All posts by Heidi Landecker


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…


San Jose State U. Expels 3 Students for Racially Harassing Freshman

San Jose State University has expelled three white students who were charged with bullying a black freshman with racial epithets and displays, the San Jose Mercury News reported. A fourth student’s suspension was extended, and he was ordered to attend counseling. The three expelled students are barred for life from attending any California State University campus.

The four were suspended last fall pending the resolution of criminal and university disciplinary proceedings against them for reporte…


Condoleezza Rice Opts Out of Rutgers U. Graduation

Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush and is now a professor at Stanford University, has decided not to speak at the graduation ceremony at Rutgers University, following a protest by students and the faculty. The objections involved Secretary Rice’s role in the war in Iraq, waterboarding, and other controversies of the Bush administration.

Saying that “commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the students and their families,” Ms. Rice to…