Student Assembly's Diversity and Community Affairs Committee has introduced an Inter-Community Development Fund, which aims to facilitate greater interaction among student groups, according to a Jan. 28 e-mail from the Assembly and Raymond Rodriguez '09, a member of the committee and the initiative's organizer. The fund seeks to create a more cohesive student body by helping groups plan events together, Rodriguez said. This initiative was developed partly in response to student frustration with the perceived insufficiency of College event funding, Rodriguez said. The Assembly has allotted $2,000 to the program as a pilot initiative, but the budget will be adjusted based on student response. There have already been requests for information and event suggestions, although no events have been organized to date, Rodriguez said.
Millions of low-income college students could receive tuition tax credits under a bill considered by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to Inside Higher Ed. The proposed initiative, part of the federal economic stimulus package currently before Congress, would make students who do not pay income taxes eligible for a refund worth up to $1,000. The students' tax-exempt status means that they are ineligible for the current Hope tax credit for college tuition. The new bill would also increase the fraction of the maximum tax credit that can be received by students who do pay taxes, helping them pay for room and board, books and other expenses of a college education, according to David Baime, vice president for government relations at the American Associations of Community Colleges, Inside Higher Ed reported. Currently, many low-income students receive a relatively small fraction of the potential tax credit because students' families must make at least $43,567 per year to receive the full credit for their tuition.
Bookstores at Duke University and Pennsylvania State University have agreed to pay college clothing company Knights Apparel higher prices for its merchandise if the company pays its workers a living wage, according to Inside Higher Ed. In a deal orchestrated by the Penn State students affairs group, the independent labor rights monitoring organization Workers Rights Consortium will strive to ensure that the Knights Apparel factory in the Dominican Republic is meeting necessary standards. The factory employs 100 to 200 workers. Duke is committing $250,000 to Knights Apparel's factory, director of trademark licensing and store operations Jim Wilkerson told Inside Higher Ed. The University of Connecticut is also considering a similar agreement with Knights Apparel.