Quick Takes: Return to Galveston, Senate Confirms Duncan and Chu, Executive MBA Programs Seek Women, FIRE Founder Runs at Harvard, Teaching Hospitals and Tax Contributions

January 21, 2009
  • Classes are resuming at Texas A&M University at Galveston for the first time since Hurricane Ike devastated the campus in September, the Associated Press reported. A spokeswoman said that 91 percent of those enrolled prior to the hurricane are still enrolled.
  • The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nominations of Arne Duncan as U.S. secretary of education and Steven Chu as secretary of energy, along with several other Cabinet appointees made by President Obama, Bloomberg reported. The approvals, which also included the secretaries of veterans affairs and agriculture, came within hours of the new president's inauguration.
  • Executive M.B.A. programs in which students well into their careers work part time on their degrees have become lucrative and competitive for many business schools. The Wall Street Journal reports that these programs have generally not done well at attracting women, and that some programs are trying hard to change that. Business schools are creating "personal networks" to recruit more women and rethinking classroom time obligations to make the programs more attractive to those already juggling demanding schedules.
  • Harvey A. Silverglate, a lawyer who is the co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is running for a seat on Harvard University's Board of Overseers. Silverglate is raising similar issues with his Harvard candidacy as he did at FIRE, criticizing the university for administrative procedures that limit student rights and accusing the university of limiting academic freedom. A Harvard alumni group nominates candidates for the board, and candidates who get on the ballot by petition -- as Silverglate is attempting -- generally lose, but sometimes gain considerable attention.
  • A sign of the times: A group of labor unions in Boston is questioning whether teaching hospitals there are contributing enough to the city's coffers, The Boston Globe reports. The group, Community Labor United, released a report, "The Nonprofit City," suggesting that the city's major nonprofit hospitals are not paying their fair share at a time when the city's finances are a mess. The report found that the hospitals had made voluntary payments of $4 million when the taxes they would have owed on their property would have resulted in a contribution of $64 million toward the city services from which they benefit. Officials of the hospitals said the report greatly underestimated their contributions to the city, especially in the provision of medical services to the needy. As urban and state economies struggle, calls like the one in Boston are likely to escalate inversely.
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