All posts by Nick DeSantis


In Maine, a System Chief Is Under Fire From Governor but Has Trustees’ Support

Trustees of the Maine Community College System are speaking out in support of the system’s president, John Fitzsimmons, despite Gov. Paul R. LePage’s call for his resignation.

Mr. Fitzsimmons has led the system since 1990, and several trustees told the Portland Press Herald that they were surprised at Mr. LePage’s actions. Governor LePage, a Republican, objected to the system’s decision to pull out of a program allowing high-school students to earn college credits before graduation, and said the system wasn’t moving quickly enough on a system for transferring credits to other colleges.

In a written statement on Tuesday, Mr. Fitzsimmons said he was “focused on serving the best interests of the 18,000 students, 900 faculty and staff, and businesses across the state who rely on our colleges.“

A spokeswoman for Mr. LePage told the newspaper that the governor had not changed his position on Mr. Fitzsimmons, despite trustees’ support for his leadership.

LePage first called on Fitzsimmons to resign on Friday, citing two issues: The system pulled out of a favorite LePage project, the Bridge Year Program, after only a year; and the system wasn’t moving fast enough on setting up a system for transferring credits between community college and other colleges, such as the University of Maine System.

In a statement Tuesday, Fitzsimmons said the system has resumed participating in the Bridge Year Program, which allows a high school student to earn college credits before graduation, and had made “very real progress” on the credit transfer issue.

Fitzsimmons in his statement said that the community college and university systems have been working on the credit transfer issue.

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Dixie State U. Returns Statue of Confederate Soldiers to Artist

Dixie State University, in Utah, has returned a controversial statue of Confederate soldiers to its artist, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

In 2012, when it was known as Dixie State College, the institution removed the artwork amid a debate over whether to keep the word “Dixie” in the college’s name. It has been the subject of controversy, with some people arguing that “Dixie” carries negative associations with the Confederacy. Supporters of the name say it honors the history of the region, …


U.S. Issues Guidance on Reporting Deals With Student-Aid Contractors

The U.S. Department of Education on Friday issued guidance to clarify colleges’ responsibilities for reporting deals with student-aid contractors, saying that a “significant number” of institutions had failed to report those relationships.

Colleges pay the contractors to perform such tasks as processing student-aid applications and disbursing aid. They are required to notify the department of their servicing contracts, but the department said last month that many colleges were not doing so. The …


Kaplan Will Pay $1.3-Million to Resolve Whistle-Blower Allegations

Kaplan Higher Education will pay about $1.3-million to resolve whistle-blower allegations that it hired unqualified instructors at its campuses in Texas, Reuters reported. Federal prosecutors said in a news release that, under the settlement, Kaplan did not admit liability.

Most of the money will be paid in the form of tuition refunds that will benefit 289 students.

“To avoid the expense of protracted litigation, we chose to settle this complaint,“ said Janice L. Block, Kaplan’s executive …


For-Profit Herzing U. Converts to Nonprofit Status

Herzing University, a for-profit educator that operates campuses in eight states and enrolls about 6,000 students, said on Friday that it had transitioned to nonprofit status, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The move means Herzing will no longer be subject to the oversight of Wisconsin’s Educational Approval Board, which two years ago floated a proposal that would have tightened standards that allow for-profit colleges to operate in the state. The board later shut down a committee that …


Boston Identifies Scores of Potentially Overcrowded Off-Campus Residences

Housing officials with the City of Boston have identified about 580 off-campus student residences that could be unsafe because of overcrowding. The findings were based on a new collection of university data following a Boston Globe investigation this year that found rampant overcrowding in the city’s college neighborhoods.

Boston’s City Council voted to require local colleges to provide students’ off-campus addresses after the newspaper’s investigation was published.

The city’s housing inspectors will examine whether students living in the properties identified as potentially unsafe are violating zoning rules. They will also determine whether the residences have other hazards, such as a lack of exits, that could pose an immediate threat to residents’ safety.

Boston University student Binland Lee died in Allston two years ago after a fire trapped her in an illegal attic apartment with only one way out, while another student was nearly killed in a separate fire on the same street three years ago.If city officials confirm there are unsafe apartments or too many students living together in one unit, they said they plan to work with students, landlords and universities to find alternative housing for the occupants.

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Former Faculty Leader Is Among 4 Facing Dismissal in Chapel Hill Scandal

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday disclosed that a former faculty leader was among four employees who had been fired, had resigned, or were in the process of being dismissed following revelations about the institution’s academic-fraud scandal, The News & Observer, a newspaper in Raleigh, N.C., reported.

The faculty leader is Jeannette M. Boxill, a philosophy lecturer and former head of a university ethics center who was found to have steered athletes into fake classes …


Harvard Law School’s Response to Sexual-Violence Cases Violated Title IX, U.S. Says

Harvard University’s law school has agreed to revise its policies for responding to complaints of sexual violence after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found that the school’s handling of such cases violated the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX.

The department announced on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with the law school to resolve an investigation by the civil-rights office. The department said that the pact did not resolve a separate investigat…


Labor Board Hands Pacific Lutheran U. Adjuncts a Win in Bid to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board has handed contingent faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University a major win in their bid to form a labor union, rejecting the university’s assertion that, as a religious institution, it is exempt from the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

The board’s decision is also significant because it refines the NLRB’s standard that is used to determine whether certain faculty members can be considered managerial employees and therefore denied union representation.

That question …


Judge Will Resign From Ohio State’s Board After Ethics Inquiry

A federal judge has agreed to resign as a member of Ohio State University’s Board of Trustees after an ethics commission found that he violated state rules by serving as a trustee and an adjunct professor at the university’s law school. Judge Algenon L. Marbley’s resignation is part of a settlement reached with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

The group said it had agreed to the settlement because it did not find that Judge Marbley had used his position to gain disproportionate compensation as a law professor. The commission’s inquiry began after Ohio State lawyers self-reported the judge’s position as a trustee and a paid professor.

In a statement, Marbley wrote that he has been “diligent in disclosing all information about my professional roles” at Ohio State, but that he is resigning “as a means of resolving any possible questions and laying this matter to rest.”

“Whether I agree with the commission’s final direction is not relevant,” he added. “I respect their authority, and I strive to assure that my conduct is viewed at all times as ethical and appropriate. That is why I act now to resolve this matter fully.”

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