Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Judge Orders Texas Tech to Restore Professor’s Post

Texas Tech University must restore the teaching responsibilities of a professor who says his anti-tenure views cost him a deanship and an honorary-professor title, The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports. James C. Wetherbe had accused the university’s former provost, Robert Smith, of reducing his teaching load and failing to award him the Paul Whitfield Horn Professorship because of his outspoken views against tenure. Judge Ruben Reyes, of the 72nd District Court, ordered Texas Tech officials to a…


UVa Student Bloodied in Controversial Arrest Seeks to Have Charges Dropped

Martese Johnson, a 20-year-old rising senior at the University of Virginia, has asked that charges against him for public intoxication and obstruction of justice be dropped, The Washington Post reports. Cellphone videos of the arrest, which took place in the early hours of March 18, when students were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, showed Mr. Johnson with blood running down his face after Alcohol Beverage Control agents detained him outside an Irish bar. Daniel Watkins, Mr. Martese’s lawyer, sai…


2 Wesleyan U. Students Are Charged With Drug Deals That Led to Overdoses

[Updated (5/22/2015, 5:41 p.m.) with news of the students' court pleas and clarification that Wesleyan expelled five students, not two.]

A federal grand jury on Friday indicted two Wesleyan University students for what it said were their roles in selling illicit drugs on the Connecticut campus in recent years that led to a series of drug overdoses by students, The Hartford Courant reports.

The two students — Zachary Kramer, 21, of Bethesda, Md., and Eric Lonergan, 22, of Rio de Janeiro — wer…


W.Va. Court Shields Researcher’s Records on Health Effects of Mining

The West Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday shielded from disclosure a former West Virginia University researcher’s records of his work concerning the health effects of mountaintop-removal mining, The Charleston Gazette reported.

The scholar, Michael Hendryx, who is now a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington, led research that found that people living near mountaintop-removal mines faced higher risks of cancer and premature death. A mining company had sued the university for access to …


Temple U. Professor Is Charged With Offering China Sensitive Technology

The chairman of Temple University’s physics department has been charged in connection with an alleged scheme to provide China with sensitive U.S. defense technology, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that the professor, Xi Xiaoxing, had been indicted on four counts of wire fraud. He allegedly sought prestigious appointments in China in exchange for providing information about a device invented by a private American company.

The charges were announced …


Ohio Court Says Private-College Police Forces Are Subject to Open-Records Law

A sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that private-college police departments are subject to the state’s open-records law, the Associated Press reported.

In a 4-to-3 decision concerning an Otterbein University student journalist’s pursuit of campus-police records, the court said that a private entity could be considered a public office when it performs a governmental function.

“Here, the mere fact that Otterbein is a private institution does not preclude its police department fr…


Former Athletic Director Wins $140,000 in Lawsuit Against Alabama State U.

An Alabama judge has awarded a former athletic director at Alabama State University more than $140,000 in his wrongful-termination lawsuit against the university, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

The decision in favor of the former athletic director, Stacy Danley, comes six months after the historically black institution’s Board of Trustees rejected a settlement offer that would have seen Mr. Danley return to his position for the remainder of his contract. Mr. Danley was fired in 2012. A la…


Former Students Will Get a Seat at the Table in Corinthian’s Bankruptcy Case

Former students at Corinthian Colleges will be represented by a special committee in the for-profit’s bankruptcy case, The Wall Street Journal reports. The unusual step represents a win for the former students, who formally requested such representation on Monday.

The committee, which will begin taking shape on Thursday, will allow students to be involved in the negotiations over how to divvy up the company’s assets. Scott Gautier, a lawyer with Robins Kaplan LLP, a firm representing the student…


Dilemma at Columbia: Will a Symbolic Mattress Be Allowed at Commencement?

As graduation day approaches, officials at Columbia University face a dilemma: whether to allow a student who protests the university’s decision to exonerate a classmate she accused of rape to carry the symbol of her antirape art project — a mattress — to the commencement ceremony. The university hasn’t said what it will do, but The Wall Street Journal says students it talked to are sharply divided on the issue.

The accuser, Emma Sulkowicz, and the accused student, Paul Nungesser, are both sche…


2 Universities Suspend Free-Speech Rules After Lawsuits

Two universities this week put a halt to policies governing students’ speech after being sued by students allied with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, known as FIRE.

Dixie State University’s president, Richard B. Williams, wrote in an email to the campus on Monday that students would no longer need to get administrative approval to post fliers or hold events, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. In March, three students sued the university after being told they couldn’t post satirica…