All posts by Nick DeSantis


Eastern New Mexico U. Drops Use of Tribal Name for Women’s Teams

Eastern New Mexico University’s Board of Regents on Friday voted to discontinue the use of a tribal name and symbol for the institution’s women’s sports teams. Eastern New Mexico had used the name “Zias” for its women’s teams since 1981, after the people of the Zia Pueblo. But the board decided to drop the name after students voted to discontinue its use.

The women’s teams will now be called the Greyhounds, sharing the name of the men’s teams. The regents’ action came at the request of the university’s president, Steven Gamble, who said a number of other groups had also supported the change.

According to Gamble, the University consulted the current women’s athletics teams on the issue, and he said they responded in a generally supportive matter.
“The Alumni Office sent out 11,000 emails, and approximately 1,400 to 1,500 people read those emails,” Gamble said. “The office received approximately 29 responses as of April 15, and the majority supported the discontinuation.”

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Sweet Briar Faculty Members Sue to Block College’s Closure

Fifty-six faculty members at Sweet Briar College have sued to block their institution from closing, The News & Advance, a newspaper in Lynchburg, Va., reported.

The lawsuit, filed in a state court, seeks $42 million in damages for tenured faculty members and an additional $2 million for nontenured faculty. It also asks the court to issue orders preventing the college from shutting down.

The women’s college, on a 3,250-acre campus near Lynchburg, announced suddenly last month that it would close in August, shocking many in the campus community and prompting the college’s supporters to begin an effort to keep the institution open.

The faculty lawsuit is the third legal action to challenge the college’s closure. The other two were filed by the Amherst County attorney and by a group of students, parents, and alumnae. In the county attorney’s lawsuit, a judge issued a 60-day injunction barring the college from using charitable contributions on the closure, but otherwise declined to stop the closure from proceeding.

The faculty complaint claims the “financial exigency” cited in their termination letters as the reason for the end of their employment does not exist.

The college, the complaint claims, is not facing insurmountable financial challenges.

The complaint points to “high scores in public reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Forbes, and the Council of Independent Colleges’ Financial Index,” among other evidence.

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U. of Md. Student Group Shelves Showings of ‘American Sniper’ After Complaints

A student group at the University of Maryland at College Park has pulled the film American Sniper from its spring lineup after a Muslim-student group complained that the movie glorifies violence and promotes negative stereotypes about Muslims, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The first student group, Student Entertainment Events, said on its website that it had decided to “postpone” showings on May 6 and 7 “after meeting with concerned student organizations.”

The group said it was exploring ways of “…


After Pressure From Lawmakers, 2-Year Campus in Conn. Will Stay Open

The head of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System said on Wednesday that a campus of Middlesex Community College that had been slated for closure in the face of proposed budget cuts would stay open after all, following intense pressure from members of the state’s legislature, The Connecticut Mirror reported.

The State Senate and House of Representatives recently passed legislation to block the proposed closure and to bar the system from closing any campus without the legislature’s approval. College administrators acted to close Middlesex’s Meriden Center campus without a vote by the state’s Board of Regents for Higher Education.

Gregory W. Gray, the head of the Connecticut system, said on Wednesday that the campus would remain open and that he was depending on the state to provide it with financial support.

Gray told reporters after the board meeting that the bill was “bad legislation,” saying that if a tornado hit Eastern Connecticut State University he would need the legislature’s approval to close the campus.

Asked about the future of the Meriden campuses if state funding is ultimately cut as the governor recommends, Gray said he will follow the law.

“We will somehow follow the statutes,” he said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not yet signed the bill, and it is unclear whether he will do so.

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Connecticut Lawmakers Act to Keep 2-Year Campus Open

State lawmakers in Connecticut have moved to block the controversial planned closure of a community-college branch campus, and have taken their efforts a step further by approving a requirement that no community-college campus be closed without their consent, the Hartford Courant reported.

The State Senate passed the bill last week, and the House of Representatives did so on Tuesday. The legislature’s action followed a plan to close the Meriden Center branch of Middlesex Community College, whi…


Wesleyan U. Expels 2 Students After Drug-Overdose Incident

Wesleyan University has expelled two students after 11 students overdosed on the synthetic party drug MDMA, popularly known as Molly, during a weekend in February, the Hartford Courant reports.

In a message to the campus, Michael J. Whaley, Wesleyan’s vice president for student affairs, said the use of illicit drugs was an “unacceptable detriment” to the university’s learning environment. His message did not identify the two students who had been dismissed.

Three other students were also accused of involvement in the incident. Their judicial process is continuing, and they are currently suspended.

Police arrested five students — Rama Agha al-Nakib, Eric Lonergan, Zachary Kramer, Andrew Olson and Abhimanyu Janamanchi — in connection with the incident in which 11 students overdosed on campus between Feb. 21 and Feb 22.

Whaley said in the letter that a task force of students, faculty, parents and alumni was created to look at both policy and education related to drugs. The task force will make recommendations to the school’s president and Whaley in the fall.

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Former Student Fatally Shoots Worker at 2-Year College in North Carolina

A 20-year-old former student at Wayne Community College, in Goldsboro, N.C., shot and killed a campus print-shop worker on Monday morning, the Associated Press reported.

The local sheriff said that law-enforcement officials were pursuing the suspect in the case, who was identified as Kenneth Morgan Stancil III. The authorities said Mr. Stancil had worked for the victim, Ron Lane, in a work-study program, but they have not released a motive for the shooting.

The college said it would close on Mon…


Ohio U. Scraps Deal With Donor on a New Home for Its President

Ohio University has scrapped plans to buy a $1.2-million new home for its president after the administration said it had discovered that the house’s owner had pledged to continue making good on a previous pledge and to make a future gift, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The university had leased the new home for the president, Roderick J. McDavis, while his traditional residence was undergoing renovations. That property was the site of a bat infestation. University officials signed a lease for t…


Ex-Professor at Yale School of Medicine Faces Accusations of Sex Harassment

A former professor of nephrology at Yale University’s medical school has been accused of sexual harassment while he was medical director of a dialysis clinic where physicians treat patients, The New York Times reports.

The professor, Rex L. Mahnensmith, worked at Yale for more than two decades. He was removed from practice at the university clinic in January 2014, the newspaper says, and forced from the faculty that April. Two federal lawsuits assert that he has a history of sexual misconduct.



U. of Miami Names Harvard Dean as Its Next President

The University of Miami on Monday named Julio Frenk, dean of the faculty at Harvard University’s public-health school, as its next president, the Miami Herald reports.

Dr. Frenk, 61, served as Mexico’s Minister of Health from 2000 to 2006. In its announcement of Dr. Frenk’s appointment, the University of Miami credited him with greatly expanding fund raising for Harvard’s public-health school, where he served as dean for six years. He will take office as Miami’s president in September, succeedin…