All posts by Heidi Landecker


U. of New Hampshire Dismisses Professor Who Altered Colleague’s Teaching Evaluations

An associate professor of Spanish at the University of New Hampshire has been dismissed from his position, according to Initially fired in May 2013, after he admitted having lowered a colleague’s teaching evaluations, the professor, Marco Dorfsman, had been fighting for reinstatement ever since. He won a reprieve when his termination was overturned, in November 2013, by an independent arbitrator, who found that the university lacked just cause to fire him. In January 2014 a N…


Labor Board Reinstates Grad Students’ Union Petitions at Columbia and the New School

The National Labor Relations Board has revived the efforts of graduate students and the United Auto Workers to form unions at Columbia University and the New School, according to Capital New York. The website, which reports on city and state politics, says the board reinstated the groups’ petitions to be recognized after they were denied, on February 6, by the NLRB’s regional director for New York City.

In separate, brief rulings issued on Friday, the board said it was granting the groups at Co…


Harvard Steps Up Security After Email Threatens Students

[Updated, 10/5/2014, 7:57 p.m.] The Harvard University Police Department has increased its weekend presence on the campus after an email threat was sent on Friday to hundreds of people affiliated with the university, including students, and was forwarded to the Harvard Crimson. But a second email, sent on Saturday from the same “” address, issued an apology, saying the first was sent by mistake.

The Crimson said the first email’s racist tone appeared to be directed at Asian students bu…


UCLA Offers Help to Students and Workers Whose Cars Were Damaged in Flood

The University of California at Los Angeles is offering emergency assistance, in the form of interest-free loans, to students and staff whose cars were damaged in a July 29 flood caused by a water-main break. The Los Angeles Times reports that loans of up to $5,000 will be available, and recipients will have two years to pay them back. In addition, a relief fund of more than $55,000—raised through crowfunding—has been established by the UCLA Foundation. Nearly 1,000 cars were damaged in the …


Students, Faculty, and Alumni Challenge Cooper Union in Court

Advocates for the no-tuition policy established by Peter Cooper, founder of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science, on Friday asked a state judge in Manhattan to block the institution’s plan to start charging tuition this fall, The New York Times reported. The Committee to Save Cooper Union says the policy was part of the trust the founder established in 1859 and requires court approval to be changed. Lawyers for the trust say that it requires the college only to offer free nigh…


Planner of Raid That Killed Bin Laden Could Lead U. of Texas

Adm. William H. McRaven, leader of the U.S. Special Operations Command, is a top candidate to be chancellor of the University of Texas system, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Saturday. Admiral McRaven, who planned the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, in 2011, earned a degree in journalism from the university’s Austin campus in 1977 and began his military training as a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps there. His speech in May to the graduating class of that campus, includi…


Pot Researcher at U. of Arizona Fights to Get Her Job Back

A medical doctor at the University of Arizona who was dismissed last month is appealing the university’s decision, according to The Arizona Republic. Suzanne Sisley, who studies the effects of marijuana on post-traumatic stress disorder, is asking to be reinstated as an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, assistant director of the university’s telemedicine program, and researcher. She says she was questioned by university officials over an attempt to recall State Sen. Kimberly Y…


Board Suspends Winthrop U.’s President and Plans to Fire Her

[Last updated 6/15/2014, 2:59 p.m.] President Jamie Comstock Williamson has been suspended by the trustees of Winthrop University, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

Hired in February 2013, Ms. Williamson began her presidency less than a year ago, on July 1, and has been the focus of several controversies first reported by The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C., where the university is located. Her husband, Larry Williamson, was hired last fall as a part-time employee in her office, and althoug…


U. of Southern Maine May Cut 3 Programs, President Says

The University of Southern Maine’s president put three academic programs back on the chopping block on Friday, after a testy several months in which the leader, Theodora J. Kalikow, announced a plan to fire a dozen tenured and tenure-track professors, dismiss 35 staff members, and eliminate four programs—and then invited faculty members to come up with their own proposal to cover a $14-million budget shortfall.

“I intend to continue the program-elimination process begun for American and New Engl…


Judge Rejects Claim That Illinois Hazing Law Is Unconstitutional

A judge in DeKalb County, Ill., has rejected the claim by four former fraternity leaders that an Illinois hazing statute is unconstitutional, according to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle. The students are charged with a felony in the death of David Bogenberger, a freshman at Northern Illinois University who died in November 2012 after a night of alcohol consumption at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house.

The statute says no one can make students perform any unauthorized act that results in bodily har…