All posts by Nick DeSantis


College Settles Long-Running Fight That Had Roots in Palm-Tree Controversy

MiraCosta College, a two-year institution in Oceanside, Calif., and three of its former trustees have settled a long-running dispute with a former president of the college that was prompted in part by a palm-tree scandal on the campus, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

In 2007, MiraCosta’s Board of Trustees bought out the contract of Victoria Muñoz Richart, the college’s president at the time, amid fallout from a controversy over the illegal sale of thousands of palm trees.

The scandal promp…


Consumer Agency in New York City Investigates 4 For-Profit Colleges

New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs is investigating four for-profit colleges over how those institutions recruit students, and their dropout and loan-default rates, The New York Times reported.

The agency issued subpoenas to four local institutions: Berkeley College, Mandl School, New York Career Institute, and Technical Career Institutes. Agency officials told the newspaper that the colleges had been singled out for their high loan-default rates and because students had complained a…


Sojourner-Douglass College Could Become Part of For-Profit Stratford U.

Officials at Stratford University, a for-profit institution based in Virginia, told The Sun that they had reached an agreement that would establish the troubled Sojourner-Douglass College, which lost its accreditation last year, as part of Stratford’s system.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education in February rejected Sojourner-Douglass’s appeal of the commission’s decision to revoke the Baltimore college’s accreditation. Richard R. Shurtz, Stratford’s president, told the newspaper that a formal announcement about the agreement would be made this month, and that the college’s faculty and staff would have to reapply for their jobs.

In 2011, Stratford took over another Baltimore institution, Baltimore International College, which had also lost its accreditation.

“We’ve been contacted by students and so many people,” Shurtz said. “The community at large needed to know at least there’s a movement forward.”

Sojourner-Douglass President Charles Simmons did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

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Archivists Suspended in Records-Leak Case Won’t Return to U. of Oregon

Two archivists at the University of Oregon who had been placed on leave after a cache of confidential records was released to a professor will not be returning to their jobs, The Oregonian reports.

University officials had described the release of the records as unlawful. A lawyer for William T. Harbaugh, an economics professor who had received the documents, returned the records to the university in late January. Mr. Harbaugh runs the blog UOMatters and has been a vocal advocate for transparenc…


Audit Finds ‘Serious Ethical Issues’ in U. of Minnesota’s Handling of Drug-Trial Suicide

The office of Minnesota’s legislative auditor on Thursday criticized the University of Minnesota’s handling of the case of a schizophrenia patient who committed suicide while participating in a drug trial at the university, saying the case involved “serious ethical issues and numerous conflicts of interest,” the Pioneer Press reported.

The criticisms in the auditor’s report build on those in an external review of the institution’s research practices that was made public last month. A report on t…


University Removes Honor for Man It Says Didn’t Deliver on $3-Million Pledge

Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne has removed the name of a businessman from a pedestrian bridge after the institution said he failed to deliver on a $3-million pledge, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Ind., reported. Donald Willis’s contribution was to have helped offset the cost of the bridge, and was to have provided for scholarships and the establishment of an endowed chair.

The last payment was received in 2006. Scholarships were awarded for several years, but the endowed chair was never established.

Mr. Willis and his wife declined to comment on the matter.

Colleen Dixon, director of advancement services at IPFW, said the investor has not made good on his promise. The last payment the university received was in 2006, she said. Willis was to have finished paying the monetary gift next year.“His intentions were always good,” Dixon said, “but at some point, you have to follow through.”

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Defunct Career College’s Founders Get Jail in Fraud Case

A federal judge in Ohio has sentenced the co-founders of a defunct career college to jail for their roles in a fraud involving millions of financial-aid dollars, the Canton Repository reported.

John Richard Ceroni and Adale M. Ceroni pleaded guilty last year to charges related to mail fraud and money laundering. They were accused of buying fake high-school diplomas for students they had recruited to attend Carnegie Career College, then using the documents to apply for financial aid on the studen…


Citing Threats, UC-Irvine Cancels Meeting on Flag Controversy

The University of California at Irvine on Tuesday cited “a viable threat of violence” in its decision to cancel of a meeting to discuss a recent controversy over a decision by part of the student government to ban flags, including the American one, from an office lobby, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The decision to ban the flags, by the Legislative Council of the Associated Students of the University of California, Irvine, sparked an uproar. That group’s action was later vetoed by another br…


U. of California to Cap Out-of-State Enrollments at Berkeley and UCLA

The University of California’s president, Janet Napolitano, said on Tuesday that the institution would cap out-of-state enrollments on the system’s Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses and would not expand enrollments of in-state students unless the state provided more money.

Ms. Napolitano has been negotiating with Gov. Jerry Brown over her plan to raise tuition by as much as 5 percent over the next five years to make up for lower-than-expected state support. Out-of-state enrollments will not be capped on the state’s seven other undergraduate campuses.

An unprecedented 20% of this year’s freshman class across UC is from outside California and about 30% at UCLA and UC Berkeley. Though UC officials insist that Californians are not being excluded to make room for non-residents, many parents and legislators believe that UC has admitted far too many students from outside the state and are concerned that the practice hurts in-state students’ chances for admission.

“I also appreciate the concern about the level of non-resident student enrollment. As you know, non-resident enrollment—and the additional tuition those students pay—allow us to enroll more in-state students,” Napolitano said.

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Review Finds Flaws in U. of Minnesota’s Handling of Vulnerable Human Subjects

An external review of the University of Minnesota’s research practices has found flaws in its handling of human subjects, particularly patients who are at risk of impaired decision making or are otherwise vulnerable, the Pioneer Press reports.

The release on Friday of a report describing the review’s findings followed years of controversy over the death of Dan Markingson, a schizophrenia patient who was participating in a drug trial at the university. Mr. Markingson committed suicide in 2004 at …