Quick Takes: Anthropologists Protest Laptop Searches, Purchasers of Bogus Degrees Named, No Charges in Central Mich. Noose Case, Wealth Gaps, Israeli Academics Protest Limits on Palestinian Students, Canadian Advantage, International Partnerships
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on July 30, 2008 - 4:00am
Civil liberties groups and some lawmakers have been expressing concern over reports that U.S. customs officials have been inspecting the laptops -- including reviews of material stored on them -- of people entering the United States. On Tuesday, the American Anthropological Association released a letter it has sent to the Department of Homeland Security, formally protesting this practice, and saying that it raises particular issues for anthropologists, who may have confidential material on their laptops. "Current practices have grave implications for anthropologists, social scientists and their research participants, as informants allow researchers into their lives precisely because they believe they have the ability to protect them and obscure their identities," the letter said. "The ability of scholars to honor their commitments to these individuals and communities could be compromised if a search were to take place."
The Spokane Spokesman-Review has obtained a list of thousands of people who purchased degrees from a diploma mill, and the newspaper has published the names -- many of them with links to the military, government and educational institutions.
Prosecutors have decided not to bring charges against the student who put up four nooses in a classroom at Central Michigan University last year, The Saginaw News reported. Authorities -- based on the student's comments and a review of his computer use -- determined that his actions were not racially motivated.
A new report from the Center for American Progress argues that those concerned about racial inequities in American society should focus more on wealth and not just on income, given the lingering black-white wealth gaps. Such analysis, the report says, is needed because "in an era where college and professional degrees have become more important to achieving middle-class status, wealth may be more important than ever. Parents use their wealth to finance their children’s education, which ultimately contributes to securing their offspring’s economic well-being."
Israel's Council of University Presidents has called on the country's military leaders to stop limiting the ability of Palestinian students to enroll in Israeli universities, Ynetnews reported. The presidents said that such interference violates the universities' academic freedom, violates the students' rights and encourages such anti-Israel moves as the boycott proposed by some British professors.
Canada has eased its visa rules to allow anyone studying for a postsecondary degree to be able to stay in the country for three years after graduation to look for a job, The Financial Times reported. Because most foreign students in the United States must return home after graduation, and many foreign students want the option of working in the country where they are educated, the Canadian move is seen as giving its universities an advantage over competitors in the United States.