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BOSTON--A legislative committee endorsed a bill yesterday to give prospective college students more information on campus safety, but the panel derailed another bill that would cut welfare benefits for parents whose teen-age children skip school.
The Education Committee also endorsed legislation for the state Board of Education to issue graduation requirements so residents can see how their school districts are faring.
The campus safety bill, sponsored by Rep. William Galvin (D-Boston), would require each public or private college to submit a crime report each year. Those reports would be available to any applicant, student or employee of the institution.
The issue of campus safety received heightened attention ealier this year when a Northeastern University student was stabbed to death near the school.
But Galvin said his proposal was "part of a national movement."
"My interest is that I have three large campuses [Harvard, Boston College and Boston University] in my district," he said. "I think it's natural for university's to want to put the best face forward."
The legislation also requires each school to make available a campus security policy that provides information on security measures and college rules for alcohol possession.
The committee refused to approve the welfare bill, which was modeled after a similar program in Wisconsin that cuts withholds some benefits when impoverished students fail to attend school.
The committee sent the bill to turther study.
The bill was proposed by Sen. William Keating (D-Sharon), who said the measure could stem the tide of dropouts and save the state money in the long term.
But critics said it would punish the poor, while not necessarily creating a big improvement in school attendance.
The proposal to establish graduation standards would not set mandatory requirements. Instead, school district results would be published each year, so communities could be more aware of school's performance.
The committee also approved a bill stipulating that annual appropriations not spent by public colleges and universities will go into a fund to provide a stable endowment for the public system.
The measure's architect, Rep. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst), said he realizes the bill would not mean much in the current fiscal crunch, since the higher education system needs its entire appropriation. But he said he wants the program in place when times are better.
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