Quick Takes: 2 Key Science Picks by Obama, Carnegie Mellon Revokes Degree, Chasing New School President, Layoffs at SUNY Press, Texas Regents Nominate Physician as Chancellor, Vandalism at Santa Cruz, 3 Women Accuse VP of Harassment

December 19, 2008
  • President-elect Barack Obama has selected John Holdren, a physicist who has worked on environmental policy, as the presidential science adviser, according to Science Insider. Holdren is currently the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at Harvard University. Another key Obama science selection also leaked Thursday, with The Oregonian reporting that Jane Lubchenco, a professor of marine ecology at Oregon State University, would be named to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Carnegie Mellon University has rescinded a master's degree that was awarded inappropriately in 2004, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The degree was awarded based on transfer and independent study credits that exceeded limits set by university regulations. While the university has not said who received the degree, a report indicated that it was someone who the then-dean of the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management thought could be helpful to the school, the Carnegie Mellon unit that awarded the degree.
  • The continuing student protests at the New School against President Bob Kerrey turned into a literal chase Thursday night, The New York Times reported. When Kerrey left a university building, he found himself facing several hundred protesters. When he walked away, some followed him, chanting, and Kerrey started to run and ducked into a home. At one point, the Times reported, someone threw a tomato at Kerrey.
  • In a sign of how the failing economy is hitting scholarly publishing, The Albany Times Union reported on five layoffs at the State University of New York Press. Like many university presses, SUNY has seen sales drop in recent months. While five positions may not seem like a lot as various colleges announce layoffs, those jobs are about 15 percent of the staff at the press.
  • The University of Texas System's governing board on Thursday named Francisco Cigarroa, president of the university's Health Science Center at San Antonio, as the sole finalist to be chancellor of the system. Cigarroa had been the favored choice of many educators and others, but speculation had been rampant that another candidate, John Montford, former chancellor of the Texas Tech University system and a former state legislator, was being pushed by Gov. Rick Perry.
  • Authorities are investigating a vandalism rampage at the University of California at Santa Cruz Wednesday night in which more than 20 vehicles were damaged, many windows were broken and spikes were left on some roads, The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. While no suspects have been identified, officials said that messages left near some of the vandalism criticized the prison and law enforcement systems and plans for campus growth.
  • Three women have filed a lawsuit against Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College and its vice president of student services, James P. Owens, over alleged harassment, The Charleston Gazette reported. The latest suit is from a former secretary who charges that Owens massaged her shoulders, asked her to massage his shoulders, and made many comments about her breasts, such as "My God, how big are those things?" and "You could be a porn star." The college and a lawyer for Owens declined to comment.
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