Beavers on Probation

Philosophical ruminations.
July 27 1999 3:30 AM

Beavers on Probation

News from academe.

(Continued from Page 1)

School's Out, Forever?

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Despite achieving their primary goals, Mexican students are still on strike. Nearly three months ago, when the administration at the National Autonomous University of Mexico proposed a raise in student tuition from 2 cents to about $150 a year, students closed down the classes with a strike, affecting 267,000 students and 30,000 professors. So why are students still occupying the campus's major buildings? The Washington Post reports that the students have escalated their demands to include the rollback of half a dozen changes the university has imposed in recent years, including limits on the number of years students have to earn degrees and tougher enrollment standards. With negotiations at a stalemate and summer vacations removing the motivation for an immediate solution, both sides appear to be settling in.

Cybercheating

The Scotsman reports that Edinburgh University is withholding exam results from 90 computer science students while the administration determines whether or not they used the Internet to cheat. Graders became suspicious that students were sharing answers via e-mail and using the World Wide Web to search for information when they noticed similarities in the students' work--some to the point of being identical. Although the incident has raised questions about whether electronic cheating is commonplace, a spokesman for the university asserts that "there is no evidence this is a more serious and widespread problem."

Mau Mauing Goes to College

Following a bloody assault by students at Nigeria's Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, last month, students are calling for the dismissal of a top administrator, who they hold responsible for lax campus security. According to the Associated Press, the attackers belong to a campus secret society that functions like a gang, retaliating against students and teachers who oppose them. The melee left at least seven students dead and incensed fears that cult-related violence is rising on Nigeria's university campuses. The student union president has promised a continued boycott of classes until campus security is improved and the vice chancellor dismissed. The societies, which have been blamed for dozens of rapes, murders, assaults, and arson attacks over the years, are widely considered to be the most serious problem facing Africa's largest university system.

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Packing Heat

According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, as many as 400,000 undergraduates in the United States own a handgun. The study also shows that student handgun owners fit the profile of the average American gun owner: white men who live in the South and West or in rural areas. The Chronicle of HigherEducation also reports from the study that it points to a "worrisome association" between gun possession and student drinking. Henry Weschler, one of the report's authors, warns, however, against overreacting to the study: "We're not pointing to hordes of drunken college students running across campus armed," he said. "I don't want to give that impression."

Chinese Threat

Top U.S. schools and laboratories are worried that repercussions from the alleged theft of nuclear secrets will hamper the recruitment of talented Asian and Asian-American researchers, says the Wall Street Journal. Since the charges in May that China gathered a rich harvest of nuclear secrets from ethnic Chinese lab workers, the U.S. government has slowed the visa approval process, making academic exchanges with China more difficult. In addition, low morale is evident among Asian and Asian-American scientists, since suspicions abound in the workplace. Dahwey Chu, a spokesman for the Asian-American personnel at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, commented, "Today it would take a brave lab administrator to hire someone with a Chinese name."

Scientists Who Thawed Their Work Destroyed

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