Friday, 22 July 94 Washington, DC
1. WILL SCHOOLS BARRING MILITARY RECRUITERS BE DENIED DOD FUNDS?
The Senate passed the Nickles amendment to the Defense Authorization
bill, cutting off all DOD funding to universities that deny
access to military recruiters. It passed easily on a voice vote.
Introduced by Sen. Don Nickles (D-OK), the wording is identical
to that of the Solomon amendment that was hung on the House bill,
so barring divine intervention, it seems certain to become law.
Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-NY) may have been using his amendment to
embarrass Governor Cuomo, who barred recruiters from the 29 SUNY
campuses because of DOD discrimination against homosexuals.
2. PORK: THE NICKLES AMENDMENT TO THE ENERGY APPROPRIATIONS BILL.
In last week's hearing on the Defense Appropriations Bill, it was
Senator Nickles who suggested the 50% cut in university research
in the House bill might be too modest
(WN 15 Jul 94). Lest you
conclude that Sen. Nickles is opposed to all university research,
it should be noted that his amendment to the DOE spending bill
specified that, of the $10M for hydrogen research, $250,000 must
go to a university with "expertise in electrochemical, thermochemical
and photochemical reactions for hydrogen production."
In a floor colloquy with Senator Johnston (D-LA) concerning the
amendment, Nickles made it clear that the university he had in
mind was the University of Oklahoma. That's how it's done.
3. NSF PASSES THE BUCK ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO UNIVERSITIES.
Increased involvement of academic researchers with industry and
private entrepreneurial ventures is actively encouraged by NSF,
significantly increasing the risk of conflict of interest. Two
years ago, NSF proposed a financial disclosure requirement
Aug 92); universities complained and the final rule, issued last
month, leaves it to universities to police themselves. Proposals
must simply carry a certification by the university that its own
conflict-of-interest policy has been complied with. That's not
very reassuring. The potential for abuse is pretty obvious when
faculty members become entangled in businesses that exploit their
research results, but nowadays the university is likely to be a
partner in the business, or even own the business outright. The
1980 Stevenson-Wydler Act allows universities to hold patents to
technologies resulting from research paid for by the government.
4. THE IMMIGRATION OF SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS TO THE U.S. SOARS!
According to NSF, the number of scientists and engineers admitted
on permanent visas jumped 62% in one year, from 14,100 in 1991 to
22,870 in 1992. About 30% of them were scientists, and half of
those were in mathematical and computer sciences. Such an abrupt
increase after a decade of gradually rising immigration is the
result of a 1990 change in the immigration law increasing quotas
for highly skilled workers. It was a response to projections of
a scientist shortage by NSF Director Erich Bloch
(WN 10 Apr 92).