Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 4:20am

Richard Blanco will today be named as the poet for President Obama's second inaugural, The New York Times reported. Blanco's website features numerous articles about him and his poetry. The University of Pittsburgh Press and the University of Arizona Press have published collections of his work. He has held teaching positions at Central Connecticut State, Florida International and Georgetown Universities and at Miami Dade College.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 4:22am

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Colorado Christian University challenging the new federal health-care law, the Associated Press reported. Government lawyers have been arguing that because of new regulations for religious employers, which gave those employers more time to comply with the law, it is premature for the law to be challenged on the claim that it violates the rights of those employers.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 3:00am

When Humboldt State University announced the creation of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (to focus on marijuana policy analysis), Jimmy Kimmel couldn't resist making fun of the university (see video below). He predicted that the university's pot expertise would soon make it "harder to get into than Yale," and even produced a satirical ad for Humboldt State.

Now the university has invited Kimmel to be its graduation speaker. A joint letter by Rollin C. Richmond, Humboldt State's president, and Ellyn Henderson, its student government president, has invited Kimmel to be the graduation speaker. The letter notes the university's recent scholarly accomplishments (having nothing to do with pot) and its beautiful northern California location -- while also applying some guilt. "[W]e figure you owe us," they wrote. "Humboldt State provided you with just over three minutes of pretty good material, which must be worth quite a bit for a nationally televised program (though we are surprised you were unable to stretch the bit to 4 minutes 20 seconds)." Further, while stressing that they enjoyed the humor, the presidents wrote that "we also felt you shortchanged Humboldt State University, portraying all of our students as pot-obsessed slackers."

No word on whether Kimmel will appear.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 3:00am

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a lawsuit challenging (without success) the right of the federal government to finance research involving embryonic stem cells. The Association of American Medical Colleges was among the science and research groups praising the Supreme Court for letting the research continue. "This is good news for patients," said a statement from the medical school group. "Research using hESCs [human embryonic stem cells] conducted under rigorous ethical standards continues to offer great promise in the search for cures and treatments for a variety of intractable diseases. With the legislative, regulatory, and legal barriers cleared, we hope the promise of hESC research can now be realized."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 4:21am

James Tracy, a communication professor at Florida Atlantic University who writes about conspiracies is raising eyebrows by suggesting that the Newtown killings did not take place as reported, and that the Obama administration and others may be shaping the way the massacre has been portrayed in the press, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The newspaper reported that in one blog post, he wrote, "While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described." The university has distanced itself from Tracy, telling the Sun-Sentinel that "James Tracy does not speak for the university. The website on which his post appeared is not affiliated with FAU in any way."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 4:23am

Gallaudet University has reinstated Angela McCaskill, the institution's chief diversity officer, who was suspended for signing a petition against the recognition of gay marriage by Maryland, the Associated Press reported. The university announced the reinstatement, but did not elaborate or respond to requests for comment. Some advocates for gay rights applauded the suspension, saying that universities cannot promote equity for gay students and employees while having their diversity efforts led by people who believe that gay people should be denied rights available to straight people. But critics said that the university was inappropriately punishing McCaskill for expressing political views.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 4:24am

In a major victory for California public higher education, voters in November approved a plan by Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, to raise some taxes for seven years. Brown and others campaigned for the tax increase by saying that it would allow the public universities to avoid tuition increases. Republicans have now responded by proposing legislation that would freeze tuition for seven years, the duration of the tax increases, The Los Angeles Times reported. While unlikely to pass, the proposal is seen as a way to shape the debate over spending priorities in the state, the newspaper said.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 3:00am

ITT Educational Services, a for-profit college chain specializing in technical programs, last week announced that it had agreed to a $46 million settlement payment to Sallie Mae, according to a corporate filing. The settlement was related to a lawsuit filed by the lending giant, Reuters reported, which argued that ITT had breached a shared loan risk agreement. The company did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 4:26am

Catholic University of America will today announce the creation of a new School of Business and Economics that will aim to infuse the university's religious values into the business curriculum, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Roman Catholic ideas of natural law will play a key role in the undergraduate ethics course, the introductory business course will focus on the social impact of commerce, and the accounting will focus on the ethics involved. "Business is supposed to be a service to society," said Andrew Abela, chair of the business and economics program, which is being elevated to a school.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Florin Dolcos of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains the importance of the handshake in making a good first impression. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.



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