Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 6, 2009

The U.S. Education Department on Friday awarded $150 million in grants to help 27 states develop or upgrade longitudinal student data systems to track academic progress. While most of the grants, which range from $2.5 million to $9 million, are focused on data systems for elementary and secondary schools, many of them are aimed at helping to integrate the systems with postsecondary education systems or to allow data from the systems to be shared with college officials.

April 6, 2009

The University of California at San Francisco has told medical faculty members that they cannot spend more than $75 in university money on a bottle of wine at a recruitment dinner or other official event, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. A by-the-glass limit of $15 was also set. A spokesman said that most professors understand the need to limit such spending, but that there have been periodic incidents that prompted the new rules. He noted one recently rejected expense voucher for a dinner for six people where half the bill was for wine.

April 6, 2009

For the fifth time in nine years, the University of Maryland Baltimore County won the national college chess championship Sunday, the Baltimore Sun reported.

April 3, 2009

Ralph Slaughter has sued the Southern University Board of Supervisors, challenging its decision not to renew his contract as president when it expires at the end of June. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Slaughter argues that board members were illegally polled in private, before the public vote on his future. As a result, Slaughter is seeking an injunction to void the vote to end his presidency. The suit also contends that some board members had orders from Gov. Bobby Jindal to remove him. The university board's lawyer denied wrongdoing and a spokesman for the governor said that the claim about Jindal's role is "absolutely not" true.

April 3, 2009

A former Harvard Medical School professor falsified data in a study of sleep patterns and has agreed not to participate in Public Health Service activities for three years, the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday. The announcement, which was published in the Federal Register, said that Robert B. Fogel, a former assistant professor of medicine at Harvard and former co-director of the Fellowship in Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, fabricated data in a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that contributed to a paper on sleep apnea and obesity. The research integrity office said that Fogel had entered into an agreement to exclude himself for three years from serving in any advisory capacity to the health service and to ensure that any institution that submits a research proposal that includes him must submit a plan to supervise his work.

April 3, 2009

The University of Puget Sound announced that in May it will award honorary bachelor of arts degrees to 39 former students who were among the Japanese Americans sent to internment camps in 1942. University officials believe that only a handful of the former students are still alive, but Puget Sound is trying to reach family members of the deceased, so that the degrees can be presented to someone in person. “Each loyal student removed from campus at that time represented a life and an education suddenly interrupted,” said Ronald R. Thomas, president of the university, in a statement. “By granting these degrees now, we complete a circle, welcoming these individuals into the ranks of alumni and returning them to full inclusion in the Puget Sound community.”

April 3, 2009

The Calder Foundation and the University of Virginia have announced a policy change in response to an unusual protest about a scuplture. When the university installed "Tripes," a masterpiece by Alexander Calder, on the campus, a sign was posting barring photographs of the work, which is on loan from the foundation. Students took to Facebook, suggesting that the policy be protested by having as many people as possible shoot photos of the work -- and students responded, as seen in this photograph from The Cavalier Daily. The university responded with a clarification: While the Calder Foundation bars photography of the sculpture for commercial purposes, students are free to take as many pictures as they would like for their own personal use.

April 3, 2009

A Vancouver accountant has won a victory for all of those who have clashed with the all-powerful campus parking police. Ruling in a class action, a provincial court has found that the University of British Columbia never had the power to issue parking tickets, The Vancouver Province reported. While the university has the right to remove cars that are illegally parked, the court ruled that the university could only charge for costs, not impose additional fines. As a result, the university has been ordered to repay million of dollars of fines it has collected. The case was started by an accountant who was fined and had his Jaguar impounded. Court records in the case suggest that many of those who park at the university weren't waiting for a court ruling: From 1990 through 2005, 432,847 traffic tickets were issued and more than half were never paid.

April 3, 2009

The headlines this week about Ohio State University's $110 million, 10-year contract for media rights to most of its sports program drew attention to an emergent area of big bucks in high-profile college athletics -- terrain that USA Today explored more fully Thursday in a report pegged to this weekend's biggest of all college sports events, the Final Four. The USA Today article, part of a package of stories about commercialism in collegiate sports, explores the relatively sudden explosion onto the college sports scene of IMG, which is providing the money behind the Ohio State deal. The marketing company is best known for representing individual pro athletes in sports such as golf and tennis, but in the last two years it has gobbled up other companies with major stakes in college sports marketing and media matters and is now competing with players such as Nike for visibility and power. And that power concerns some sports officials because of the company's plans to both market colleges' programs and continue to represent individual athletes who might come out of those programs, among other issues.

April 2, 2009

Paul Zingg, president of California State University at Chico, was assaulted in his office on Wednesday. The Chico Enterprise Record reported that authorities detained a man who arrived in the office asking to "speak with the person in charge" and who then struck Zingg in the face and started assaulting him in a conference area in his office. Zingg suffered only minor injuries and was back at work later in the day. Authorities arrested Abe Baxter Stutts Jr. for the assault and could not determine a motive. Stutts is neither a student nor an employee of the university.

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