Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


N.C. State Settles Free-Speech Lawsuit by Revising Disputed Policy

A Christian student group has withdrawn a lawsuit alleging that North Carolina State University administrators violated the group’s free-speech rights after the university revised a disputed policy, The News & Observer reported.

Under the policy, the Christian group was required to obtain a permit to speak or distribute its literature on the campus.

A federal judge last month ordered the university to temporarily cease enforcing its policy while the lawsuit by the student group, Grace Christian …


Yale Rehires Worker Who Smashed Window Depicting Slavery

[Updated (7/19/2016, 8:47 p.m.) with word that Mr. Menafee has accepted Yale's offer to return to work.]

Yale University says it is willing to rehire an employee who last month intentionally broke a stained-glass window depicting slaves, and late Tuesday the former worker accepted Yale’s offer.

Corey Menafee, a dishwasher in the university’s Calhoun College dining hall, resigned on June 21 after he destroyed the window, which had an image of slaves carrying cotton bales that he found offensive….


U. of Oregon Settles With Whistle-Blowers Who Protested Handling of Student’s Therapy Records

A lawsuit against the University of Oregon by two former employees, who said the institution had viewed an alleged rape victim’s therapy records without her consent, was settled on Sunday, The Oregonian reported on Monday.

Jennifer Morlok and Karen Stokes, who worked in the university’s counseling center, will be paid a total of $425,000 under the settlement agreement.

Ms. Morlok and Ms. Stokes said in their lawsuit that co-workers had retaliated against them after they protested the university’…


Indiana Governor, Trump’s VP Choice, Backed Controversial ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, whom Donald J. Trump named on Friday as his vice-presidential running mate, may be best known in academe for his support of a controversial “religious freedom” law last year that critics said amounted to a license to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

Advocates of the law, formally the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, argued that it was intended only to protect religious liberty. But colleges and universities across Indiana, both…


U. of Tennessee to Pay $2.48 Million to Settle Title IX Lawsuit

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville agreed on Tuesday to pay $2.48 million to settle a federal lawsuit in which it was accused of violating the Title IX gender-equity law in how it responded to alleged sexual assaults by six athletes against eight women, The Tennessean and the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

As part of the settlement, which needs a federal judge’s approval to go into effect, the university also agreed to convene a special independent commission to look into how all campus…


Judge Tosses Ex-Fraternity Members’ Defamation Suit Against ‘Rolling Stone’

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine that had been brought by three former members of a fraternity at the University of Virginia, the Associated Press reported. The plaintiffs had sued the magazine over a 2014 article, since debunked, that described a gang rape at the campus’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

The accusation rocked the campus, but the police in Charlottesville, Va., said their investigation had found no evidence to corroborate th…


Why Twitter Is Calling Abigail Fisher ‘Becky With the Bad Grades’: A Brief Explainer

After the Supreme Court upheld the use of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin in a 4-to-3 decision on Thursday morning, Twitter did what Twitter does best: generated a pop-culture mashup.

The hashtag #BeckyWithTheBadGrades started trending. It refers both to Abigail N. Fisher, the white female student who sued to overturn the university’s affirmative-action policy after she was denied admission, and to a Beyoncé lyric from the song “Sorry” off her most recent album, Le…


3 Key Takeaways From the Supreme Court’s Decision on Race-Conscious Admissions

To many observers, the Supreme Court’s 4-to-3 decision on Thursday that upheld the use of race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin came as a surprise.

Even inside the court, it seems: “Something strange has happened,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito in the first line of his dissent, “since our prior decision in this case.” In 2013 the court ruled that a lower court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, had not applied enough scrutiny to Austin’s admissions program…


Supreme Court Upholds Use of Race-Conscious Admissions at U. of Texas

[Updated (6/23/2016, 12:42 p.m.) with reactions.]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, putting an apparent end to one of the most closely watched cases in higher education.

Read the opinion.

The plaintiff in the case, Abigail N. Fisher, had accused the Austin campus in 2008 of discriminating against her after she was denied admission. She subsequently graduated from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

The 4-to-3…


Former U. of Virginia Student Challenges Education Dept.’s Title IX Guidance

A University of Virginia law-school graduate sued the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday over the department’s guidance on the gender-equity law known as Title IX, The Washington Post reports.

The student, whom the lawsuit identified only as John Doe, was accused of and found responsible for sexual misconduct. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is backing his lawsuit, which is the latest to take aim at federal Title IX guidance.

Among other things, the new complaint raises o…