All posts by Nick DeSantis


UConn Recognizes New Graduate-Assistant Union

The University of Connecticut has recognized a new union of graduate assistants that will represent more than 2,100 people. The agreement between UConn and the union covers negotiations on such matters as wages, hours, and working conditions, but not academic issues. The university said it was neutral toward the union drive.

A spokeswoman for the university said The UConn Board of Trustees and the administration stayed out of the students’ decision on unionizing.

“The University has been, and will continue to be, neutral with regard to this effort. Individual graduate students are free to make their own decisions. The University and its senior administrators will not seek to influence the decision of any GA,” said Stephanie Reitz in a statement.

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Faculty Members at Virginia Intermont College Vote No Confidence in Chief

Faculty members at Virginia Intermont College, in Bristol, Va., have voted no confidence in E. Clorisa Phillips, the institution’s president, the Bristol Herald Courier reported.

The no-confidence vote took place a few hours after Ms. Phillips announced that a proposed merger with Webber International University, in Babson Park, Fla., had fallen through. Virginia Intermont has also run into accreditation troubles over its finances and declining enrollments.

Grievances cited by faculty members in…


U. of Chicago Economist Wins John Bates Clark Medal for Work on Media

Matthew Gentzkow, a University of Chicago economist, has won the John Bates Clark Medal, the American Economic Association announced on Thursday.

The association honored Mr. Gentzkow for what it said were his contributions to “our understanding of the economic forces driving the creation of media products, the changing nature and role of media in the digital environment, and the effect of media on education and civic engagement.”

The medal recognizes American economists under the age of 40 who a…


Football Players at Minnesota State-Mankato End Protest of Coach

Football players at Minnesota State University at Mankato who this week refused to practice under their reinstated head coach have ended their protest. The coach, Todd Hoffner, was criminally charged for having videos of his naked children on his university-issued cellphone, but in 2012 he was cleared of those allegations. He was later fired for unspecified reasons.

The players’ protest followed an arbitrator’s ruling last week that the university should reinstate Mr. Hoffner. The players refused to practice on Wednesday, and read a statement saying that the team wanted to play for Aaron Keen, their interim coach.

One player, Sam Thompson, said the team had “received the answers we were looking for” at a meeting on Thursday with Mr. Hoffner.

The arbitrator ordered last week that Hoffner be reinstated. Thompson said the team understood it was obligated to accept Hoffner’s return, but it wanted to voice support for Keen and his player-friendly style. Keen, who coached the team to a 24-2 record in Hoffner’s absence, will remain with the Mavericks as associate head coach.

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Western Washington U. Chief Draws Fire for Remarks on Campus Diversity

Bruce Shepard, president of Western Washington University, has stirred controversy this week among conservative news organizations over statements he has made about campus diversity, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Campus Reform, a website that bills itself as dedicated to rooting out bias on college campuses, this week drew attention to a questionnaire on the university’s website asking “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today’?”

Conservative news …


Oscar Winner Is Out as Graduation Speaker Over Explicit Photos

Pasadena City College has decided not to invite Dustin (Lance) Black to serve as its commencement speaker after the college’s board learned of explicit photographs on the Internet of Mr. Black, an alumnus who won an Academy Award for the screenplay of the 2008 film Milk, according to the Pasadena City College Courier, the college’s student newspaper.

Anthony Fellow, the California college’s board chair, cited fears that having Mr. Black as the graduation speaker would draw unwanted attention t…


Fired Athletic Director at Northern Kentucky U. Pleads Guilty to Theft

Scott Eaton, who was fired last spring as Northern Kentucky University’s athletic director, agreed to serve a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty on Thursday to stealing more than $300,000 from the institution. He will also be required to repay $311,125 to the university. The college fired Mr. Eaton for having improper relationships with five women, one of whom was a student. Geoffrey S. Mearns, Northern Kentucky’s president, said that Mr. Eaton’s plea “brings closure to an unfortunate, but very isolated, incident” at the university.

Eaton has been working at a local warehouse. His attorney, Ben Dusing, said Eaton is unable to pay restitution to NKU right now but will continue to try to make payments.

Dusing called it “a harsh sentence.”

“He’s not happy about the situation, obviously, but he’s happy to begin the process of healing,” Dusing said. “He regrets his actions.”

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U. of Maine System Official’s Raise Draws Scrutiny Amid Budget Crunch

The University of Maine system’s top financial officer this year received a $40,000 raise, and some critics are questioning that pay increase at a time when the system is trying to close a $36-million budget gap.

Rebecca Wyke, the system’s vice chancellor for finance and administration, received the raise in January. Her new annual salary, $205,000, was posted on the system’s website last week as part of a twice-a-year salary report.

James H. Page, the Maine system’s chancellor, said she had received the raise because she was a finalist for a job at another higher-education institution. The system’s Board of Trustees also supported her pay increase.

Jerry LaSala, a physics professor at the University of Southern Maine who leads the institution’s Faculty Senate, said he found it “shocking.” Students and faculty members at Southern Maine had protested proposed faculty layoffs that were rescinded this month.

“It’s a significant increase, there’s no question about it. And in a time of austerity, things like this come under increased scrutiny,” Page said Wednesday. “Certainly, there are people that will disagree with my decision. I think it was the right decision.”

As the university system’s top financial officer, Wyke is now overseeing efforts to close a $36 million funding gap, the result of flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes.

UMaine System spokeswoman Peggy Leonard said Wyke was not available for comment Wednesday.
As the university system’s top financial officer, Wyke is now overseeing efforts to close a $36 million funding gap, the result of flat state funding, declining enrollment and tuition freezes.

UMaine System spokeswoman Peggy Leonard said Wyke was not available for comment Wednesday.

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Virginia Supreme Court Rules for UVa and Climate Scientist in Records Suit

The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a conservative group’s attempt to obtain the records of a climate scientist and former professor at the University of Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

The case focused on whether the state’s open-records law exempted a range of documents deemed by the university to be proprietary. The American Tradition Institute, a conservative advocacy group, had sought records of Michael E. Mann, a former Virginia professor who now directs Pennsylvania…


Judge Dismisses Claims Against East Stroudsburg U. in Sex-Harassment Suit

A federal judge has dismissed claims against East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and some of its former top officials in a lawsuit alleging that the university responded inadequately to reports of sexual harassment by a former vice president.

A 2009 lawsuit alleged that the former vice president, Isaac W. Sanders, offered grants and scholarships to male students and then made unwanted sexual advances toward them. The suit also said that the university did not properly investigate the allegations against Mr. Sanders, and accused some top officials of covering up the complaints.

Judge Robert D. Mariani of the U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pa., dismissed the claims against the university and other former officials who had been named as defendants. Judge Mariani allowed some of the claims against Mr. Sanders to move forward to trial.

The investigation into Mr. Sanders led to a precedent-setting decision in 2010 over whether the university’s foundation could be forced to disclose donor and other records.

“We are pleased with the ruling, which basically dismissed the claims against the university and former President (Dillman),” said Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education spokesman Kenn Marshall. “My understanding is the only thing that’s left are the charges against Isaac Sanders himself.”

Dillman did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday evening.

Albert Murray, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he is exploring the possibility of an appeal.

“What can I say? That’s how the judge ruled,” Murray said.

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