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Quick Takes: Student Charged in Obama Effigy Incident, Suicide at University's Central Meeting Place, Governors Seek Spending Exemption, Evaluating Coaches on Academic Success, States Pledge Reforms, Contract for Pace Adjuncts, Heavy Metal Studies

October 31, 2008
  • Police arrested a University of Kentucky student and his friend Thursday in connection with the hanging of an effigy of Sen. Barack Obama on campus -- an incident that upset many students and others at the university, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The two arrested face a charge of disorderly conduct in connection with the actual hanging of the effigy, and also burglary because they are alleged to have stolen items from a fraternity for use in the effigy. Lee Todd Jr., president of the university, released a statement after the arrests. "As outrageous and offensive an act as the effigy was, I truly believe it has mobilized our campus, the community and the state in an effort to battle racism and hate and seek the better angels of our nature," he said. "Clearly, we have much work to do in educating each other about tolerance and mutual respect."
  • A former employee of the University of Washington killed himself Thursday by dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire in Red Square, a central meeting place on the campus, The Seattle Times reported. Horrified students tried to stop him and to put out the flames, but were unable to do so. Officials declined to identify the man or to say why he left the university.
  • The National Governors Association is asking the Education Department to grant an exemption to a new requirement that states, in to participate in certain federal programs, must at least maintain current levels of support for higher education. The new requirement has provisions for such an exemption and a letter from governors states that the current economic downturn meets the necessary criteria for a "precipitous and unforeseen decline" in the availability of funds.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I Board of Directors announced plans Thursday to create a metric demonstrating the academic success of athletes under the coach who recruited and trained them. Myles Brand, NCAA president, said the metric would function as a “lifetime batting average” for coaches that would be publicly available for administrators to use alongside a win-loss record when hiring. An academic progress rate is already calculated by the NCAA for individual institutions and is used to hold them accountable for academic standards. The proposed APR for coaches of all sports -- which would follow them for their entire career from institution to institution – would be determined in the same manner. This idea will be refined by the Committee on Academic Performance before a formal proposal is presented before the Division I Board of Directors in April.
  • Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah announced their commitment to overhaul their state systems of education using the latest report from the Commission on the Skills of the America Workforce as a model. The National Education Association also declared its support for these three states. “Tough Choice or Tough Times,” a report released in late 2006, recommends that states graduate high school students at age 16 ready for college-level work and attempt to recruit those from the top third of college graduates to become teachers. More states are expected to join the effort.
  • The adjunct faculty union at Pace University, which has been in a long and sometimes contentious negotiating period for its first contract, appears to finally have one. While details aren't available, the union -- an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers -- indicated that it has a tentative deal.
  • Salzburg is known for its role in the history of music, but as The Guardian reported, it will be making a different sort of history next week when it is the site of what is being billed as the first international scholarly conference on heavy metal. Among the papers scheduled for presentation: "Turn or Burn? The Peculiar Case of Christian Metal Music," "All Tomorrows Become Yesterday: Stoner Rock’s Construction Through Nostalgic Historiography," "Distortion-drenched Utopias: Metal and Modernity in Southeast Asia" and “'You’re too Fuckin’ Metal for your own good': Controlled Anger and the Expression of Intensity and Authenticity in Post-modern Heavy Metal."
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