News in brief

January 12, 2001

Decades of court-ordered desegregation and racial quotas at Tennessee's public colleges and universities are set to end after the settlement of a 32-year legal action. Quotas will end within five years and the state will be required to invest up to $75 million (Pounds 50 million) over the next ten years in scholarships for white students to attend the mainly black Tennessee State University and for black students to enrol at predominantly white universities. Under a 1984 judgment, Tennessee State was required to increase its white enrolment to 50 per cent - about 16 per cent of its students are white.

Italy's National Research Council has advertised for 22 "super-managers" to run research institutes throughout the country. The council has been attacked for spending nearly all its budget on salaries of thousands of employees, many of whom allegedly produced very little.

The University of South Africa has launched distance-learning degree programmes in Kenya that will offer degrees at reasonable costs. The distance-learning university hopes to enrol between 500 and 700 students on courses with "very competitive fees" by the end of 2001.

A member of Italy's Accademia dei Lincei, Giuliano Bonfante, has reproached Umberto Eco for making an elementary error in a verb in his latest novel, Baudolino . Eco, professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, wrote convenirono instead of convennero for the third person plural past tense of the verb convenire .

Norway has created a permanent visiting lectureship in Norwegian language and literature at the Norwegian-Pomor University Centre, a collaboration between the Pomor State University, Archangel, Russia, and the University of Tromsø, Norway, established in 1993. Norway already has permanent visiting lectureships in Norwegian at universities in Moscow and St Petersburg.

La Paz
Leftwing MPs from two major parties in Bolivia's coalition government have launched legal action against president Hugo Banzer Suárez and vice-president Jorge Quiroga Ramírez following their decision to allow the creation of a public university on terms that radically reinterpret constitutional guarantees of autonomy. The MPs claim that the Universidad Pública y Autonoma de El Alto, which is due to open next month, is not autonomous and breaches the Bolivian state constitution and the principles of university autonomy.


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