Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Judge Upholds $3-Million Award in Chicago State U. Whistle-Blower Case

An Illinois judge has denied the appeal of Chicago State University in a whistle-blower case that is set to cost the university $3-million, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In February a jury found that James Crowley, the university’s former senior legal counsel, had been fired for reporting misconduct by the university’s leadership. The jury awarded Mr. Crowley $2.5-million and ordered that he be given his job back. Later, Judge James P. McCarthy of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., increased…


FBI Raids 2 Campuses of Shuttered For-Profit College

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Tuesday raided two campuses of Anamarc College as well as the home of the shuttered for-profit institution’s owners, the El Paso Times reported.

The agents searched one of the college’s two campuses in El Paso, Tex., and its campus in Santa Teresa, N.M. The college closed in June because of financial troubles. It offered programs in medical fields and at one point enrolled more than 1,200 students on three campuses.

FBI officials said they were executing…


Court Sides With U. of Missouri in Fight Over Teacher-Prep Syllabi

A state appeals court has ruled that the University of Missouri system does not have to release course syllabi, as they are the intellectual property of the faculty and therefore exempt from the state’s open-records law, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.

The decision, handed down on Tuesday, is the latest chapter in a bid by the National Council on Teacher Quality to rank teacher-preparation programs by obtaining course syllabi and other materials from institutions nationwide. The group sued a…


Missouri Court Upholds Ex-Student’s Win in Suit Against Vatterott College

A Missouri appeals court has upheld a former student’s win in a lawsuit against Vatterott College, a for-profit institution that has campuses in that state and others in the Midwest, The Kansas City Star reported.

The student, Jennifer Kerr, had accused the college of deceiving her about the degree program in which she had enrolled. A jury last year awarded her $27,676 in actual damages and $13-million in punitive damages. A judge later reduced the $13-million award to about $2-million, to compl…


University Coalition Is Among Challengers to FAA’s Drone Rules

The Council on Governmental Relations, a coalition of 188 research universities, is one of three groups that on Friday filed lawsuits challenging recent regulations on unmanned flying machines, the Associated Press reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that the rules are an attempt to clarify what counts as a model aircraft and the limits on their operation. Professors have argued that the rules improperly restrict their ability to use drones for academic purposes.

Last year the…


U.S. Charges Kent State With Housing Bias for Refusing Student’s Therapy Dog

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday charged Kent State University and four of its employees with housing discrimination for refusing to allow a student to keep a therapy dog in her campus apartment, the Plain Dealer reported.

The department said in a news release that the charges stemmed from complaints filed by a Kent State student and her husband and a fair-housing advocacy group. The student suffered from “panic disorder and anxiety,” and a university psychologist …


Morgan State U. Settles Beating Lawsuit for $185,000

Morgan State University will pay $185,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that it failed to protect a Baltimore man who was badly beaten by an electrical-engineering student who later told the police that he had killed and cannibalized another man, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The student, Alexander Kinyua, pleaded guilty in the beating and the murder but was found not criminally responsible for either offense. He was committed to a psychiatric facility for treatment.

Lawyers for the university soug…


Westfield State U. Gets a Bill for a Car Rental by Its Ex-President

(Updated, 9:36 p.m., with the response from the former president’s lawyer and other editing changes.)

Near the end of his tenure as president of Westfield State University, Evan S. Dobelle was dogged by sharp criticism of his spending practices. On Monday The Republican, a Massachusetts newspaper, called attention to a new charge that Mr. Dobelle appeared to have billed to the university for a car rental in July, months after he resigned as Westfield State’s president.

But the $273.48 bill from…


Students, Faculty, and Alumni Challenge Cooper Union in Court

Advocates for the no-tuition policy established by Peter Cooper, founder of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Art and Science, on Friday asked a state judge in Manhattan to block the institution’s plan to start charging tuition this fall, The New York Times reported. The Committee to Save Cooper Union says the policy was part of the trust the founder established in 1859 and requires court approval to be changed. Lawyers for the trust say that it requires the college only to offer free nigh…


Insurer of Louisiana College Can Refuse to Cover Contraception, Judge Rules

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a Christian college in Louisiana does not have to comply with the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, reports The Town Talk, a newspaper in Alexandria, La.

U.S. District Court Judge Dee D. Drell ruled that Louisiana College’s insurance provider does not have to cover contraception methods that the institution deems “religiously offensive.”

The ruling reads, in part: “In the present case, Plaintiff has established a sincere religious belief th…