All posts by Andrew Mytelka


Army War College Will Investigate Plagiarism Accusation Against Senator

The U.S. Army War College said on Thursday that there was “reasonable cause” to refer accusations of plagiarism against a U.S. senator to its Academic Review Board, which has the authority to revoke the graduation status of a former student. The accusations against the senator, John E. Walsh of Montana, a Democrat, were laid out in a lengthy article published on Wednesday in The New York Times.

Senator Walsh, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate this year to fill out an unfinished term, has said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from military service in Iraq at the time he wrote and submitted the 14-page paper, a quarter of which the Times said was taken without attribution from other works. The paper was the final requirement for his master’s degree from the War College, a graduate-level institution in Carlisle, Pa., for Army officers selected for leadership training.

The review board, consisting of faculty members, will convene next month to assess the accusations and recommend action to the college, the Times reported.

There have been 8 cases since 1990 for which the Army War College revoked the graduation status of a former student after graduation: 6 for plagiarism and 2 for misconduct. If the plaque bearing graduates’ names has already been hung in front of the college, they have had their name removed from the metal plate.

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Cal State Cuts Planned Growth in Enrollment for Lack of Funds

The California State University system has lowered its plan to accommodate more students this fall after receiving less than expected in state appropriations, the Los Angeles Times reported. The 23-campus system, which drew 761,000 applications for admission this fall, a 2-percent increase, will be able to enroll 9,900 more students than last fall, but will have to turn away about 10,000 who are qualified to enroll.

Cal State Chancellor Timothy White spoke about the difficulty of balancing access with the need to provide academic support to current students.

“From an integrity point of view, when we open our doors, we want to be able to serve that student. If that means we have to leave another qualified student out, we need to do that, as tough as that may be,” White said.

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Adjuncts Vote Down Union at Minnesota’s U. of Saint Thomas

A campaign to unionize adjunct instructors at private colleges in Minnesota hit a snag on Monday, as the part-time faculty members at the University of Saint Thomas voted against forming a union, according to the Star Tribune.

The campaign, run by an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, won a victory last month, when part-time professors at Hamline University, another campus in the Twin Cities area, voted to unionize. The effort is part of a nationwide campaign by the union.



UCLA Will Pay $500,000 to Settle Black Judge’s Complaint About Traffic Stop

The University of California at Los Angeles will create a $350,000 scholarship fund and pay $150,000 in legal fees to settle a complaint by a local African-American judge, who said he had been the victim of racial profiling and mistreatment during a traffic stop last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The judge, David S. Cunningham of the Los Angeles Superior Court, said in a $10-million claim against the university, filed in January, that he had been “shaken, battered, and bruised” in the incident, which was nowhere near UCLA property and could only have been prompted by “his African-American race.” An internal investigation by the UCLA police department later cleared the officers involved in the incident of wrongdoing.

In addition to the settlement’s $500,000 in payments, the university agreed to beef up diversity training for its police force and to hold a one-day forum on relations between the police and the public.

In a joint statement released Friday, UCLA and Cunningham said they “have a mutual desire to use this as an opportunity to deepen understanding, raise the quality of police-community interactions and provide positive outcomes that enhance diversity and opportunity in our community.”

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2 Regents Resign at U. of Hawaii Over Bill to Require Financial Disclosures

Two members of the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents have resigned over legislation, passed unanimously by state lawmakers, that would require members of more than a dozen state boards to publicly disclose their finances, the Associated Press reported. The Board of Regents has urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, to veto the legislation, and the governor has included the bill on a list of measures he intends to veto, but has not made a final decision to do so.

According to Pacific Business News, members of the university’s Board of Regents and other state boards and commissions already file financial-disclosure statements with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. The new legislation, Senate Bill 2682, would require those statements to be disclosed to the public.

Lawmakers said in the bill that the ethics commission lacks the resources to review the records submitted to it for potential conflicts of interest. Members of the public are in a better position to identify conflicts, the lawmakers said.

The regents who resigned are John C. Dean, president and chief executive of the Central Pacific Financial Corporation, and Saedene Ota, who owns marketing and apparel companies. Both objected to making personal and family financial information publicly available.

“This information is personal and confidential,” said Ota, who said she and other regents already sacrifice family time and personal business affairs. “(The bill) sends a clear message to me as a regent that effectively goes beyond the call of volunteer service.”

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Gunman in Shooting Spree Said Women at UC-Santa Barbara Were His Targets

[Last updated (5/26/2014, 6:15 p.m.)]

Elliot O. Rodger, the 22-year-old identified as the deranged gunman in Friday night’s shooting rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., was a onetime student at Santa Barbara City College, the Los Angeles Times reported, and in a chilling video he apparently filmed beforehand he said he planned to take particular aim at female students at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He would “punish” the women for never being attracted to him, he said in the online …


Black Students Urge Washington and Lee U. to Face Its Confederate Past

A group of black law students is demanding that the university in Lexington, Va., take a series of steps to expiate its Confederate heritage and the “dishonorable conduct” of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who served as the university’s president after the Civil War, The Washington Post reported.

Among other things, the students want the university to remove Confederate flags from the chapel, ban Confederate sympathizers and re-enactors from the campus on Virginia’s Lee-Jackson holiday, observe the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by canceling class, and apologize for ties to slavery and for Lee’s conduct. The students pledged to undertake acts of civil disobedience if their demands were not met by September 1.

In response, the university’s president, Kenneth P. Ruscio, said he had asked a campus group to study of the history of African-Americans at the college. Black students constitute 3.5 percent of the enrollment at the university, which is named for both Lee and George Washington, who was an early benefactor.

Third-year law student Dominik Taylor, a descendent of slaves on his father’s side, said he felt betrayed by admissions representatives who touted the school’s diversity.

“They assured me it was a welcoming environment where everyone sticks together as a community,” Taylor said. “Then I came here and felt ostracized and alienated.”

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Change in Statement of Faith Splits Faculty at Bryan College, in Tenn.

Bryan College, a small Christian institution in Dayton, Tenn., could lose as much as one-quarter of its full-time faculty in a dispute over the college’s statement of faith, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

The dispute, which led to a no-confidence vote in the college’s president in February, concerns the trustees’ addition to the statement of what they described as a clarification. It asserts that Adam and Eve were historical figures not created from previous life forms, according to t…


Fraternity-Hazing Victim at Francis Marion U. Is Awarded $1.6-Million

The former student, Daniel McElveen, spent eight days in the hospital after the hazing incident, in 2011, at the home of Maurice Robinson, a Phi Beta Sigma member and alumnus of the South Carolina university, The State reported.

Mr. McElveen, who suffered kidney damage from a brutal paddling during the fraternity’s “Hell Night” initiation, later sued the university, the fraternity, and Mr. Robinson. He settled last year with the university and the fraternity.

Mr. Robinson, who argued during the trial that Mr. McElveen had allowed himself to be hazed, was one of several people charged with hazing, in a case that is still pending, the Associated Press reported.

The lawsuit claimed that the final night of initiation was the culmination of a pattern of hazing that included McElveen being forced to eat unidentified foods, being blindfolded and driven off campus, wearing the same dirty clothes each night and being deprived of sleep.

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Occidental College Settles Over Alleged Sexual Harassment by Athletic Trainer

The trainer, a 37-year veteran of the California college, is alleged to have made unwanted physical contact and inappropriate comments to students whom he was supposed to be helping prepare for or recover from games or practices, the Los Angeles Times reported. The trainer resigned after the college began an investigation last year.

The college and lawyers for the students declined to disclose the terms of the settlement. In a separate matter, Occidental is currently facing a federal investigation into how it handled reports of alleged sexual assaults against female students.

Attorney Irwin Zalkin represents three male students who he said had been in negotiations with Occidental officials over Sweet’s alleged behavior. They told administrators in early 2013 that the trainer had touched their groins while helping them during rehabilitation or preparing for games or practices.
“He’d stretch their leg and he would put his hand on their groin,” Zalkin said.

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