A group of gay intellectuals has launched the Independent Gay Forum, which declares itself independent of left-right politics. Its libertarian-minded associates include Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution, Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute, and the Cato Institute's David Boaz.
MIT has revoked for five years the diploma of 1998 graduate Charles Yoo for his role in the death of freshman Scott Krueger, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. As "pledge trainer" at the Phi Gamma Delta house, Yoo supplied beer and whiskey to Krueger and other pledging freshmen, instructing them in how to become a Phi Gamma Delta "brother." After Krueger drank the beer and whiskey, he consumed some spiced rum provided by another brother and fell into a coma, suffocating on his own vomit. A year after Krueger's death, a grand jury indicted the fraternity chapter as an organization for manslaughter and hazing. (The case was never tried because the fraternity chapter had disbanded by the time of arraignment; click here for a list of news items from MIT on the subject.) MIT's Committee on Discipline revoked Yoo's diploma after reviewing a dean's official investigation of Krueger's death. Although it isn't unusual for colleges to suspend degrees for cheating or plagiarizing, Yoo's punishment marks what may be the first time a degree has been revoked for a violation of student disciplinary code.
Information Wants To Be Free?
The academic community is protesting a new law that will require all recipients of federal research grants to make their research data public through the Freedom of Information Act. Researchers fret that corporate and political interests will use the FOIA powers to stifle research on controversial subjects by bombarding them with information requests. Confidentiality agreements will also suffer, they worry. The law would also require the disclosure of what has traditionally been confidential--from medical histories of research subjects to scientists' e-mail addresses and notebooks. The Clinton administration has proposed a regulatory fix that would limit the definition of what information researchers must make public, as well as the "reasonable fees" that federal agencies can charge for obtaining requested data. The budget office intends to publish its final regulations by Sept. 30.
The Doctor Is Out
The Massachusetts Medical Society has ousted Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer, editor of the society-owned New England Journal of Medicine, citing differences of opinion concerning "administrative and publishing issues." More specifically, reports the Boston Globe, Kassirer opposed "branding"--using the journal's prestige to sell other MMS-owned products and publications, such as journals HealthNews and Heart Watch, whose quality and accuracy editors at the Journal do not control. Additionally, over the past year the society has been striking deals, such as a partnership with barnesandnoble.com, and upgrading its online services--activities that strike Journal editors as too commercial. Executive Editor Marcia Angell assumed the interim editor position on the condition that the medical society not use the name "New England Journal" in the title of new society-run publications.
Last month, "Egghead" reported the student boycott at Obafemi Awolow University in Nigeria. The students' demand--that a top university administrator be fired for failing to confront issues of campus cult violence--has been embraced by the Nigerian government. Africa News reports that the government has ordered universities to eradicate the cults and established a commission to investigate cult activity and the inaction by universities. ... Mexico's National Autonomous University student strike is stretching into its fifth month. The protest over increased tuition--from 2 cents a year to about $150--has evolved into a fight for the future of the university. The administration has consented to a revocation of the tuition hike, reports National Public Radio, but now the students and many professors are insisting on a more active say in how the university is run. The strike may be losing steam, though: Students who want to return to school are holding demonstrations against the strikers.