Daily Debriefing

| 11/29/09 11:00pm

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hold oral arguments this week in a case concerning debt forgiveness rules for student loans in bankruptcy cases, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on Sunday. The Court must decide whether to uphold a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed a borrower to gain forgiveness for some of his student loans without demonstrating in court that "undue hardship" would result if the payments were enforced, The Chronicle reported. The main question before the Supreme Court is whether an error in a bankruptcy proceeding such as failure to find for undue hardship can invalidate a bankruptcy court's decision. Although experts do not expect the Supreme Court's decision to change how most courts approach student bankruptcy cases, the Court will likely clarify the requirements of the "undue hardship" standard, which has been inconsistently applied in past cases, according to The Chronicle.

President Barack Obama has appointed two university presidents to the new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Inside Higher Ed reported on Wednesday. University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Emory University President James Wagner were chosen to head the commission, according to Inside Higher Ed. The commission is charged with studying ethical issues that result from advances in biomedical technology and related science, as well as designing policies that ensure research and health care do not violate ethical standards, according to a White House press release. The commission replaces the Bush administration's Council on Bioethics, which Obama disbanded because of concerns regarding the council's political motivations, The Philadelphia Enquirer reported. Gutmann was the inaugural director of the Princeton University Center for Human Values and a founding member of the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics, according to the release. Wagner is a former researcher for the Food and Drug Administration and has worked to increase the visibility of Emory's Center for Ethics during his tenure as university president, the release stated.

Deena Giancotti, Harvard University's associate dean for finance, decided earlier this month to leave the university to join a consulting firm, The Harvard Crimson reported Nov. 25. Giancotti, a five-year Harvard veteran, is one of several administrators to leave Harvard's financial administration in recent months, following Brett Sweet, the former dean of administration and finance who left the university in July, and Edward Forst, who served as university executive vice president for just over one year, according to The Crimson. Giancotti's departure comes as the university faces a $110-million budget shortfall, The Crimson reported. Dartmouth's executive vice president for finance and administration, Adam Keller, is vacating that position on Dec. 1 as part of the administrative consolidation announced by College President Jim Yong Kim on Nov. 19.