A federal judge in Nebraska has ruled that a university-owned apartment complex is subject to the Fair Housing Act, upholding the claim of a former student who said the university was legally bound to allow her “therapy dog” to live there with her. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the case, brought by the federal government against the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2011, hinged on whether university housing was a “dwelling.” The university argued that it wasn’t, and that students are assigned there and have to follow restrictions, as in a jail. The judge, in deciding that the housing was indeed covered by federal housing rules, said that meant the university had to follow antidiscrimination policies, and that Brittany Hamilton, the former student, should have been able to keep her dog, Butch, to calm her anxieties.
Author Archives: Heidi Landecker
is an assistant managing editor who manages the copy desk and edits "5 Minutes With," a Q&A column.
Although Colorado has legalized the recreational smoking of marijuana, the University of Colorado at Boulder closed its campus to the public on Saturday to prevent a traditional gathering of marijuana smokers on “4/20.” Theories abound as to why “420″ is a code for the marijuana-smoking culture, but the campus was similarly closed to outsiders last April 20, when officials distributed smelly fertilizer on one popular quad to repel smokers. This year the party was in Denver, where officials were more concerned about security in an event expected to draw as many as 80,000 people to cheer the drug’s legalization.
Teresa Wagner, a University of Iowa scholar who accused the university of discriminating against her because of her conservative views, has lost an appeal for a new trial, according to the The Des Moines Register. Ms. Wagner accused the university of failing to promote her because of her conservative political views and her affiliation with groups like the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage, and the National Right to Life Committee. In October a jury found that she did not suffer infringement of her First Amendment rights, but it deadlocked over a claim that she was denied equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
The family of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide in 2010, will start a center in his name at the university to help new students adjust to college, The New York Times reports. Mr. Clementi, who had told his parents he was gay shortly before leaving for college, jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate spied on him and another man with a Webcam, then wrote about it on Twitter. Mr. Clementi’s parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi, will announce the new center at Rutgers on Monday. The Tyler Clementi Center will conduct research on transitioning from home to college, youth suicides, cyberbullying, and how students use new technologies.
Shirley M. Tilghman, who has led Princeton University since 2001, will step down at the end of this academic year, the university has announced. Ms. Tilghman, who will remain on the faculty, revealed her decision this weekend at the Princeton board’s September meeting, and in a letter to the university community on Saturday. The announcement comes just a few weeks after Richard C. Levin, the Ivy League’s longest-serving president, announced his resignation. Ms. Tilghman, the second-longest-serving president, is a molecular biologist and a champion of women in the sciences.
Ms. Tilghman broke ground as the university’s first female president and first president with a science background after generations of economists and humanists. She was a surprise choice because she had never held a senior administrative position—she came directly from the faculty. She was also a divorced single mother with teenage children, making her an even more unusual selection to lead the Ivy League institution.
During her tenure she restored Early Admissions, which critics say favor wealthy students; built up the university’s African-American studies program; and championed spending more for female faculty members. And she navigated the university through the recession and also recently completed a successful fund-raising campaign, bringing in nearly $2-billion to an institution that has one of the largest per-student endowments in the country.
For more on this story, see another article from The Chronicle.
The Senate finally approved a stopgap measure to pay for the government’s activities for six more months in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and lawmakers went home, The Washington Post reports. After a procedural vote delayed the work that a bickering Congress hoped to finish on Thursday, the Senate approved, 62 to 30, a measure to pay for the government beyond September 30, the end of the fiscal year, avoiding a government shutdown right before the election. Although the original Senate version would have restored a pathway for students without high-school diplomas to receive federal aid, and the House version would have prevented the Department of Education from enforcing the gainful-employment requirement of the Higher Education Act, those provisions were absent from the compromise that was passed and will have to wait until Congress resumes after the election.
With Mitt Romney’s announcement Saturday that Paul Ryan will be his running mate, it’s worth examining the Wisconsin representative’s stand on some key higher-education issues.
- Representative Ryan is famous for his bare-bones budget that would place the Pell Grant program in peril. He would keep Pell money at its current rate but sharply reduce eligibility, The New Republic reported in April.
- He was against renewing the 3.4-percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans to undergraduates, which Congress voted to extend for one year on June 29, just before the rate would have expired. He would have allowed the rate to double, to 6.8 percent. But he voted for a measure that would have similarly extended the 3.4-percent rate for a year, paying for it by cutting a wellness provision in the Affordable Care Act. (Even Mr. Romney eventually supported keeping the lower rate on those loans, siding with President Obama.)
- Mr. Ryan opposed the Education Department’s gainful-employment rule, designed to protect students by penalizing for-profit colleges whose graduates can’t make enough money to pay back their loans, according to the Web site Truthout.
- In February, he called President Obama’s compromise that requires insurance companies, rather than Roman Catholic institutions, to provide contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act an “accounting trick.”
- He calls the Dream Act a “piecemeal reform” and wants to “secure the border” first, according to the education section of his Web site.
- In 2006, he voted against $84-million in grants for black and Hispanic colleges, according to the Web site OnTheIssues.
- Also according to that site, he voted in favor of military recruitment on colleges campuses, in 2005.
And in some other issues that affect colleges, here are some of Mr. Ryan’s votes, according to OnTheIssues:
- In May 2011, he voted in favor of banning federal health coverage that includes abortion.
- In January 2007, he voted against expanding research to more embryonic stem-cell lines.
- In May 2005, he voted against allowing human embryonic stem-cell research.
Mr. Ryan also appears to believe that federal student aid raises college costs. His Web site says,
“While financial aid is intended to make college more affordable, there is growing evidence that it has had the opposite effect: College costs have risen at twice the rate of inflation for about 30 years and economists have pointed out that these rapid increases would have been constrained if the federal government had not stepped in so often to subsidize rising tuitions.”
Mr. Ryan’s positions could be more important than we think: Mr. Romney mistakenly introduced him on Saturday as the “next president of the United States.”
A jury in Bellefonte, Pa., on Friday found Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, guilty of sexual abuse, reports The New York Times. The arrest last November of the coach, who ran a program for disadvantaged boys, threw the university into turmoil, resulting in the dismissal of the legendary Coach Joe Paterno, who died of cancer a few months later. President Graham Spanier resigned.
Mr. Sandusky, 68, had maintained his innocence throughout his arrest and trial. But the jury—which included seven women and five men, many with connections to Penn State—took just 21 hours of deliberation to convict him on 45 of the 48 charges he faced. He could spend life in prison for the charges, which include rape and sodomy of 10 boys.
The verdict closes one chapter in the scandal at State College, but Penn State’s reckoning is not over. Two former university administrators still face charges that they failed to report Mr. Sandusky’s abuse and perjured themselves before a grand jury. (A hearing is scheduled for July, according to the Centre Daily Times.) And after e-mails surfaced that appeared to show Mr. Spanier choosing not to act on allegations about Mr. Sandusky, Pennsylvania prosecutors said they may bring more charges.
The university made an unusual move on Saturday, asking victims to resolve civil suits against the institution as soon as possible, according to a report from Reuters.
And Mr. Sandusky’s lawyers said they had tried to quit at the beginning of jury selection, saying they had not been given time to prepare. They raised the possibility of an appeal on that basis.
Two suspects in the shooting deaths of two University of Southern California graduate students have been arrested, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ming Qu and Ying Wu, both 23 and engineering students, were killed not far from the campus on April 11. The suspects, Bryan Barnes, 20, of Los Angeles and Javier Bolden, 19, were found by signals sent from one of the victims’ cellphones, purportedly stolen by the suspects. The parents of the victims sued the university last week, saying it had misrepresented the safety of the campus.
The president of Chester College of New England, a tiny arts institution in Chester, N.H., e-mailed students and faculty on Friday evening that the 47-year-old college would close, according to the Eagle-Tribune of Andover, Mass. An agreement reached with New England College, in Henniker, N.H., will allow Chester’s students to complete their degrees in Henniker at comparable tuition and housing costs; New England College will also offer one-year contracts to some faculty members. Chester College of New England was a private two-year college called White Pines College until 2001, when it adopted a four-year curriculum. That move strengthened the institution for several years, but the recession of 2008 left it with fewer than 150 students and a $600,000 deficit. It needed 88 new freshmen for next year to stay open and fell short by 50 students, according to the Union-Leader of Manchester, N.H. The New Hampshire Institute of Art, in Manchester, also announced that it had hired some faculty members from Chester, and would accept its students at comparable costs.