By Sharla Grass, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, July 24, 2012
In an open letter to Congress on Friday, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women urged lawmakers to pass legislation to increase protection for women from sexual assault, rape and other forms of campus violence, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The letter recomended a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which has been authorized by both the House of Representatives and the Senate but is stalled because they have been unable to compromise on competing versions of the bill. The House version excludes protections for minority victims, and the Senate version advocates stricter enforcement guidelines. Proponents of the act hope that legislation will be expanded to protect minority victims and will add domestic violence and stalking to the crimes that must be reported under the Clery Act. Over 200 campus violence victims from 176 colleges signed the letter, according to The Chronicle.
The NCAA has fined Pennsylvania State University $60 million and issued a four-year ban on its football program’s postseason activity in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, The New York Times reported. The football program will also lose 40 scholarships over the next four years and must vacate its victories from 1998 to 2011, thereby nullifying former head coach Joe Paterno’s status as the leading football coach in career wins, according to The Times. The fine will be used to fund programs that aim to prevent sexual assault and help abuse victims. The NCAA announced these punishments in response to the “culture, action and inaction” at Penn State, after a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh revealed that university officials attempted, over a decade, to cover up incidents of sexual assault. As a result of the sanctions, some experts expect the university’s football players to transfer to other schools. Penn State’s new football coach, Bill O’Brien, said he will attempt to “guide the university forward to become a national leader in ethics, compliance and operational excellence” despite these challenges, the Times reported.
Scientists at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology have combined cells from a rat’s heart and silicone rubber to grow an artificial jellyfish, which they named “Medusoid,” ABC News reported. The researchers engineered the artificial creature out of a round frame with eight appendages and used electric charges to stimulate the pulsing movement of the jellyfish in water. Similar technology may be used in the future to create pacemakers or heart valves for human patients out of their own cells, one of the bioengineers involved said in an interview with ABC News. Artificial organs, unlike plastic implants, would not be rejected by patients’ bodies, according to ABC News.