News Briefs

May/June 2010

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News Briefs

Photo: Linda A. Cicero


The Faculty Senate in March overwhelmingly approved a motion to examine the University's relationship with the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, 40 years after the program's main activities were eliminated at Stanford.

After presentations by historian David Kennedy, '63, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, '49, MS '50, about the importance of reconsidering ROTC's place on campus, a motion was passed "to form an ad-hoc committee to investigate Stanford's role in preparing students for leadership in the military, including potential relations with ROTC." There was one nay vote and two abstentions.

Kennedy said his concern about the issue was prompted by research about the increasing distance between military and civilian institutions. "I think we are in danger of seriously compromising a 200-year-old tradition in this society of the citizen soldier" that ensures "the military arm does not become too separate either culturally or behaviorally from the civil society in our political system."

Central to reopening the discussion of ROTC, Kennedy noted, is the expectation that the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bars gays and lesbians in the military from disclosing their sexual orientation, will be repealed by Congress at the urging of President Obama. In late March, the Pentagon modified the rule to limit its enforcement, while awaiting Congressional action.


The California Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit that impeded Stanford's plans to construct two public recreational trails approved by Santa Clara County in 2005. The suit was first filed in 2006 by the Committee for Green Foothills.

Following the high court ruling, Stanford noted its intent to proceed with the trail that will run along Page Mill Road to Deer Creek Road and over a ridge to Arastradero Road where it crosses under Interstate 280. The University also said it would seek agreement with local governments for the second trail, which would run near Alpine Road on land owned by Stanford, San Mateo County and the town of Portola Valley.


In mid-March, Stan-ford reported the receipt so far of $190.4 million in federal stimulus funds, with the largest chunk of more than $90 million going to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The School of Medicine received $63.1 million, and four schools—Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, and Humanities and Sciences—collectively gained almost $34 million, topped by H&S with $20.1 million. H&S work supported by the funds includes research about jumbo squid (biology), the spread of flu-like diseases (anthropology) and the Stanford Advanced Gravitational Wave Detector program, to cite just a few examples.

Total of $190.4 million from 255 grants
Stefan Gustafsson


More than half a million Americans would avoid potentially fatal strokes—and almost another half-million would escape heart attacks—if the U.S. food service industry voluntarily reduced salt in processed foods, according to research from the School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

The researchers, who included Jessie Juusola (management science and engineering), Eva Enns, '08 (electrical engineering) and professor of medicine Douglas Owens, '78, MS '91, projected that a salt-reduction initiative would extend lives by lowering blood pressure among consumers and save $14 billion in the costs associated with hospitalizations for strokes and heart attacks.

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