George Mason in the News

Posted: May 11, 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.

Saturday, May 5, Washington Post

Is There Disdain for Evangelicals in the Classroom?

“Accusations by conservative groups that secular university faculties are dominated by liberals who treat conservative students, particularly evangelical Christians, with intellectual condescension or worse have been leveled for years at the Ivy League and other elite private universities. But they are gaining new attention from politicians and educators because of the Brooker case, which took place at a public school in the Bible Belt, and because of two recent, nationwide surveys of professors’ views on religion. The first, by sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard and Solon Simmons of George Mason University, found that college professors are less religious than the general public but are far from the godless horde that is sometimes imagined. Even at the country’s 50 top research universities, a minority of the faculty is atheist or agnostic, Gross and Simmons found.”

Sunday, May 6, New York Times

The Guy Who Picks the Best Places to Live

“Every so often, a report comes out listing the best (or worst) cities to live in, the most romantic, the most child-friendly or the most affordable. The cities at the top gloat; those at the bottom ignore the findings or dismiss them as skewed or irrelevant. But in one part of the country, little changes. The man responsible for many of those rankings, Bert Sperling, continues to plug away, dividing his time between Portland and Depoe Bay, Ore., compiling yet more data for yet more lists, just as he has for the last 20 years. Although Mr. Sperling may grab headlines for the rankings, his web site is what is really useful for people planning a move, says Richard Florida, the Hirst professor of public policy at George Mason University. It offers various cost-of-living calculations, as well as information about schools and amenities, and allows users to take a quiz to help find the best place to live. ‘You need information based on life stage, job and a cluster and bundle of amenities, such as schools, health care, culture,’ Florida says, and Mr. Sperling ‘tends to be good at assessing most, if not all, of that.’”

Thursday, May 10, BusinessWeek Online

The Danger of Real Estate Incentives

“A popular tease among real estate agents to put in home listings: ‘Call for the latest juicy incentives.’ The practice, which popped up last year as a way for builders to move unsold inventory, has now spread aggressively to the existing-home market, which accounts for 85 percent of all sales. And it’s not just furniture being used to sweeten the deal. The latest trend is cash enticements to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. There are no national numbers, but in the Washington area, deals with some form of seller subsidy jumped from 35 percent to 58 percent in two years, according to Lisa Fowler, a researcher at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. The average home sold there for $470,000 in April, with a subsidy of $9,700. Such a rise has serious implications. The incentives, which don’t figure into the national home-price data reported by industry groups, may be masking a steeper downturn. Fowler found that prices in D.C. fell by 0.2 percent over the past year if incentives were included, compared with a 0.7 percent rise if they weren’t.”

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