Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Harvard Law Professors Support Alan Dershowitz Against Sex-Abuse Allegation

Three dozen Harvard law professors have come to the defense of Alan M. Dershowitz, an emeritus professor at the university’s law school, as he stands accused in court filings of having had sex with a minor in a high-profile sex scandal, The Boston Globe reports.

In a statement released on Friday, the 36 lawyers—who include such prominent figures as Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and Laurence H. Tribe—take issue with how the sex-abuse accusation was brought against Mr. Dershowitz, in a lawsuit in wh…


Quinnipiac U.’s Treatment of Depressed Student Violated Law, Justice Dept. Says

Quinnipiac University will pay a student more than $30,000 after the U.S. Department of Justice found that it had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it placed her on mandatory medical leave after she sought help for depression, The Hartford Courant reports. The payment to the student, a junior who has not been identified publicly, comprises $17,000 for distress and $15,126 to pay her tuition.

A complaint filed with the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012 asserted that the Connecticut u…


Former Student’s Free-Speech Case Is Revived by Federal Court

A lengthy free-speech lawsuit will proceed after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit revived its First Amendment component on Monday, sending the case to a lower court for trial.

Thomas Hayden Barnes, a former student at Valdosta State University, in Georgia, sued its president, Ronald M. Zaccari, and other administrators in 2008 for expelling him after he protested plans to build two parking garages. In 2013 a federal jury awarded Mr. Barnes $50,000 after a district court determined …


Penn State and NCAA Reportedly Seek a Deal That Would Restore 111 Paterno Wins

Pennsylvania State University is reportedly seeking a settlement with the NCAA over penalties the association imposed for the institution’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the settlement could include restoring 111 wins that had been stripped from Coach Joe Paterno’s record, and designating the $60-million fine against the university to be used for child protection within Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said two alumni-e…


Woman Alleging Rape by U. of Oregon Basketball Players Sues College and Coach

The woman who accused three University of Oregon basketball players of raping her has sued the college and its head basketball coach, Dana Altman, The Register-Guard reports.

The student, identified as Jane Doe in the complaint, alleges that the college and the coach made winning games a higher priority than investigating her claim that she was assaulted by the three players, who have since left the university.

The lawsuit also argues that the college should have known of the threat posed by one…


Star Quarterback’s Accuser Says Florida State U. Violated Sex-Bias Law

The woman who accused Florida State University’s star quarterback of sexually assaulting her has filed a federal complaint against the university, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The woman, identified in the complaint as Jane Doe, says the university violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by not appropriately investigating her case.

The woman alleges that Jameis Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012. The incident attracted national attention last year, when The New York Ti…


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 …


Florida State U. Quarterback Is Cleared in Sexual-Assault Case

Jameis Winston, the star quarterback of the Florida State University football team, has been cleared of accusations that he violated the student code of conduct in a case involving an alleged sexual assault.

Major B. Harding, a former chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, said on Sunday that the evidence was “insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof.” The jurist held a two-day hearing on the case this month. Possible penalties against Mr. Winston ranged from reprimand to expulsion.

The …


Fired Faculty Activist Settles Lawsuit Against Community College in Texas

A tenured professor who was fired from his job at the College of the Mainland after years of clashing with the administration has settled a lawsuit against the Texas institution, the Houston Chronicle reported. Neither side disclosed the terms of the settlement.

The professor, David Michael Smith, had accused the college of retaliating against him for filing two previous free-speech lawsuits and helping colleagues challenge the administration’s actions. The college said he had been dismissed for…


U. of Missouri’s Victory Stands in Fight to Withhold Teacher-Prep Syllabi

The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling allowing the University of Missouri system to withhold course syllabi from the National Council on Teacher Quality, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports. In August the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District ruled that the syllabi were the intellectual property of the faculty and therefore exempt from the state’s open-records law.

The council’s request for the syllabi is part of an effort to rank teacher…