All posts by Andrew Mytelka

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Jury Convicts 3rd Former Vanderbilt U. Athlete in 2013 Gang Rape

A Tennessee jury on Friday found a former football player at Vanderbilt University guilty of two of seven charges, including aggravated rape, in connection with the gang rape of an unconscious student in 2013, The Tennessean reports.

The former athlete, Brandon E. Banks, is the third teammate to be convicted in the case. He faces a possible 15-year prison sentence for the aggravated-rape charge. Two members of the team, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were sentenced to 17 years and 15 years, …

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New Mexico’s Public Colleges Breathe Easier, as Governor Signs Budget Bill

Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico signed into law on Friday a bill to provide state funds to public colleges and universities in the next fiscal year, nearly two months after her veto of a spending bill jeopardized such funding, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The veto, of nearly $745 million in support for higher education, appeared to cast New Mexico as the next fiscal battleground, after Illinois, in which a  deadlock between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature resulted…

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Trump Administration Is Expected to Propose 18% Cut in NIH Budget

The National Institutes of Health would see its budget slashed by 18 percent, from $31.8 billion to $26 billion, under a spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year that the Trump administration is expected to release on Tuesday. Details of the budget were under wraps, but The Washington Post noticed on Monday that the spending plan for the Department of Health and Human Services, of which the NIH is a part, had been posted online early. (The document was later taken down.)

The NIH, the largest sourc…

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Hoax Article in Social-Science Journal Gets a Rise Out of Some Scholars

A fresh attempt to poke fun at — and poke holes in — cultural-studies scholarship was revealed this week, with the disclosure that a recently published article in Cogent Social Sciences was a hoax. The article, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” was the work of two people — Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University, in Oregon, and James A. Lindsay, an independent scholar. They describe their exploit on the website of Skeptic magazine.

Like the…

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U. of Utah President to Step Down Amid Cancer-Institute Controversy

Updated (5/2/2017, 12:13 p.m.) with news of a memorandum central to the dispute.

David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah, said on Monday that he planned to step down, making him apparently the latest casualty of a controversy that erupted two weeks ago, when the head of the university’s Huntsman Cancer Institute was abruptly removed.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Mr. Pershing said he had planned to step down following the 2017-18 academic year, and to announce his intentions…

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry Attacks Texas A&M Election as ‘Stolen’

Rick Perry, the U.S. secretary of energy, took time out of his day job on Wednesday to assail the outcome of a recent student-government election at his alma mater, Texas A&M University at College Station.

Mr. Perry, who was the state’s Republican governor from 2000 to 2015, said that the election for student-government president, in which an openly gay candidate won for the first time, had been “stolen,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Mr. Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president in…

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Trump Will Propose Shutting Down National Arts and Humanities Endowments

President Trump plans to propose eliminating the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities in his budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which is scheduled to be released Thursday morning, The New York Times reports.

The Times report cited two unnamed officials with knowledge of a meeting on Wednesday at which Jane Chu, chairwoman of the arts endowment, disclosed the plan to her staff.

The news was not unexpected, as The Hill reported in January that Mr. Trump, who at the time had not yet ta…

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Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Second Effort at Travel Ban

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the White House’s second effort to impose a travel ban that colleges have said would damage their appeal to international students and scholars but that President Trump has defended as necessary to protect the nation from terrorism.

In a 43-page ruling, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the U.S. District Court in Honolulu granted a request to issue a temporary restraining order, effective nationally, to prevent the new travel-ban policy from being carried out.

The …

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Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance on Transgender Students

[Updated (2/22/2017, 11 p.m.) with additional details.]

The Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance late Wednesday on the rights of transgender students, to allow the Education and Justice Departments to “further and more completely consider” the controversial issue.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter, the departments said they were dropping the earlier guidance, which cited Title IX as the basis for requiring public-school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms that match t…

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Grad Student Finds Lost Novel by Walt Whitman That Hints at ‘Leaves of Grass’

A graduate student at the University of Houston has discovered a previously unknown novel by the young Walt Whitman, reports The New York Times.

The 36,000-word Life and Adventures of Jack Engle was published anonymously in a little-known New York newspaper, The Sunday Dispatch, in 1852, when the writer was in his early 30s and worked at various newspapers. That was three years before the poet first published Leaves of Grass, which scholars say the lost novel foreshadows in various ways.

Careful…