George Mason in the News

Posted: April 20, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason recently received.

Sunday, April 15, New York Times

Parsing the Truths about Visas for Tech Workers

“This month, the government announced that it had received more petitions for H-1B visas in one day than it could grant in the entire fiscal year that begins in October. It received 150,000 petitions; the current visa cap is 65,000. Technology lobbying groups declared that the immediate overflow demand for H-1B visas was proof of the skills shortage in the United States and the need for a sharply higher visa limit. But some immigration policy experts and economists say that this argument fails a simple test of economics. It is not surprising, they say, that global companies – including I.B.M., Microsoft and Oracle – that benefit from the H-1B program would like to see it enlarged. ‘There is no labor market test, using technically sound criteria, to determine whether or not there is a shortage,’ says David Hart, an associate professor of public policy at George Mason University. The measures, Mr. Hart suggests, would include recent wage trends and unemployment rates in specific professions.”

Sunday, April 15, Associated Press

Archivists Work to Preserve 9/11 Papers, Photos and Video Forever

“Millions of pieces of paper documenting government investigations, BlackBerry messages written by survivors escaping the twin towers, children’s finger-paintings and family photographs are also part of the archive, stored in many different places including state offices, museums and on the Internet. Saving all things Sept. 11 was a mission embraced from the time of the attacks by professional archivists and grassroots collectors, helped by live televised images of the event and thousands of Internet communities that followed the aftermath. Tom Scheinfeldt, a history professor at George Mason University, is one of the coordinators of the 9/11 Digital Archive, which stores 150,000 items including paper, audio and photographs relating to the attacks. Included in the archive are e-mail transcripts of survivors who typed as they fled the towers, and the heart-rate monitor readout of a jogger who crossed the Brooklyn Bridge as he saw a hijacked jet crash into the north tower, causing his heart rate to spike.”

Monday, April 16, Associated Press

Ticket Taxes Fund Airports for the Rich

“The federal government has taken billions of dollars from the taxes and fees paid by airline passengers every time they fly and awarded it to small airports used mainly by private pilots and globe-trotting corporate executives. Some of these ‘general aviation’ facilities used the federal dollars – more than $7 billion over the past decade – for enhancements such as longer runways and passenger terminals aimed at luring traffic, an Associated Press review has found. And the money comes with little oversight, and at the expense of an increasingly beleaguered air transportation system. ‘What are people getting for their money?’ said Kenneth Button, a professor of transportation at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and an expert on air transit taxation. ‘Delays are increasing. How can consumers make a sensible assessment on how the money is being spent? You need an abacus to figure out all the costs.'”

Thursday, April 19, Washington Post

Colleges Feel Caught in Shifting Landscape

“As details emerged about the Virginia Tech gunman, whose writing and behavior had worried students and staff for some time, many people asked: With all those warning signs, why didn’t the school do something to stop him? Not only is it difficult to predict what a troubled student might do, but colleges are limited in multiple ways, including by privacy and disability laws, from stepping in when a student seems disturbed, according to university counselors, lawyers and administrators. David Fenza, [executive director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs] at George Mason University, said students should have the license to write about what is on their minds without thought of being ‘caught.'”

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