IU announces new path to tuition relief
Indiana University officials unveiled their latest response to a growing tuition backlash: A tuition freeze for upperclassmen on track to graduate on time.
President Michael McRobbie announced the plan during his State of the University address this week.
Beginning in the next academic year, the university will freeze tuition for any junior or senior in good academic standing and preparing to graduate in four years.
The proposal is the second major initiative IU has rolled out in recent years to help reduce the cost of college. The university cut the cost of summer school by 25 percent this year, increasing enrollment and resulting in student savings of almost $12 million.
The plan is a welcome tool in efforts to contain student debt, but it shouldnt exclude efforts to reduce costs. IU officials admit that tuition could increase before the conditional freeze goes into effect next year.
Chicago’s gun habit Indiana-fed
A citywide sting operation in Chicago late this summer yielded 125 guns. When the Chicago Police Department traced the path the weapons traveled from store to street, they found almost a third came from Indiana.
Ninety-three of the weapons recovered had legible serial numbers, allowing for a search of U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives records. Criminals often deface serial numbers on weapons to throw off investigators.
Of the 54 guns that could be traced, 30 percent came from Indiana, primarily the northwest area of the state. Illinois guns accounted for 26 percent, and 6 percent were from Kentucky. The investigation reinforced findings of an earlier University of Chicago Crime Lab study that showed most guns recovered from crimes in Chicago come from stores in Indiana and Illinois. The sting operation revealed several of the guns were confiscated fewer than 1,000 days after their first sale – what authorities call short time-to-crime guns.
Pot in the polling place
Voters in three states will decide next month whether to legalize marijuana sales for recreational use. If approved, the laws in Colorado, Washington and Oregon would conflict with federal law prohibiting the production, possession and sale of marijuana.
U.S. Justice Department officials havent signaled how they will respond, but nine former administrators from the Drug Enforcement Administration have urged Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to publicly oppose the ballot initiatives.
Authorities say Colorados Amendment 64 is the most likely to pass. It would allow retail stores to sell marijuana and tax and regulate the product like tobacco and alcohol. More than 300 Colorado physicians have endorsed the legalization campaign.
The initiatives are another sign of a growing reluctance to criminalize marijuana use. Seventeen states, including the three with ballot initiatives, have now passed laws authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes.
Look for the push to continue as state lawmakers consider the strain on law enforcement and prison costs and also eye a new source of sin taxes.
US sounds alarm bells on cyber attack
Whether the U.S. should have been prepared for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor or the 2001 terrorist assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has been the subject of much debate. Make no mistake if the nations computers are targeted in a future cyber attack – the warning has been issued.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking at a New York museum, said Thursday the U.S. is too vulnerable to a cyber Pearl Harbor by foreign computer hackers, possibly in China, Russia or Iran.
With the right knowledge, terrorists could shut down the power grid, poison water supplies or derail trains, Panetta warned.
Yes, his speech was at least in part a political tactic.
The Obama administration wants Congress to adopt standards for critical private facilities such as water and power plants. But the threat is real – large U.S. financial institutions have been hit by foreign hackers, and an attack against the oil firm Saudi Aramco shut down 30,000 computers.
Plus, national defense and intelligence officials arent exactly ignorant about cyber warfare – they have launched their own attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities.