Quick Takes: Prof Accused of Plagiarizing Grant Proposal, New Call to Improve Higher Ed, Obama in Effigy at Kentucky, Quinnipiac Expels 3 Accused of Harassment, Wayne State Enrollment Decline, God and Man at Canadian Universities

October 30, 2008
  • Texas Southern University has declined an $800,000 research grant from the U.S. Army while investigating allegations that the grant proposal was plagiarized, The Houston Chronicle reported. According to the newspaper, a tenured associate professor of physics, Rambis M. Chu, is accused of submitting the proposal, which is almost verbatim the same proposal submitted a few years earlier by John Miller, a professor of physics at the University of Houston. Miller said that he gave Chu a copy of his proposal when Chu asked to see a successful grant proposal. "My intent, obviously, was this would be an example of how to structure it," told the newspaper. "It obviously wasn't my intent that it would be copied word for word." Chu told the paper that the issue was "a misunderstanding. I was acting in good faith."
  • Trustees and other leaders of colleges need to more explicitly define institutions' roles in advancing states' economies, and identify strategies as well as measures to evaluate those strategies, according to a new report from the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Among the suggestions in the report: More of a focus on reaching adult learners and closer ties to elementary and secondary schools. The report emerged from a meeting in June at the Miller Center, which brought together numerous key leaders in public higher education.
  • A life-size likeness of Sen. Barack Obama was found hanging from a noose from a tree at the University of Kentucky, the Associated Press reported. University officials said that they were outraged by the act and President Lee Todd said he would seek to personally apologize to Obama.
  • Quinnipiac University, which has been investigating the placement of slurs and a swastika outside the dormitory rooms of black basketball players, expelled three students Wednesday after they were arrested on harassment related charges, The New Haven Register reported. One of the students who was arrested is the roommate of two of the athletes who have been harassed.
  • The economic downturn has sent many people back to college, but Wayne State University is struggling to determine why it is losing enrollments. The Detroit News reported that enrollment is down 4.2 percent this year, and that all categories -- first-time undergraduates, transfer students and graduate students -- saw declines. The loss of an estimated 20,000 credit hours could cost the university more than $7 million. University officials are discussing a number of ways to improve recruiting, the newspaper said.
  • Atheists and agnostics are pushing the University of Alberta to end a traditional portion of the chancellor's speech to new graduates, in which they are urged to use their education for "the glory of God and the honor of your country," Maclean's reports. While such statements were once traditional at Canadian universities, many institutions have dropped them. Some Christian groups are urging the university to keep the language. York University, meanwhile, has decided to end a policy of canceling classes on the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The Toronto Star reported that the move followed a complaint filed with human rights groups that the policy discriminated against non-Jewish students who are also not Christians. Members of the latter group have key holidays off under Canadian law, while Jewish students were the only group whose holidays the university observed. University officials said that they were responding to the changing demographics of the institution, and not the complaint under review.
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