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Today in academia: the "ech" prank that cost $100K, the huge college discount worth $20K and the inner workings of a Scientology boarding school.

  • Georgia Tech pranksters are getting a bit too enthusiastic. So, people at the school have been stealing the 'T' in 'Tech' from signs on campus for decades, a Fox Affiliate in Atlanta informs us. But this year the pranksters had a field day: "the missing letter from signs all over the campus has cost Georgia Tech more than $100,000 in repairs." And now nearly every 'T' on campus has been ripped from buildings or just miscellaneous signs. Everyone seems tired with the tradition. Naturally, a student government sponsored Facebook group called "Keep the T in Tech" has sprung up. [My Fox Atlanta via Associated Press]
  • What's it like to go to an elite Scientology-affiliated boarding school? Short version: it's like Exeter or Andover except with all those odd-seeming cult of Scientology traditions lingering around. And it probably has a higher than normal rate of alumni who join "Sea Org, a Church of Scientology religious order that has been described by insiders as something approximating human slavery." There's that too. Over the past couple days the iPad only newspaper, The Daily, took an extended look at the school, Delphian, and managed to get administrators, students and alumni to talk. Said one graduate: "I came out of that place barely speaking English. I’d be at home, and I felt so different from everyone in the wog world." It appears "wog" is the term for the outside world. [The Daily - Part I, Part II]
  • Seton Hall University giving a 'blanket discount' of two-thirds off tuition for good students. After reading through The New York Times's report on the offer, it seems like a win-win: the school may better itself by attracting more top talent looking for relatively cheaper college option, and good students get a $21,000 discount on tuition. Most of what you have to do is apply early and meet a certain class rank and SAT threshold. The Times can't find any other schools doing the same thing. "National experts on admissions and financial aid said they knew of no other college providing such a blanket discount for top-flight students."  [The New York Times]
  • Vanderbilt got into a fight with Christian organizations. The University issued a nondiscrimination policy saying that "student organizations cannot require that leaders share the group’s beliefs, goals and values," reported Fox News, which--of course--adds this disclaimer: "Carried to its full extent, it means an atheist could lead a Christian group, a man a woman's group, a Jew a Muslim group or vice versa." It would be odd and unlikely for a Bible study group to pick an atheist leader, but nevertheless the people fighting the policy are acting like the policy ensures it. This is how the president of the College Republicans was quoted by The Tennessean: "Vanderbilt has launched an assault on religious groups on campus," [he said]...adding that the school is trying to distance itself from its past as a 'Southern, white, rich and religious' enclave." [Fox News, The Tennessean]

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