Quick Takes: Prof Accused of Hacking, Megagift Possible for Texas, 4 Suspended for Obama Effigy, Anthropology Debate, Trouble for MyRichUncle, Liberal Arts Advice for Next President, American Indian Enrollments, New Leader for Hughes Institute

October 1, 2008
  • Stephan Grzeskowiak entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday to charges that he hacked into the e-mail of a former student who is also alleged to be his former lover. The allegations relate to Grzeskowiak's time teaching at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota, but he was arrested moments before teaching at the College of William and Mary, where he is a visiting professor, The Pioneer Press reported. In addition to facing federal charges over the alleged hacking, Grzeskowiak has been sued by his former student, who is identified as "Jane Doe" in court documents and also has sued the University of St. Thomas.
  • The University of Texas at Austin could be receiving one of the largest gifts ever to higher education -- but a legal fight must take place first. The university announced Tuesday that Moncrief Oil International has pledged 25 percent of the proceeds it receives from a Russian gas field -- with the university receiving up to $500 million. But litigation is currently taking place in both the United States and Germany related to the field, so the outcome is uncertain. Funds that the university receives would be designated for research on alternative energy.
  • George Fox University, in Oregon, has suspended four students who admitted hanging a cardboard cutout of Sen. Barack Obama on a tree on campus last week, The Oregonian reported.
  • The Network of Concerned Anthropologists has issued a statement offering some support and also some concerns about proposed revisions in the ethics code of the American Anthropological Association. The revisions move in the direction -- sought by the network -- of banning secret research. But, as expected, the network does not think the revisions go far enough. The association is expected to continue to debate the issue.
  • MyRichUncle, the maverick student loan company that angered many college officials and other lenders with its highly critical advertising, appears to be in trouble. The company said this summer that it was suspending its participation in the federal student loan program to concentrate on private loans, but a notice on its Web site now says that it has "paused" its private loan operations, too. "Due to continued disruptions in the capital markets, combined with the continued demand we have experienced this year, we are reaching funding capacity limits," MyRichUncle said. "As a result, we are unable to receive new applications at this time. We regret not being able to serve you, but hope to in the near future. We are working to try to obtain funds that would enable us to continue to accept new customers."
  • The next president of the United States needs to take specific steps to improve higher education's ability to contribute to the national good, according to an open letter released Tuesday by the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences. Among the recommendations: more money for Pell Grants, a commitment to "more regular, open and peer-reviewed competition" for federal research grants with more money for 'agencies that conduct rigorous, merit-based review processes," the creation of a federal program to support research facilities, and increased funding for international education.
  • Over the last 30 years, the number of American Indians enrolled in colleges and universities has more than doubled, according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. The report includes data on education of American Indians at all levels of education.
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a major player in support for biomedical research and the reform of science education, on Tuesday named Robert Tijan as its next president. Tijan is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California at Berkeley.
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