Quick Takes: Columbia Expansion Approved, New Suit by Christian Group, Haverford and Tufts End Loans, Michigan Raids SUNY, Tensions at St. Cloud State, Profs on Drugs, Toronto Kills Its 'Animal House'
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on December 20, 2007 - 4:00am
New York City's City Council on Wednesday approved zoning changes that clear the way for Columbia University to build a new, 17-acre, $7 billion campus a few blocks north of the current campus, The New York Times reported. Columbia officials have said that the new campus is vital to the university, which needs large spaces for the new kinds of academic facilities, especially in the sciences, that are necessary today for cutting-edge research. But the land-use negotiations have been delicate, given Columbia's rocky relationship over the years with its neighbors.
The Alliance Defense Fund has announced a federal lawsuit against the University of Montana, arguing that its law school is improperly denying funds to the Christian Legal Society's student chapter. The society has been at the center of a series of court cases over whether public universities, frequently citing their non-discrimination policies, can deny recognition or support to student groups whose religious principles require such discrimination. Courts have split on the question. David Aronofsky, general counsel for the university, said that he believed that the law was still unsettled on these questions, and that the law school's decision was different from others that have resulted in suits. Aronofsky said that the Christian group was denied funds, but not any other rights associated with being a student group. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which includes Montana, is currently considering an appeal of a decision that upheld the right of the University of California's Hastings College of Law to deny recognition to a branch of the Christian Legal Society.
Haverford College announced Wednesday that it is moving to replace all loans in students' aid packages with grants. At the same time, the college is creating a new endowment fund and asking (but not requiring) students who benefit from the change to pledge gifts to assure that future generations of students have the same opportunity to avoid loans. Tufts University on Wednesday announced that it would replace loans with grants for students from families with incomes up to $40,000.
The University of Michigan's medical school has pulled off a major raid of research talent at the State University of New York's medical center in Syracuse. The Detroit Free Press reported that a research team of more than 25 scientists and physicians, experts in cardiac arrhythmia, will be moving as a team from SUNY to Michigan.
A series of racial incidents -- including swastikas being drawn repeatedly and minority individuals reporting being spat upon or receiving the Nazi salute -- have unsettled many students at St. Cloud State University, in Minnesota, the Associated Press reported.
"Professor's Little Helper," a commentary in Nature by two professors at the University of Cambridge, explores a number of ethical issues raised by new research on mind-enhancing drugs. Among the questions posed: How would the people react if they knew that professors (the authors of the commentary say they know some) use these drugs?
While legend has it that a Dartmouth College fraternity was the inspiration for "Animal House," it turns out that Canadians believe a house at the University of Toronto has that distinction -- and that house is being "neutered," The Toronto Star reported. A senior administrator at Toronto told the Star that Gate House was losing its all-male status. The university appears to hope that the addition of women might prevent what one official called "gross insensitivity" by residents. Among recent offenses: building a large snow penis outside the hall, and leaving a cooked pig's head in a women's bathroom.