All posts by Nick DeSantis


Westfield State’s Ex-President Drops Lawsuit Against State Official and Trustees

Evan S. Dobelle, a former president of Westfield State University, has agreed to drop a federal lawsuit he filed against the Massachusetts institution’s Board of Trustees and the state’s higher-education commissioner. Mr. Dobelle had accused the state official and the trustees, who put him on leave amid questions about his spending practices, of conspiring to destroy his reputation.

Ross H. Garber, Mr. Dobelle’s lawyer, said in a statement cited by The Republican that the cost of continuing the legal fight was “simply too great.”

In November 2013, Mr. Dobelle said he would retire as the university’s president, after drawing scrutiny over his expenses. The state is suing him in an attempt to recoup public money that Mr. Dobelle allegedly misspent.

The resignation came amid harsh public criticism over dozens of domestic and international trips taken by Dobelle during his nearly six-year tenure, including visits to Asia, Europe, Central American and 17 trips to San Francisco.

By late 2013, two state agencies were investigating Dobelle’s spending and Freeland had successfully recommended the freezing of $2 million in campus funding.

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U. of Colorado to Pay Suspended Male Student $15,000 to Settle Title IX Suit

The University of Colorado at Boulder has agreed to pay $15,000 to a male student who filed a Title IX lawsuit after being suspended in connection with a campus sexual-assault case, the Daily Camera reported.

The university agreed not to name the student, who was identified in the lawsuit only as “John Doe,” and will not disclose the details of his disciplinary record without his consent. He had been serving a three-semester suspension after being found responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse and nonconsensual sexual contact.

The agreement ends his suspension as of Saturday. He had argued that he was wrongly accused after a night of consensual sex.

CU’s chief legal officer Patrick O’Rourke said the agreement was a business decision.

“The amount of the settlement reflects on the value of the claims, and we believe an agreement that saves the university tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs was a prudent use of the university’s resources,” he said.

An attorney for John Doe applauded the settlement agreement and said the student can now “move on.”

“Our client’s integrity is intact, his transcript is clean and he will now be able to move on with his life without Jane Doe’s false allegations holding him back,” said Kimberly Lau of Nesenoff and Miltenberg, a New York City-based law firm.

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Southern U. Board Consolidates Posts of System President and Chancellor

Southern University’s Board of Supervisors on Friday approved a measure to combine the roles of its system president and the chancellor of its Baton Rouge campus. The decision came as Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is eyeing sharp cuts in the state’s public colleges, which have already seen their state support fall during his tenure.

In 2012 the governing board of the Louisiana State University system approved a similar consolidation, merging the top leadership posts of the system and the flagship Baton Rouge campus.

The newly combined position will be effective on July 1; one day after Southern University System President Ron Mason Jr.’s contract expires.One year ago, the board decided to cut ties with former Baton Rouge campus Chancellor James Llorens, which was followed up with a decision several months later to not renew Mason’s contract, setting a path to create the dual position.

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Canadian Regulator Shuts Down 14 Everest College Campuses

The government of Ontario has shut down 14 campuses of Everest College, whose U.S.-based parent company, Corinthian Colleges, collapsed last year while under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Education. On Thursday the regulator that oversees Everest revoked the chain’s license to operate. The National Association of Career Colleges, a nonprofit group that represents career colleges in Canada, told the CBC that it hoped to work with the province to limit the damage to the more than 2,400 students who attend Everest institutions in Ontario.

Corinthian Colleges, which owns Everest College in Canada, said in an email to CBC News that it was surprised by the move, because “we have been working with the ministry for the past several weeks and months to determine our best path forward.”

It added: “This means that all instruction at Everest College of Canada campuses is terminated effective today.”

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Saint Louis U.’s President Defends Plan to Erect Statue in Wake of Protests

Fred P. Pestello, president of Saint Louis University, on Thursday defended a plan to erect a statue on the campus that would capture the spirit of a days-long protest last fall that arose amid broader unrest in the area over the police killings of young black men.

The agreement that ended that protest, known as the Clock Tower Accords, angered some conservatives who criticized the proposed artwork as anti-police.

“Contrary to some reports, it was never our intention to—or will we—commission artwork that would be anti-police or would honor the Ferguson protesters,” Mr. Pestello said. “Those reports are just wrong.”

He said the university was “proud to be the first historically white institution of higher education in a former slave state to formally admit African-American students.”

After six days, Pestello negotiated a 13-point agreement with three groups that helped organize the protest – Tribe X, the Black Student Alliance and the Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equality.

The agreement, now known as the Clock Tower Accords, marked the end of the Occupy SLU protest.

The agreement sparked a strong backlash on conservative websites, social media and with some alumni. Among the most contentious items on the list was the artwork.

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California Halts State Grants for Students at Corinthian’s Heald College

The California Student Aid Commission has halted state-tuition grants known as Cal Grants to students attending Heald College campuses of the troubled for-profit educator Corinthian Colleges Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move came after administrators at Heald’s 10 California locations failed to provide the commission with updated and audited financial statements. The cutoff is said to affect nearly 4,500 Heald students, though not ones who attend Heald institutions in Hawaii and…


Grand Jury Declines to Indict U. of Kentucky Athlete on Rape Charge

A grand jury in Kentucky has declined to indict a University of Kentucky football player who was suspended from the team last fall after being charged with rape.

Lloyd Tubman, a freshman defensive end, had been arrested and charged in October and pleaded not guilty. The Fayette County commonwealth’s attorney, Ray Larson, said on Wednesday that the grand jury had decided not to return an indictment. He added that Mr. Tubman would face no more charges from the local prosecutor’s office.

The grand jury heard all the evidence in the case during closed proceedings over three days in Fayette Circuit Court, including testimony from investigators, the alleged victim and Tubman, Larson said, before deliberating and deciding not to return an indictment.”They listened to all the evidence and based on what they heard and saw, for whatever reason they chose, they chose not to return the indictment,” Larson said.He added: “The case that we have is now disposed of by no indictment.”

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Illinois Lawmakers Will Put College Leaders’ Pay Under the Microscope

The higher-education committee of the Illinois State Senate on Tuesday sent letters to the presidents of the state’s public colleges, seeking details about the compensation of senior administrators within the last 10 years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Democrats in the Senate are expected to announce on Wednesday the creation of a new subcommittee on executive compensation. The colleges were given a deadline of February 17 to respond to the requests.

The lawmakers’ demands came on the heels o…


Sit-In at U. of Minnesota Ends With Arrests

A group of student activists at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities staged a sit-in on Monday at the office of the university’s president, citing concerns about a lack of diversity on the campus, according to news reports.

The students presented a list of demands that included, among other things, putting more emphasis on racial and ethnic diversity in hiring practices and providing more money for the university’s ethnic-studies program, the Star Tribune reported.

In a statement released Mon…


How Reviews on ‘Rate My Professors’ Describe Men and Women Differently

Easy or demanding? Boring or engaging? And what about homework?

The student-evaluation site Rate My Professors contains a huge stockpile of information about what college students think of their instructors. And thanks to a new tool created by a Northeastern University professor, those millions of reviews can be mined to reveal students’ biases about male and female professors.

Benjamin M. Schmidt, an assistant professor of history at Northeastern, spoke to The New York Times about his interacti…