bates

September 4, 2008
  • The Higher Education Price Index reached 3.6 percent for the 2008 fiscal year, up slightly from 3.4 percent the previous year, the Commonfund Institute is announcing today. The index is based on costs facing colleges and is designed to give a more accurate assessment of the inflationary pressures on academe than does the Consumer Price Index (3.7 percent for the same time frame). The index's gain may appear small to campus money managers who have been watching certain costs, especially for utilities, skyrocket in recent months, but the timing of the calculations means that those increases aren't counted in the new data.
  • Faculty members at the City University of New York overwhelmingly approved a new contract, the professors' union announced Wednesday. The vote was 93 percent to 7 percent. Some adjunct faculty members pushed to reject the contract, which they said didn't do enough for them in terms of either wages or job security. But many faculty members -- including some who were critical of the pact -- said that the deterioration of New York State's budget picture would have made it dangerous to open negotiations again. Details about the contract may be found on the Web site of the Professional Staff Congress, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.
  • A federal jury on Wednesday convicted J. Reece Roth, a professor emeritus at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, of illegally passing sensitive information from a contract with his spinoff company to research assistants from Chinas and Iran, the Associated Press reported. Roth testified that he believed that the findings at issue were not covered by federal laws because they involved unproven technologies. He faces a sentence of more than 160 years in prison.
  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa has agreed to change its campus housing policy so that same-sex couples can have access to rooms that had been reserved for married couples, the AP reported. The shift settles a lawsuit by a gay couple challenging the rules.
  • Mehdi Zakerian, an Iranian legal scholar, has been detained by authorities in Iran, blocking for now his attempt to travel to the United States to become a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn's law school, where Zakerian is scheduled to teach, is calling for his release, as are the International League for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.
  • More than 25 percent of university students surveyed exhibit symptoms of "tanning dependence," including symptoms similar to alcohol and drug addictions, according to an article in the new issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior. Those with "tanorexia" are more likely than other students to be thin and to smoke cigarettes, the study found. Forty percent of those studied had used tanning booths.
  • Bates College has announced a $2.5 million gift with an unusual purpose. An endowment will be created so that all funds will be used to cover the extra costs of buying locally grown and organic food.
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