Quick Takes: Stem Cells and Open Access, Leave at Oral Roberts, Rockford's Recovery, New Leader for Educause, Scrutiny for Fla. For-Profits, NYIT Campus in China, Romney: Link Aid to Career, Presidential Facebook Apology
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on October 18, 2007 - 4:00am
U.S. Senate leaders on Wednesday stripped from a spending bill for health and education programs a provision that would have done an end run around President Bush's policy restricting federally supported research on embryonic stem cells, which had prompted a veto threat from the White House. The provision, adopted when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill in June, would have greatly expanded the number of stem cell "lines" that scientists could study using federal funds, through a bit of legislative sleight of hand. The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a Statement of Administration Policy Wednesday that called the language "a transparent attempt to reverse the clear policy the President has implemented on the ethical conduct of stem cell research," and promised a veto if the final bill included the provision. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who had co-sponsored the stem cell language with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), said the shift showed that Democrats were willing to compromise to work with the president. The White House statement cited other objections to the legislation, including its overall cost. It also expressed concern about a provision in the Senate legislation that would require all research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health to be placed online and made freely available within 12 months of publication. The White House statement, which publishers had sought, said the Bush administration believed that "any policy should balance the benefit of public access to taxpayer supported research against the possible impact that grant conditions could have on scientific research publishing, scientific peer review and on the United States' longstanding leadership in upholding strong standards of protection for intellectual property."
Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University, announced Wednesday that he is taking a leave of absence in the wake of accusations of misconduct by his administration and his wife -- accusations that Roberts, his wife, and his colleagues in the administration have denied. Among the charges -- some detailed in a lawsuit -- are spending of university money on personal items and an apparent relationship between the president's wife and an underage male. The Tulsa World quoted Roberts as saying that he would take a leave until "these matters can be resolved." He said that the charges -- especially what he called "untrue allegations of sexual misconduct by my wife" -- have "taken a serious toll on me and my family."
Rockford College, a small liberal arts institution in Illinois, appears to be off the endangered list. Early last year, the college was facing mounting debt, and some feared for its survival. The board opted not to fill a presidential vacancy on a permanent basis and instead to lure out of retirement Richard Kneedler, who had been an administrator for 30 years at Franklin & Marshall College, ending a 14-year term as president in 2002. Kneedler announced this week that he is stepping down as interim at Rockford next month. A search for a permanent president is ongoing. When audited results are released, Kneedler said that the college would report a small surplus for the last academic year -- the first following seven years of deficits. Short-term debts have been repaid, restructured or forgiven, and enrollment is up to 1,200 full time equivalent, about 100 more than a year ago.
Diana G. Oblinger has been named as the next president of Educause, the primary organization of information technology officials in higher education. Oblinger, an Educause vice president, has written extensively about the way technology changes teaching and learning, and about the way technology is changing traditional academic and economic models in higher education. Oblinger plans to discuss the new position in a briefing today.
Corinthian Colleges, Inc., said Wednesday that investigators from the U.S. Education Department's inspector general's office and other federal and state authorities had searched the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., campus of its National School of Technology seeking "a broad range of documents and records." Corinthian officials said they had not been told the reason for the search, which follows by a day a similar raid on two campuses of the Florida Career College, and a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office confirmed only that agency officials had visited the three campuses. The spokeswoman, Catherine Grant, declined to say whether the raids were connected.
New York Institute of Technology announced Wednesday that it has opened an American-style undergraduate campus in China. Classes at the campus, which is supported by the provincial government in Jiangsu and established jointly with Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, will be taught entirely in English, and students can earn degrees either just from NYIT or "parallel degrees" from both institutions.
Mitt Romney said Wednesday that as president he would favor tying financial aid for college students to the jobs they plan to pursue after graduation, the Associated Press reported. Romney, speaking at a campaign event in Iowa, did not provide details on which fields would warrant more financial support. But the Republican candidate said: "I like the idea of linking the level of support that we're able to provide to young people going to college to the contributions they're going to make to our society."
Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president of Maryland's Salisbury University, has apologized for vacation photographs and captions she posted on her Facebook profile that some say were rude or insensitive. In a statement, Dudley-Esbach said that she didn't realize how widely the images could be viewed and that she was sorry to anyone who was offended. The statement followed a report on WBOC 16 News that reported that the images -- since removed -- showed her pointing a stick at her daughter and a Latino man with the caption stating that the president had to "beat off the Mexicans because they were constantly flirting with my daughter."