Quick Takes: Seeking Stimulus, U.Va. Found to Have Violated Security Law, More Evidence of Researcher's Drug Company Ties, More Furloughs, Ag Dept. Rules on Research Misconduct, Looming Indictment in Nevada, NCAA Penalties for Salem International

November 25, 2008
  • With President-elect Barack Obama formally naming members of his economic team, some politicians and academics are urging the incoming administration to make sure that higher education is part of the stimulus package for the faltering economy. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski told The Portland Business Journal that he is drafting a recommendation to Obama that he focus public works projects on higher education's facilities needs. Building on campus would create jobs in construction and could start more speedily than other projects, Kulongoski said, because states could speed the approval process for campus facilities. Also on Monday, the Center for Studies in Higher Education, at the University of California at Berkeley, released a paper by one of its scholars arguing that college access will be key to economic recovery. John Aubrey Douglass examines the role of expanded college access in helping the economy in the post-World War II period, and argues such an investment makes sense today as well. The paper is called "College vs. Unemployment."
  • The U.S. Education Department has found that the University of Virginia violated federal requirements on disclosing campus crimes by requiring victims of sexual assault to agree to a confidentiality pledge to find out the results of judicial hearings by their assailants. The complaint was filed by Security on Campus, on behalf of a Virginia student who wanted to find out the results of hearings she brought, but didn't want to agree to the confidentiality requirement. The university claimed at the time that federal privacy regulations required the confidentiality requirement, but the Education Department said that this was not the case. Virginia has since changed its procedures for such cases. A spokeswoman said that the university was studying the finding from the Education Department.
  • New questions are being raised about Joseph Biederman, a leading child psychiatrist at Harvard University, and his ties to drug companies. A Senate probe this summer found that he earned much more from drug company consulting than he had reported, but he denied any wrongdoing and said that all of his work was to promote scientific advances. But The New York Times reported that an e-mail trail, released in a lawsuit, shows Biederman urging Johnson & Johnson to finance a research center at a Harvard-affiliated hospital with the aim to "move forward the commercial goals" of the company. The lawsuit documents also show that the company prepared a draft of a report for Biederman, whose critics say he is too quick to endorse the use of antipsychotic drugs in children. He says that his studies have helped many children. Biederman did not respond to requests for an interview by the Times.
  • About 1,200 of the 5,000 employees of the Medical University of South Carolina will have four-day furloughs as part of a plan to deal with cuts in state funds, The Charleston Post and Courier reported. The university also anticipates a small number of layoffs.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday proposed rules that would establish guidelines to govern misconduct in external research sponsored by the federal agency. The regulations, which were published in the Federal Register, would for the first time establish an office within the agriculture agency to oversee the integrity of research the agency sponsors at universities and other institutions, though, as is the case for all federal scientific work, the institutions themselves would be primarily responsible for ensuring the integrity of their work.
  • Nevada Lieut. Gov. Brian Krolicki announced Monday that state authorities plan to indict him on charges that he violated laws dealing with the use of public funds when he managed the state's college savings plan while serving as state treasurer, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. Krolicki denied any wrongdoing.
  • Salem International University let 16 athletes participate in sports even though they should have been ineligible to compete, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II Committee on Infractions found in placing the university on three years' probation Monday. The panel cited Salem International for lacking institutional control over its athletics program, finding that the university let some athletes play for more than four years and participate even though they hadn't made sufficient progress toward a degree.
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