Higher Education Quick Takes
Opposition leaders report that Syrian security forces raided dormitories at the Aleppo University Wednesday, killing four students, injuring others and arresting at least 50, the Associated Press reported.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer has agreed to pay $450 million to Brigham Young University to settle a lawsuit over the drug Celebrex, The Deseret News reported. Brigham Young and one of its professors have accused the company of unfairly using his work conducted at the university for the drug. The announcement of the settlement did not detail terms, but a footnote in a quarterly report issued by Pfizer references a $450 million expense related to the Brigham Young suit.
Authorities in China have arrested two education brokers and 18 students for trying to fraudulently win admission to Korean universities, The Korea Herald reported. The scheme is alleged to involve creating fake high school diplomas and other school records for the students, who do not meet standards for admission to Korean universities. Chinese authorities are expanding their investigation, expecting to find more such cases.
Brown University agreed Tuesday to pay the City of Providence $31.5 million over 11 years, according to The Wall Street Journal, ending a contentious standoff in which city officials threatened to revoke the university’s tax-exempt status if the institution would not help the city fill its budget deficit. Brown, along with four other colleges in the city, had an agreement in place since 2003 to pay the city $50 million over 20 years, but city officials hoped to rework the agreement as the city’s financial problems became clear.
The California State University System board will consider a policy next week that would freeze the pay of campus presidents, but allow foundations associated with the campuses to pay for raises, The Los Angeles Times reported. The system has been strongly criticized in recent months for increasing pay for some presidential hires amid new rounds of budget cuts and tuition increases. System officials said that the proposal would recognize the limits on state funds, while allowing the system to be competitive in executive pay. While similar arguments have carried the day in some other states, some system critics are not agreeing. State Sen. Leland Yee said that support for students should come before support for presidents. "This latest masquerade demonstrates that the Board of Trustees will raise the salaries of executives by any means necessary,” he said.
Authorities expect to make several charges -- some of them felonies -- today in the investigation into the hazing death last year of a student at Florida A&M University, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Several people will be charged. The student who died was in the university's marching band, famous for its performances and also blamed for years for hazing incidents. On Tuesday, three more members of a special committee formed by the university to study hazing issues resigned, the Sentinel reported. The university created a panel of national experts on the issue, but a majority of members have now quit, citing Florida's open meetings laws, which would have prevented them from meeting in private.
Jonathan Gueverra, chief executive officer of the University of the District of Columbia Community College since shortly after the college's creation three years ago, has been named president of Florida Keys Community College. The new community college in D.C. is the city's first two-year institution. There have been tensions over whether the college should be fully independent from the four-year UDC, The Washington Post reports.
St. John's College, the Annapolis institution with a curriculum built on the Great Books, has updated its fight song to better reflect its values, The Baltimore Sun reported. The song that has been used for a century featured typical references to fighting. The song didn't get much use lately because St. John's athletic teams are in sports -- crew, croquet, sailing and fencing -- not traditionally associated with marching bands and fight songs. But for this year's croquet match against the U.S. Naval Academy, the college used a new fight song, with books front and center. Some lyrics:
"True love of wisdom is sheltered in her halls.
Seekers of virtue will answer to her call.
Books and a balance are all the tools we need.
St. John's forever. She will make us free."
Brazil's Supreme Court has upheld the use of racial quotas by universities, AFP reported. The case before the Supreme Court concerned the University of Brasilia, which set quotas in 2004 that 20 percent of admissions slots would go to black, mixed-race or indigenous students. More than 70 percent of Brazil's 98 public universities have such quotas, so the case was considered likely to influence admissions practices nationally. The quotas were challenged by a right-wing party that argued that they were counter to principles of equity. But the Supreme Court ruled that the quotas were justified as a means to redress the impact of centuries of slavery in the nation.