Campus Watch

Barring Islam?

THE NEWS & OBSERVER, Aug. 8 — The North Carolina House Appropriations Committee voted to add to the state budget a measure barring University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill from using public funds for its plan to require freshmen and new students to read a book on the Koran.

Alternatively, new students may decline to read the book — a sympathetic portrait of the Islamic scriptures — and write essays explaining their decision.

Contending their First Amendment rights to religious freedom are being violated, three students have also filed a lawsuit in federal court against the university.


THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, Aug. 16 — The weekly trade journal reported the school of business and economics of the Jesuits' Seattle University has received a bequest of $7.5 million from the estate of Genevieve Albers.

The Chronicle also reported the capital campaign of Cleveland's John Carroll University, also administered by the Jesuits, has received a gift of $450,000 from Barbara and John Schubert.

Party Poopers

THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Aug. 13 — The association is urging Princeton Review Inc. to remove a ranking of the top “party schools” from its annual Best Colleges guide.

Calling the infamous list unscientific and misleading, the AMA said the party-school rankings harm students and colleges by “legitimizing high-risk drinking.”

Princeton Review, a test-preparation and college-admissions service, bases the Best Colleges guide on surveys that ask students to rank the top 20 colleges in numerous categories, including “Party Schools,” “Lots of Beer” and “Lots of Hard Liquor.”

Bonds Upgraded

MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE, Aug. 2 — The credit rating agency upgraded $48.6 million in new bonds issued by Minnesota's College of St. Catherine to Baa1 from Baa2.

Reasons cited for the action include an increase of nearly 50% since 1998 in freshman applications, a fund-raising campaign that has drawn $51 million and the college's “solid market niche” as the nation's largest Catholic women's college. The school is administered by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Ground Zero Campus

CATHOLIC NEW YORK, August — The Ursuline Sisters' College of New Rochelle has returned to its original location in Lower Manhattan, reported the New York archdiocesan newspaper.

The campus, situated in the District Council 37 headquarters just blocks from the former World Trade Center, was shut down after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The campus is exclusively used for union members.

Tough Market

THE NEW YORK SUN, Aug. 7 — As part of a trend piece on how many private universities have lost enormous value in their investment portfolios during the current bear market, the New York daily reported the return for the Fordham University endowment fund for the year ending June 30 was minus 9.1%.

And, said Conrad Obregon, the director of treasury operations at the Jesuits' New York university, the situation has only gotten worse. “We had about $250 million,” he said, “and the last time I looked we were down to about $210 or $211 million.”