Opinion: Clarion Call

Call. 28: “2 out of 3 — .00 B.A.C.” / NSF Grant Money Wasted, Report Finds

Despite increased security, crime continues to be a problem for area college campuses and is unlikely to improve.
The most recent instance of campus crime involves the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Back to back attempted assaults by a knife-wielding attacker last Tuesday night and early Sunday morning prompted calls by UNC-CH officials to step up campus security and student awareness of campus crime.
The assaults follow a series of crimes on Triangle campuses in the past few years. In Nov. 1998, Neil Davis, an N.C. State University student was shot and killed in his off campus apartment by a group of student athletes. In January 1999, another N.C. State Student was shot by a robber on Hillsborough St. At UNC-Charlotte, six sexual assaults and one attempted sexual assault occurred in 1998.
But crime rates on colleges campuses have not dropped significantly in the past few years and the number of crimes go significantly unndereported, as a investigative report performed in April by Clarion, the magazine of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, shows.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Student-Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, requiring all institutions of higher education that receive federal education funds to report campus crimes and provide this information to students and staff. According to the law, a report must include statistics for eight campus crime categories (murder, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, manslaughter and arson) for the three most recent calendar years, three arrest categories (liquor-law vilations, drug-abuse violations, and weapons possessions) for the most recent year and security policy statements.
Despite the federal laws, Clarion was unable to access the 1997 and 1996 statistics for crime for almost all public universities in North Carolina.

NSF Grant Money Wasted, Report Finds

Half of the money distributed in grants by the National Science Foundation is wasted, according to an Aug. 8 report in the Washington Times. Among the most questionable projects: a $300,000 grant to a University of Nevada biochemist to study the mating habits of houseflies; $228,000 (also to UN) to study the regulation of pheromone production in a species of pine bark beetles; $260,000 to Cornell University to study egocentrism — how people think they are viewed by others, $1 million to Morehouse College in Atlanta aimed at encouraging black undergraduates to go into doctoral programs in social science and public policy.
NSF provides about 25 percent of all federal suport to academic institutions for basic research. The foundation is requesting close to $4 billion for fiscal year 2000, which presents a 6 percent increase over current funding.