Daily Debriefing

by STEPHEN KIRKPATRICK | 11/30/09 11:00pm

The spread of the H1N1 virus appears to be slowing, Inside Higher Ed reported on Monday. According to a weekly report by the American College Health Association, there were a total of 3,933 new cases of influenza-like illnesses between Nov. 14 and Nov. 20 among a population of approximately three million students at colleges and universities tracked by the ACHA. The ACHA report estimated that 90 percent of the 243 institutions reported new cases of influenza-like illness, down from 95 percent the week before. The ACHA also reported that the nationwide infection rate dropped 37 percent from the preceding week, down to 13.4 cases per 10,000 students. ACHA President James Turner told Inside Higher Ed that his organization has observed nearly 85,000 cases of influenza-like illness since late August.

Salaries rose for academic librarians belonging to the U.S. Association of Research Librarians in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, but the increase did not keep pace with inflation, according to the ARL's Annual Salary Survey. The median salary of academic librarians in the United States in 2008-2009 was $63,673, representing a 3.8 percent increase over the previous year, according to the survey. During the same period, the U.S. Consumer Price Index rose 5.6 percent. Canadian ARL academic librarian salaries also did not keep pace with inflation. The salaries increased by 3.3 percent, and the Canadian CPI increased by 3.4 percent, according to the report. ARL non-academic librarians saw their median salary rise 6 percent, exceeding inflation.

Harvard University financial advisers urged then-university President Lawrence Summers to avoid the risky investment choices that led to the institution's financial difficulties, The Boston Globe reported on Sunday. Despite repeated warnings from financial staff including the manager of the university's endowment, Jack Meyer, and his successor, Mohamed El-Erian Summers aggressively pursued a near-total investment of Harvard's cash assets into the endowment, according to The Globe. Summers sought to invest all of the university's cash resources in the endowment pool, but several other university officials persuaded him to invest only 80 percent. The policies were both highly lucrative as Harvard's cash resources exceeded $6 billion by 2007 and risky. Amid the larger market plunge in September 2008, Harvard lost 27 percent of its $37 billion endowment, as well as 27 percent of its $6 billion in operating cash, The Globe reported.