All posts by Nick DeSantis


Legal Fight Over U. of Kansas Lecturer’s Records Is Settled

A legal dispute over a University of Kansas student’s effort to obtain the records of a lecturer who previously worked for the conservative Koch brothers has been settled, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The lecturer, Arthur Hall, is director for the university’s Center for Applied Economics. He had previously served as chief economist of the public-sector group of Koch Industries Inc. Schuyler Kraus, who is president of a campus group called Students for a Sustainable Future, had submitt…


South Carolina State U. Will Pay $332,500 to Settle Ex-President’s Suit

South Carolina State University will pay $332,500 to settle a former president’s breach-of-contract lawsuit, The State reported. The historically black institution fired the former president, Thomas J. Elzey, in March, after putting him on leave as the university was suffering from severe financial and accreditation problems. The university said the settlement did not pass judgment on Mr. Elzey’s performance as president, or the decision to dismiss him.


Rutgers Will Give Aid to Health Majors to Offset Tuition Increase

Rutgers University will offer scholarships to freshmen to offset the costs of a 60 percent increase in tuition that some students said surprised them, NJ Advance Media reported.

Tuition rates for some majors in the health professions were expected to jump to $552 per credit, up from $345 per credit. The administration said the increase was necessary to get the rates closer to the cost of similar professional programs. But some students complained that they did not receive enough notice about the…


Embattled Head of Connecticut’s College System Will Step Down

Gregory W. Gray will step down in December as president of Connecticut’s Board of Regents for Higher Education, following a rocky tenure in which he clashed with faculty members across the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, the Connecticut Mirror reported.

Mr. Gray took office two years ago, succeeding the system’s first leader, Robert A. Kennedy, who resigned amid controversies over pay raises for his staff and other matters. Mr. Gray oversaw a plan to overhaul the system that …


Consumer Watchdog Scrutinizes Bridgepoint and Ashford U. Over Student Loans

Bridgepoint Education Inc. and its Ashford University are facing demands for information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in an investigation into whether for-profit educators or others are engaging in unlawful activities involving private student loans, the company said on Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bridgepoint said it and Ashford expected to provide documents and other information to the federal agency, which last month took action against…


Student Says He Lost Facebook Internship After Shedding Light on Privacy Flaws

A student at Harvard University says he lost an internship at Facebook after an application that he created revealed privacy flaws in the social-networking giant’s messaging app, The Boston Globe reported.

The student, Aran Khanna, created an extension for Google’s Chrome web browser that used data from Facebook Messenger to reveal where users were when they sent messages. Facebook asked him to disable the application and later said it had released an update to give users full control over how they share their location information. A Facebook spokesman said the company had been working on the update before Mr. Khanna began writing publicly about his application.

Facebook said the student’s application had scraped the network’s data in a way that violated the company’s policies. Mr. Khanna said the company rescinded its offer of a summer internship for violating its user agreement.

In the end, Khanna had a pretty great summer after all. He accepted another internship with a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. And, he said, the back-and-forth with Facebook turned out to be an “internship experience” in itself that taught him a great deal.

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U. of Texas to Move Jefferson Davis Statue to Campus History Center

The University of Texas at Austin will move a statue of the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, from its prominent position on the campus to a history center there, but will leave statues of other Confederate leaders in place, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The university is one of many that have recently been grappling with the question of what to do about Confederate symbols on their grounds. Those debates intensified after a mass shooting in June that took place inside a black ch…


U. of Illinois Trustees Reject Resignation Deal for Chancellor Phyllis Wise

The executive committee of the University of Illinois’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously rejected a resignation deal for Phyllis M. Wise, who quit last week as chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Ms. Wise’s sudden resignation capped a tumultuous year of controversies at the state’s flagship campus, including a long-lasting uproar over the decision to rescind a job offer to Steven G. Salaita, the university’s employment of a scholar who spent time in…


Centuries-Old Oak at U. of Florida Will Get the Ax, Despite Campaign to Save It

University of Florida officials have decided to cut down a 200-year-old bluff oak despite efforts by some students and faculty members to save the tree, which is nicknamed “Bert,” The Gainesville Sun reported.

Bert’s supporters have staged a social-media campaign to save the tree, which is one of several being removed to make room for a new engineering building. In April, those supporters won what would turn out to be a temporary reprieve, when a campus committee decided to require an architect to come up with an alternative to a plan to cut down the tree and dozens of others.

Curtis A. Reynolds, the university’s vice president for business affairs, said in a letter to the head of the committee that the alternative plans weren’t feasible. The university received $6 million from the State Legislature to help finance the project, but that amount fell far short of the $25 million that had been requested for the building in this year’s budget.

“In order to prepare for the earlier-than-usual legislative start date, and to avoid the possibility of construction cost increases, we have decided to move forward with the project,” Reynolds said.

The university will plant six new trees for every heritage tree cut down, and two to four new trees for all the other trees removed, Reynolds said. The university will also hire an arborist on retainer to give advice on future projects.

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Judge Rejects Florida State’s Bid to Dismiss Suit by Ex-Quarterback’s Accuser

A federal judge has denied Florida State University’s motion to dismiss a Title IX lawsuit brought by a former student who leveled a rape accusation at a star quarterback for the Seminoles, USA Today reported.

The plaintiff in the case, Erica Kinsman, sued the university in January. She accused the Florida State quarterback, Jameis Winston, who is now a rookie with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of assaulting her in December 2012. Mr. Winston was not charged criminally in connection with the allegations, and was found not responsible for sexual misconduct after a student disciplinary hearing.

Judge Mark E. Walker of the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday rejected the university’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. He had previously scheduled a trial date in the case for next year.

“In sum, FSU offers a different take on some of the facts in the complaint and additional facts that are not in the complaint in an attempt to show its efforts to respond were diligent and genuine, or at least not ‘clearly unreasonable’ under Title IX,” Walker wrote in his motion. “This Court does not resolve such factual disputes on a motion to dismiss.

“Viewed in the light most favorable to Ms. Kinsman, the complaint plausibly alleges deliberate indifference during this period that effectively denied her the ability to attend FSU.”

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