All posts by Andy Thomason


George Mason Faculty Calls on Leaders to Abandon Scalia Name for Law School

George Mason University’s Faculty Senate voted on Wednesday to condemn the renaming of the university’s law school to honor the late Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court. BuzzFeed News reported that the body had voted 21 to 13 to call for the renaming process to be reopened. The vote is only symbolic.

At the meeting, BuzzFeed reported, faculty members slammed the university not only for its choice of name, but also for accepting, in exchange for the Scalia renaming, $30 million from the c…


Who’s Going to Be Punished for the Worst Academic Scandal Anyone Can Remember?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s fake-classes scandal is one of the worst athletic-impropriety-meets-academic-fraud dramas that anybody can remember. Following the release in 2014 of an expansive and damning report by a former federal prosecutor, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Chapel Hill watchers were quick to ask: What’s the NCAA going to do about it?

They got their first major signal on Monday, when the National Collegiate Athletic Association released its amended Notice of Allegation…


Justice Dept. Slams U. of New Mexico Over Sexual-Assault Policies

The U.S. Department of Justice has found that the University of New Mexico violates federal law in how it responds to reports of sexual harassment and assault, the department said on Friday in a news release. According to the department, an investigation of the campus found, among other things, that:

  • Students, faculty members, and staff members do not know their options for reporting sexual misconduct.
  • The university’s procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct are “confusing, dis…

Federal Watchdog Can’t Investigate For-Profit Accreditation, Judge Rules

A federal judge has ruled that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn’t have the legal authority to investigate the accreditation of for-profit colleges. In a ruling dated Thursday, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., denied the federal agency’s request to enforce a civil investigative demand on the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

“Although it is understandable that new agencies like the CFPB will struggle to establish the exact…


Amid Accusations of Lax Oversight, Accreditor Gets Tough With ITT

As it endures criticism for what is seen as faulty oversight of for-profit colleges, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools has told ITT Educational Services Inc. to demonstrate that its accreditation should not be revoked.

In a corporate filing on Wednesday, ITT said it had received the show-cause letter that day, instructing the company to show “why its current grants of accreditation should not be withdrawn by suspension or otherwise conditioned” at the accreditor’s next…


Scholars Sue American Studies Association Over Boycott of Israel

[Updated (4/20/2016, 2:57 p.m.) with a statement from the association.]

Four professors have sued the American Studies Association over its boycott of Israel’s academic institutions, saying the move exceeds the scope of the organization’s charter, according to a news release issued by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.

The association’s 2013 vote to approve the boycott, in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, provoked a backlash from scholars who said it posed a s…


As Protests Grow, BYU Releases Unusual Video to Defend Sex-Assault Response

Brigham Young University, which has been under fire of late for allegations that it sought to punish a victim of rape under its honor code, published a video interview on Wednesday — unusual in that the Utah campus’s president, Kevin J. Worthen, is interviewed by the university’s head spokeswoman, Carri P. Jenkins:

In the video, Mr. Worthen portrays the university’s responsibility to provide help to victims of sexual assault and to uphold its honor code — which “helps promote an environment tha…


President of Embattled Accreditor of For-Profit Colleges Resigns

The president of the embattled accreditor of many for-profit colleges, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, has resigned after seven years at the helm. In a statement on Monday, the council said Al Gray had stepped down but did not say why.

“I appreciate and respect the loyal service and dedicated leadership of Al Gray to ACICS during difficult and challenging times,” Lawrence Leak, chair of the council’s Board of Directors, said in the statement.

The resignation came sh…


Missouri’s R. Bowen Loftin Doesn’t Really Have a Job — but He’s Still Getting Paid

When he stepped down as chancellor of the University of Missouri at Columbia last year, R. Bowen Loftin made it clear that he wasn’t going away. “I am excited for my new challenge to lead the university’s research-facility development,” he said in a statement in November. His transition agreement, published by the Columbia Daily Tribune, enumerates two new positions for Mr. Loftin — director of research-facility development and director of research at the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation.



As Controversy Swirls, Former Baylor Football Player Is Charged With Rape

The police in Waco, Tex., have charged a former Baylor University football player with raping a student, the Waco Tribune-Herald reports. Shawn Oakman, who played defensive end and graduated in December, had previously declined to comment when the newspaper reported that he was being investigated.

The alleged rape occurred in early April. The student alleges that Mr. Oakman forced her onto his bed and raped her after they met at a bar. According to an affidavit quoted by the newspaper, Mr. Oakma…