Senator Dianne Feinstein announced Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she chairs, would investigate reports that the Bush administration sought to have intelligence officers gather information to discredit a University of Michigan professor, The New York Times reported. The professor, Juan Cole, is an expert on the Middle East with a wide following for his blog, Informed Comment, which was harshly critical of the Bush administration's policies. On his blog, Cole noted his frustration at being a target of the administration and also questioned the idea that the government would spend time tracking a person who shared his views all the time. "How inept do you have to be to enlist intelligence officials in monitoring bloggers? They put up their thoughts for everyone to see every day," he wrote.
Higher Education Quick Takes
We Are Ohio, a group supporting union rights for public employees, announced Friday that it has gathered 714,137 signatures -- more than three times the number necessary to place on the fall ballot a proposal to repeal a law that effectively barred unions for public college and university employees, and most other public employees. While such petition drives typically produce many signatures found to be invalid, the high number collected suggests that the item will be on the fall ballot. Many of Ohio's public colleges have unionized faculties and the American Association of University Professors has been particularly strong in the state, making the outcome especially important to the group.
The University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Friday approved a continuation of Salisbury University's policy -- first adopted five years ago as a pilot -- of letting students who graduate from high school with a 3.5 or higher grade point average opt out of submitting an SAT or ACT score. A study done by the university found that students who enrolled without submitting test scores outperformed those who submitted them in course completion and graduation rates, while the two groups were similar in grade-point averages at the university.
Donations to education increased by 5.2 percent in 2010 (3.5 percent when adjusted for inflation), according to "Giving USA," an annual report released today. The report notes that giving to elementary and secondary schools, and to colleges, rebounded in the late part of the year. The rate of growth for education exceeds that for all charitable giving for the year -- 3.8 percent (or 2.1 percent adjusted for inflation).
The College Board is today launching a new campaign to promote educational attainment and economic success of young minority males. The effort starts with the release of two reports -- one summarizing statistics and research, and the other featuring interviews with young minority males. A statistic that dramatizes the extent of the problem: Nearly half of young men of color age 15 to 24 who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead.
New research has found that about 40 percent of the students who drop out of four-year programs do so because their early grades give them an indication that their academic ability is not what they thought it was. The research -- by Todd Stinebrickner, an economics professor at the University of Western Ontario, and his father, Ralph Stinebrickner, a professor emeritus at Berea College -- was conducted on college students in the U.S. The findings are significant, they argue, in suggesting new approaches to reaching such students with better information -- both before and after they make college choices.
Advocates for Maryland's historically black colleges and representatives of the state have agreed to settlement discussions in a suit charging Maryland with bias against the colleges, The Baltimore Sun reported. The suit -- charging unfair treatment of the black colleges -- is five years old. Key issues in the settlement talks will be whether state funding formulas hurt black colleges, and the status of "duplicative" programs that the black colleges say the state should not have authorized at nearby predominantly white institutions.
Tihomir Petrov, a mathematics professor at California State University at Northridge, is facing two counts of urinating in a public place -- in this case on a colleague's office door. The Los Angeles Times reported that he's now a wanted man, after he failed to show up for a pre-trial hearing.