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The National Science Foundation awarded Indiana University’s Bloomington campus more than $614,000 to recruit, support and retain undergraduate students majoring in astronomy, biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics over the next five years. Nearly 85 percent of the money will be used for student scholarships. The so-called S-STEM Program—Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—aims to put college students on a path to pursue further education and careers in key science and math-based fields. The program also tries to connect students, faculty and local professionals from all the science- and math-based disciplines. “This program focuses on the development of a community of STEM scholars who will engage students in preparation for a successful career in these fields,” said IU’s dean of the college of arts and sciences, Larry Singell. The initial round of scholarships will fund students enrolled for the spring 2014 semester.

A federal judge in Indianapolis temporarily blocked restrictions on abortions induced by medicine scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, while a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky Inc. proceeds. The dispute involves a law passed by the General Assembly this year, which requires abortion clinics that use only medications—not surgical procedures—to add procedure and recovery rooms, as well as surgical equipment. Only the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette meets that description. But the law allows office-based physicians to continue prescribing abortion-inducing medications without adding the additional rooms and equipment. U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said Nov. 27 the state had not provided an adequate basis for making such a distinction between abortion clinics and physicians’ offices.

Indiana University Health joined a growing list of businesses and organizations proclaiming public opposition to a proposed state constitutional amendment that would reinforce Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. IU Health, the state’s largest hospital system and the state’s fourth-largest employer with about 26,000 workers, said it was taking the position for health-related reasons. “Research has demonstrated that unequal treatment of same-sex couples … adversely impacts their health and well-being,” IU Health said in a prepared statement. “As a leading health care provider in this state, IU Health must support efforts that reduce disparities and improve the overall health and well-being of its patients, their families and the community.” IU Health joined Eli Lilly and Co., Cummins Inc. and Emmis Communications Corp. as major employers opposing the amendment. Indiana, Ball State, Butler and DePauw universities and several other colleges also have voiced opposition. State lawmakers will begin considering the same-sex marriage ban in January. Supporters of limiting marriage to one man and one woman say a constitutional amendment is needed to keep the courts from legalizing gay marriage in Indiana. Thirty states have constitutional amendments banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and five others ban it by law.

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