All posts by Andrew Mytelka


Catawba College Draws Scrutiny Over Sexual-Assault Case Against Ex-Coach

Ralph Wager, a popular and successful coach of men’s soccer at Catawba College from 1983 to 1990, is facing criminal charges of sexually molesting two boys on the North Carolina campus, and according to an in-depth report on the case by The Charlotte Observer, prosecutors plan to introduce evidence that the college attempted to cover up the allegations against Mr. Wager.

One of the alleged victims was on a swimming team that practiced in the Catawba pool; he was allegedly assaulted several times between the ages of 9 and 11, in Mr. Wager’s office and his on-campus apartment. The other alleged victim was the son of a college employee.

When the mother of the first alleged victim complained, Mr. Wager was barred from the pool area when the team practiced. When the mother of the second alleged victim complained, the college’s athletic director demanded and received Mr. Wager’s resignation, an abrupt move that raised questions on the campus. The police were not contacted about any of the allegations.

Mr. Wager, who is now 71 and was inducted into Catawba’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, declined to comment. A date has yet to be set for his trial in the case, which is reminiscent of child-sex-abuse scandal that rocked Pennsylvania State University three years ago.

College administrators also declined to comment to the Observer, other than to say they had cooperated with law-enforcement officials and had conducted an internal investigation. The results of that inquiry have not been disclosed.

Fred Corriher, a trustee at the time, said the board was not told. … Asked whether college administrators should have reported the allegations, Corriher said, “Things have changed a lot since those days. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. You can say that, ‘Yes, they should have.’ But again I don’t know if it was something that could have been expected.”

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Southern Utah U. Removes Sen. Harry Reid’s Name From Center

Southern Utah University’s president said last week that he had been under pressure from local conservatives to remove Sen. Harry Reid’s name from a center on the campus, the Associated Press reported, but he insisted that politics was not a factor in the decision to do so.

Senator Reid, a Nevada Democrat and the Senate majority leader, is an alumnus of the university, and he agreed to lend his name to the Outdoor Engagement Center three years ago in order to help raise money for it. But several months ago, a group of conservatives told the president, Scott Wyatt, that they had raised $40,000 in pledges to remove Senator Reid’s name from the center.

Mr. Wyatt said he had told the group he would not accept the money. But the week before last, the name was removed—because, Mr. Wyatt said, it led to confusion over the center’s purpose since Mr. Reid is not associated with the outdoors. Mr. Wyatt also said that the center’s naming for Mr. Reid had drawn no donations.

In a statement quoted by the AP, Senator Reid seemed not to object to the removal of his name, saying he’d been “happy” to let the university use it to raise money. But “I’m not going to raise money to have my name placed on anything,” he said.

“The decision has nothing to do with politics,” Wyatt told The Associated Press. “We’re a university. We’re full of Democrats and Republicans and Green Party members and Libertarians. We don’t make partisan calls with regard to our esteemed alumnus.

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Board Chair at N.J. Community College Resigns Amid Ethics Inquiry

Glenn Gavan, chairman of the board of New Jersey’s Sussex County Community College, resigned last week following the release of an external report that found he and two other trustees had conflicts of interest in the hiring of an engineering company for a renovation project on the campus, The Star-Ledger reported. One of the other two trustees, Glen Vetrano, resigned in July. The external report said the three trustees, who never disclosed their relationships with the engineering company, were unaware of their ethical obligations under state law and the college’s code of ethics. Mr. Gavan had been appointed to the board by county lawmakers; Mr. Vetrano and the third trustee, Ed Leppert, had been appointed by Gov. Chris Christie.

Vetrano was a paid lobbyist for CP Engineers when he voted to give the firm a $142,300 contract for master-plan work last year, the report found. Gavan voted to approve pro-bono work for the firm weeks before becoming their paid attorney in April 2013, and later moved his law practice into the same building as CP Engineers, it also concluded.

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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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