Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

October 5, 2009

Authorities have arrested three students at the University of California at Los Angeles, and four others, in charges related to a fight at an off-campus fraternity party, the Los Angeles Times reported. Two of the students are charged with attempted murder, and the third is charged as an accessory. While arrests related to fraternity parties are not rare, arrests of students for attempted murder are. While details of the fight have not been released, authorities said that all of those arrested were "uninvited guests." One student was stabbed in the abdomen at the party and required surgery. Another student was stabbed in the arm and didn't require hospitalization. A third student was hit on his head with a bottle.

October 5, 2009

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak were named winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this morning for the discovery of "how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase." Blackburn and Greider are the 9th and 10th women to win Nobels in medicine. Blackburn is a professor of biology and physiology at the University of California at San Francisco and information about her lab may be found here. Greider is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and information about her lab may be found here. Szostak is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Information about his lab may be found here.

October 5, 2009

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has removed from a key position a cleric who recently criticized a new university for enrolling both male and female students, AFP reported. The cleric had called the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology's policy "evil." No reason was given the for the king's removal of the cleric, Sheikh Sa'ad al-Shethry, from the council that sets religious policy for the country.

October 5, 2009

Morehouse College has fired a woman and reprimanded another employee over remarks they made in an e-mail mocking a gay wedding, and forwarding the e-mail to others from their Morehouse accounts, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Robert M. Franklin, Morehouse's president, has said several times that he believes the college must promote respect for gay people. In a statement, he said that the views in the e-mail "were the personal views of one individual and do not reflect the values or policies of Morehouse College.... The college has taken great strides toward building a diverse and tolerant community.”

October 5, 2009

The fallout continues to grow in the basketball scandal at the State University of New York at Binghamton. On Friday, Nancy L. Zimpher, chancellor of the SUNY system, announced that the system -- and not the Binghamton campus, as previously suggested -- would oversee an audit of the basketball program. Also on Friday, Sally Dear was informed that she would continue to have work as an adjunct (although in a new department), reversing a recent notification that she would no longer have such work, The New York Times reported. Dear said that she believed her dismissal last month -- after teaching at Binghamton for 11 years -- was related to her willingness to speak out in the Times about the difficulty of teaching some athletes and pressure from the athletics department over grading.

October 5, 2009

Stanley O. Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois system and of the American Council on Education, was named Saturday as interim president at the University of Illinois, which is recovering from an admissions scandal that led to the resignation of B. Joseph White, who will leave the presidency at the end of the year. In a statement, Ikenberry said: "My top priorities will be to support the board in its search for an outstanding president and to work with faculty and academic leaders on all three campuses as we move forward to address a very challenging agenda. We have abundant energy and many friends and we’ll need both.”

October 5, 2009

The University of Wisconsin's medical school, like many medical schools, has been examining conflict of interest rules in the wake of reports about medical researchers' possible conflicts of interest from large speaking or consulting fees they receive from companies whose products they study, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The medical school is now divided over a draft ethics rule that originally barred such payments, but has since been amended to allow payments from medical device manufacturers. Some professors are upset that the medical professors who would be sought by such companies would have a loophole, and others are upset that those who would work with drug companies don't have their own loophole, the newspaper reported.

October 5, 2009

Education Management Corporation's initial public offering was priced at the low end of its proposed range Friday, but gained during trading after launch, the Associated Press reported. Education Management is the third education IPO since November, following those of Grand Canyon Education, Inc. and Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Education Management's holdings include the Art Institutes and Argosy University.

October 2, 2009

Washington University in St. Louis has apologized to Saint Louis University for incorrectly suggesting that the latter university played a role in a fellowship that trains physicians to perform abortions, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Because Saint Louis University is a Roman Catholic institution, it would have been unusual for it to have been involved in the fellowship. Saint Louis University officials said that they have no idea how their institution was included in a fellowship Web site maintained by Washington University. That university declined to answer questions about how the error was made.

October 2, 2009

The University of Florida's disaster preparedness Web site contains information on dealing with hurricanes, pandemics and ... zombies. The Associated Press reported that a university employee added the zombie response plan to "add a bit of levity" to the Web site. The guide for dealing with a zombie attack ncludes a helpful list of signs that zombie attacks may be increasing. You should watch, for example, for "increasing numbers of gruesome unexplained deaths and disappearances, especially at night" and listen for "lots of strange moaning." The guide includes an "Infected Co-Worker Dispatch Form" for Florida employees to let superiors know when a colleague exhibits signs of zombie behavior, with a checklist of such behaviors, including "references to wanting to eat brains," "recently dead but moving again," "lack of rational thought (this can cause problems confusing zombies with managers)" and "killed and ate another employee." A footnote in the plan suggests the importance of maintaining sensitivity in a time of zombie attack: "While many people refer to 'undead,' practitioners in the field of Zombie Studies and zombie advocates such as PETZ: People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies, and supporters of Florida Zombie Preserve, Inc. insist that the term 'undead' clearly connotes deficiency; specifically the absence of both life and death. Hence, we suggest here the term 'life impaired' to recognize the difficulties imposed on a former person by zombie behavior spectrum disorder (ZBSD) but without suggesting the former person is somehow 'deficient' as a result of the infection."

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