Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Judge Rejects Proposed Merger of U. of Baltimore and Morgan State U.

A proposal to merge the University of Baltimore and Morgan State University has been rejected by a federal judge who described it on Tuesday as “extreme,” The Baltimore Sun reports.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission and representatives of the state’s historically black colleges are engaged in mediation over claims that the state has underfunded the colleges and has allowed largely white colleges to duplicate their programs and thereby enroll students who might have attended the HBCUs inst…


UC-Berkeley Admits Liability in Death of Football Player During 2014 Practice

The University of California at Berkeley has admitted that the institution’s negligence substantially contributed to the death of a football player, Ted Agu, during an off-season conditioning session in 2014, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The player’s family sued the university for wrongful death, alleging that coaches and other personnel did not properly assist the player when he struggled during a vigorous workout, which involved groups of players holding a heavy rope…


Missouri Professor Who Accosted Journalist Reaches Deal to Avoid Prosecution

Melissa A. Click, the University of Missouri assistant professor who was charged with misdemeanor assault this week for her role in an altercation with a student journalist in November, must complete 20 hours of community service and not break the law for a year to avoid prosecution, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The Missouri system’s Board of Curators suspended Ms. Click on Wednesday, saying it would launch an investigation, and acknowledged the possibility of “additional discipline.” Fa…


Former Mizzou Chief Blames Others for Resignation in ‘Confidential’ Letter

Timothy M. Wolfe, the former president of the University of Missouri system who stepped down last year amid fierce protests over racism at the Columbia flagship, says in a newly disclosed “confidential” letter that many other parties were to blame for his resignation.

In the letter, sent by Mr. Wolfe to supporters and obtained by The Columbia Missourian, Mr. Wolfe blames R. Bowen Loftin, the former flagship chancellor, Gary Pinkel, the flagship’s head football coach, and some system board member…


Bar Association Investigates Bias Complaint at BYU Law School

The American Bar Association is investigating a complaint that Brigham Young University’s law school violates the group’s nondiscrimination guidelines by maintaining policies that allow the expulsion of students for being homosexual or for losing their Mormon faith before graduation. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that, upon entering the university, students sign a code of conduct affirming that they will not violate Mormon teachings, which also forbid drinking alcohol and having sex before marri…


Florida State to Pay $950,000 to Settle Title IX Suit by Quarterback’s Accuser

[Updated (1/25/2016, 6:39 p.m.) with more on the disposition of the settlement money.]

Florida State University will pay $950,000 to settle a federal Title IX lawsuit filed by a former student who said she had been raped by a star quarterback for the Seminoles, USA Today reports. The university also agreed to make a five-year commitment to prevention and training programs.

The plaintiff, Erica Kinsman, sued the university a year ago, and in August a judge rejected Florida State’s bid to dismiss …


Court Dismisses Some Criminal Charges Against Ex-President of Penn State

A Pennsylvania appeals court has thrown out charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy against Pennsylvania State University’s former president, Graham B. Spanier, involving his role in the Sandusky child-sex-abuse case.

The Associated Press reports that a three-judge panel on Friday ruled that Cynthia Baldwin, the university’s general counsel at the time of the scandal, should not have been allowed to testify before a grand jury against Mr. Spanier and two other administrators f…


Professors’ Union Bid at Private College Fails Under New Federal Standards

The National Labor Relations Board’s first application of new standards for determining whether private-college professors may unionize suggests that many such organizing efforts still face major hurdles.

Despite applying standards widely regarded as more union-friendly than those used by the board before, a regional NLRB official ruled on Tuesday that tenured and tenure-track faculty members at Carroll College, a Roman Catholic institution in Montana, are too involved in that institution’s ma…


Fired LSU Professor’s Lawsuit Challenges Federal Title IX Guidance

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge erred in relying on federal guidance on sexual harassment when it fired a tenured professor accused of subjecting students to obscene language and sexually explicit jokes, a new lawsuit challenging her dismissal argues.

The lawsuit asserts that Louisiana State based its decision to fire Teresa K. Buchanan, a tenured associate professor of curriculum and instruction, on an overly expansive definition of sexual harassment shaped by federal guidance that ov…


U. of Cincinnati Reaches $5.3-Million Settlement in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Man

The University of Cincinnati has agreed to a $5.3-million settlement with the family of a man shot and killed by a campus police officer during a traffic stop last year, the Associated Press reports. As part of the settlement, the 12 children of Samuel DuBose will receive free undergraduate tuition at the campus, and the university will issue an apology.

The shooting of Mr. DuBose, an unarmed African-American man, by Ray Tensing, the officer, in July inflamed tensions in Cincinnati and sparked a…