All posts by Charles Huckabee


‘Yes Means Yes’ Bill Clears California Legislature

California lawmakers gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that would require colleges to adopt a “yes means yes” standard for defining sexual consent in investigations of sexual-assault allegations, the Bay Area News Group reported.

If the measure, Senate Bill 967, is signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, all public and private colleges that receive state student-aid money would have to agree that silence or lack of resistance does not imply a green light for sex, and that drunkenness is not…


John G. Sperling, Founder of the U. of Phoenix, Dies

John G. Sperling, the founder of the University of Phoenix and a pioneer in the for-profit higher-education revolution, has died, the university’s corporate parent, the Apollo Education Group, announced. He was 93.

The company’s statement does not list a cause of death. It describes Mr. Sperling as resolved “to improve the world through accessible higher education for working adult students” and says that his “indomitable ideas and life’s work served as a catalyst for innovations widely accept…


Calif. Says Catholic Colleges’ Health Plans Must Include Abortion Coverage

California’s health department has reversed an earlier decision that had exempted two Roman Catholic universities from a state law that requires employee health-insurance plans to cover most abortions, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. But the Cardinal Newman Society and two advocacy groups that oppose abortion have urged the department to retract its latest decision, warning that it violates federal law and puts federal funds for California at risk.

A 1975 state law requires group health pla…


Southern U. to Discuss Contract of President Who Seeks Big Changes

Ronald F. Mason Jr. is seeking big changes at the Southern University system, and whether he gets to see them through could be decided this weekend when the Board of Supervisors meets to discuss extending his contract beyond next June.

Mr. Mason, who has come under fire from faculty members and at least one member of the board, has told the board he will not stay on as president after his current contract ends unless it agrees to terms he outlined in a letter this June, according to reports by two Louisiana newspapers, The Times-Picayune and The Advocate.

Those terms include moving forward with a reorganization plan he has been pushing that would combine the administrations of the system and its flagship campus, in Baton Rouge. The plan, which Mr. Mason says would be developed with “with broad input,” also calls for slashing staffs and creating shared services throughout the system, and for reviewing the academic program systemwide.

The president’s proposals are unlikely to win much support in Baton Rouge, where the Faculty Senate has called for Mr. Mason’s ouster and voted no confidence in his leadership this summer.

On Thursday, a member of the board also called on Mr. Mason to resign. In an email to other board members, the Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr. said Mr. Mason had botched a proposed contract for the Baton Rouge campus’s former chancellor, James L. Llorens. The board declined to extend Mr. Llorens’s contract in February, and his last day leading the campus was in June.

Mr. Tolbert told The Advocate, that he wasn’t speaking for the rest of the 16-member board and said he was eager to see what happened at the board’s meeting on Saturday. “I just believe Southern needs new leadership,” he said.

The Southern University Baton Rouge Faculty Senate passed a resolution Thursday, urging the board to not renew Mason’s contract and terminate him as soon as possible. The Faculty Senate has characterized Mason as having contempt for faculty, being a divisiveness figure, overreaching his authority on the Baton Rouge campus and fiscal management.

Mason has disputed those claims publicly, and has invited committee members from the Faculty Senate to participate in a public forum. They have declined.

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Colorado Professor Who’s Fighting Dismissal Won’t Be Teaching This Fall

David Barnett, the tenured professor of philosophy who is the subject of dismissal proceedings at the University of Colorado at Boulder amid allegations that he retaliated against a female graduate student who had accused a peer of sexual assault, is being given time off from teaching this fall, The Daily Camera reports.

Brian Moore, a lawyer for the professor, told the newspaper that Mr. Barnett had requested relief from teaching duties “until he is given a hearing on the allegations against hi…


Fordham Theologian Criticizes Church’s Investigation of Women’s Orders

A theologian and nun who drew the ire of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops with a book they considered radical and flawed fired back on Friday, saying the church’s investigation of women’s orders was “unconscionable” at a time when the hierarchy’s moral authority has been eroded by financial and child-abuse scandals, the Religion News Service reported.

Speaking in Nashville, Tenn., as she accepted an award from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a professor of t…


4 Receive the Fields Medal, Including the Prize’s First Female Medalist

Four scholars have received the Fields Medal for 2014, including the first female medalist in the 78-year history of the prestigious mathematics prize, the International Mathematical Union has announced. The union presents the medal every four years to up to four mathematicians age 40 or younger to recognize outstanding existing work and to foster “the promise of future achievement.”

The 2014 prizes were awarded on Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematic…


Education Dept. Is Investigating Johns Hopkins U.’s Response to Rape Complaint

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into the Johns Hopkins University’s response to an alleged rape at an off-campus fraternity house last year, The Baltimore Sun reported. Hopkins’s president, Ronald J. Daniels, acknowledged the federal investigation in an email to the university on Tuesday and pledged the institution’s full cooperation with it.

The announcement comes amid increasing pressure on colleges — from the Education Department, the White House, members of Congr…


U. of Oregon President Resigns Abruptly

Michael R. Gottfredson has resigned, effective on Thursday, as president of the University of Oregon after two years on the job, according to news reports. In a resignation letter on Wednesday, he cited academic and personal reasons for stepping down. “My scholarly interests beckon,” he wrote, adding that he and his wife, Karol, “would like more time to spend with our family.”

The Oregonian, however, noted that his resignation had the hallmarks of a forced departure: Mr. Gottfredson “does not ha…


UMass-Dartmouth to Pay $1.2-Million to Professor in Discrimination Case

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth has been ordered to pay nearly $1.2-million in back pay, damages, and other costs to a professor of English who filed complaints, beginning a decade ago, that she was being denied a promotion from assistant to full professor because of her gender and Chinese ancestry, The Herald News, in Fall River, Mass., reported.

In 2011 a hearing officer with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ruled in favor of the professor, LuLu C.H. Sun, and or…