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Thursday News Overload

Jenna Johnson

Pay attention!
A University of Oklahoma physics professor grew more and more irritated that his students paid more attention to their laptops than his lectures. So during a general physics engineering class last week, Professor Kieran Mullen grabbed a student's laptop, placed it in a plastic container and poured liquid nitrogen on it. He told the class not to worry, it was just liquid nitrogen, which alone won't hurt the laptop. But this will, he said, throwing the laptop to the ground and shattering it. "He is one of those quirky kind of professors but to actually break someone's laptop seems a little harsh," a freshman told The Oklahoma Daily.

Turns out the whole thing was a set-up. "I was a little concerned at first, but I thought later that it was a little too convenient that he would have liquid nitrogen and a Styrofoam box in a back room like that," another freshman told the student newspaper. "Either way, he got his point across."

Mullen had planted a non-functioning laptop on a student's desk for the elaborate act. Five years ago he did the same thing with a cell phone. "It's silly and ostentatious, but it's memorable," Mullen told The Oklahoma Daily. "I just hope it drives the point home that if you're in class, you really need to be here."

Alcohol-related fall
A University of Colorado student is recovering from injuries after falling off the roof of the Alpha Phi sorority house last weekend. The 20-year-old student was intoxicated at the time of the fall and it's unclear why she was on the roof, police tell The CU Independent. The woman was found by her sorority sisters in an alley and taken to the hospital for internal injuries and broken bones. She is expected to recover.

Art fight
Fisk University in Tennessee wants to sell part of the ownership of its Georgia O'Keeffe artwork collection, which the late artist had surprisingly gifted to the historic university. The New Mexico-based Georgia O'Keeffe Museum argues that such a sale would violate the spirit of O'Keeffe's gift and has taken legal action to prevent it, The Tennesseean reports. Fisk had hoped to sell part-ownership of the 101 paintings to replenish its depleted trust fund, working out a deal with an Arkansas art museum that offered $30 million for a half-share in the collection. The collection includes two paintings by the iconic painter and works of modern art collected by her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

Transgender rights
Next year Stanford University will add transgender surgery coverage to its student health plan, which some students say will improve the quality of life for transgender students on campus, the Stanford Daily reports.

Smoke clearing
The University of Maine president just approved a tobacco ban for the entire campus, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Administrators hope the ban will promote a healthy lifestyle for students and faculty members, The Maine Campus reports. No one will be forced to quit smoking -- they just can't do it on campus. So, no more smoking outside the dorms or while walking between classes.

STD alert
The number of sexually transmitted infections in Kansas has dramatically increased, and for the first time ever the state has had more than 10,000 cases in one year, The Daily Kansan reports. Between January and June 2009 there were 4,710 cases of chlamydia, 1,244 cases of gonorrhea and 37 cases of syphilis. Most of the cases of all three STIs occurred in 20- to 24-year olds. Health officials are urging college students, especially women under 25, to get tested.

New campus residents
Indiana University has had a frigid and unpredictable winter, which has led some of Bloomington's homeless to set up house in campus buildings, especially the library and student union, which are open 24 hours a day. The first time a homeless person is discovered in an academic building they are advised of trespass, which is a warning, but are not kicked out. If a second incident occurs, the person is arrested and will face preliminary charges of trespass, a misdemeanor, The Indiana Daily Student reports.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  February 25, 2010; 10:32 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags: Fisk, Indiana University, Stanford, University of Colorado, University of Kansas, University of Maine, University of Oklahoma  
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