Quick Takes: Students Lose Spaces in California, Ph.D. Not Required, Unusual Demand From PETA, Babson Loves Tina Fey

January 15, 2009
  • California's budget woes continue to limit student choices. A committee of the University of California Board of Regents voted Wednesday to cut the number of freshmen admitted for the fall by about 6 percent, to 35,300. Many students who last year might have been admitted to two or three campuses will find themselves admitted to only one, The San Jose Mercury News reported. Meanwhile, classes are so full in the San Diego Community College District that more than 7,000 students have been denied winter term classes, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
  • The latest trend in Canadian higher education: hiring presidents without Ph.D.'s. Maclean's reported that several recent hires do not have traditional academic backgrounds, which is a new development for the country.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is known for its demands that colleges and universities stop using animals in research. On Wednesday it started a campaign to urge Palm Beach Atlantic University to change its mascot name from "Sailfish" to "Sea Kitten." Why? It's part of PETA's campaign to have everyone call fish "sea kittens," so that people rise up in defense of fish. PETA sent a letter to David W. Clark, president of the university, which said: "We're hoping that by calling fish 'sea kittens,' compassionate people who would never hurt a dog or cat will realize that fish feel pain and fear, just as furry and winged animals do.... Most parents would never dream of spending a family weekend torturing kittens, but hooking fish through their mouths and pulling them through the water is just as painful as hooking a cat's mouth and dragging him or her behind a car." The university released a statement noting that the sailfish has been the institution's mascot since 1968, and citing research showing that it can travel faster than any other form of marine life. "Speed and agility are great traits for a mascot, and we believe that our school is the only one to have adopted the sailfish as its mascot," said the statement, which added that the university finds PETA's request "amusing," but "we can't imagine changing the name of our mascot." In a gesture of seeking common ground, however, the institution said that "as a Christian university, Palm Beach Atlantic believes it has a responsibility to encourage stewardship of God’s creation. Therefore, we don’t advocate sailfish capture."
  • Babson College wants the world to know that it loves Tina Fey -- and the college is looking for some reciprocation. The comedy star used her Golden Globe acceptance speech Sunday night to denounce some of those who post nasty online comments about her. "BabsonLacrosse, you can suck it," she said. (The video of the speech is here on YouTube.) Babson College, however, wants nothing to do with whomever BabsonLacrosse is. So the college announced Wednesday that it is inviting Fey to visit campus and deliver this year's commencement address. Leonard Schlesinger, the president, issued the invitation in his own YouTube video, in which he expressed the college's love for Fey and even demonstrated a little of that SNL-style irony by saying that she had put the college "on the map" in a way that its academic leadership hadn't been "able to deliver."
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