Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


3 Key Findings in Chapel Hill’s Academic-Fraud Investigation

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday announced the findings of a long-awaited, independent investigation into academic fraud in its department of African and Afro-American studies. The comprehensive, 136-page report tells a gripping narrative full of new revelations in the prolonged scandal. The findings take aim at a number of people at Chapel Hill who have previously been implicated in the scandal but who have denied any knowledge of or role in the alleged fraud.

Here a…


University Paid $4.5-Million in Legal Fees for Fatal Lab Fire at UCLA

The University of California paid nearly $4.5-million in legal fees to defend itself and a UCLA professor in the case of a 2008 lab fire that left one dead, the Los Angeles Times reports. Records obtained by the Times show that nearly five dozen lawyers and other staff members billed the university for upwards of 7,700 hours of work on the case.

On December 29, 2008, a chemical ignited and burned a 23-year-old research assistant, Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji, who died 18 days later. The professor …


Free-Speech Lawsuit About Student’s Remarks on Lesbianism May Proceed

A free-speech lawsuit in which a former student at the University of New Mexico has accused it of blasting her views on lesbianism may proceed in court, a federal judge ruled last month. The Albuquerque Journal reports that Judge M. Christina Armijo of the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque denied the university’s motion to dismiss the case, which was filed last year by Monica Pompeo.

The case stems from a film critique Ms. Pompeo completed as part of a class in 2012. In the critique, she called…


College Paid Oscar Winner $26,050 Not to Sue Over Commencement Flap

Pasadena City College agreed to pay an Academy Award-winning screenwriter $26,050 not to take legal action after the college canceled—but later restored—his invitation to be its commencement speaker last spring, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Explicit photographs of the screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, an alumnus of the Pasadena college, were posted online earlier this year, prompting the college to revoke an informal invitation for him to speak on the campus in May. Mr. Black threatened legal …


Former Athletes File Antitrust Suit Against TV Networks

A group of former college football and basketball players has sued major television networks and athletic conferences, saying they have illegally used the athletes’ names and images in violation of antitrust laws, USA Today reports. Amid a flood of lawsuits aimed at clearing the way for college athletes to be compensated, this suit is the first to name television networks as defendants.

According to USA Today, the defendants include “nearly all of the national over-the-air and cable television n…


Christian-College Group Settles Suit by President Who Was Fired Abruptly

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities has reached a settlement with a former president, Edward O. Blews Jr., who sued the group after he was unexpectedly ousted, in October 2013.

Among other things, Mr. Blews alleged in the lawsuit that the council did not have grounds to dismiss him, and that the way it handled the dismissal violated the terms of his contract.

According to a news release from the council, both sides agreed to keep the terms of the settlement confidential. But the …


Estate of ‘the Duke’ Loses Trademark Lawsuit Against Duke U.

A federal judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit, filed by the estate of the late actor John Wayne, that asked for approval to use the name “Duke” to market certain alcoholic beverages, the Associated Press reports.

Over the past nine years, Duke University, in North Carolina, has protested such usage, saying it implies a link between the estate and the university. Mr. Wayne was known as “the Duke.”

But Judge David O. Carter of the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., dismissed the su…


Felony Charges Are Dropped Against Former Tutor at Chapel Hill

A district attorney has dropped all charges against a former tutor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has been at the center of the athletics scandal there, WRAL-TV reports.

Orange County’s district attorney, Jim Woodall, has dropped four felony charges of agent-athlete inducement against Jennifer W. Thompson, the former tutor, who was accused of helping to provide improper benefits to a handful of football players.

The case of Ms. Thompson, formerly known as Jennifer Wiley, …


Ousted Band Director Sues Ohio State U. Over Firing

The former marching-band director at Ohio State University has sued the institution for firing him after an investigation found a “sexualized culture” in the band, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The lawsuit asserts that the university violated Jonathan Waters’s due-process rights when it fired him, in July. It also says Mr. Waters was discriminated against because of his gender. Mr. Waters is seeking his job back and at least $1-million.

Alumni of the band have decried Mr. Waters’s firing, even …


Court Agrees to Expedite NCAA’s Appeal in O’Bannon Antitrust Case

A federal appeals court has agreed to expedite the NCAA’s appeal in the case O’Bannon v. NCAA, reports USA Today. The NCAA and the plaintiffs in the landmark case filed a joint motion last Friday asking that the appeal be put on a fast track so an appellate ruling can precede the permanent injunction that was ordered to take effect in 2015 by Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court in Oakland.

In her decision, handed down in August, Judge Wilken ruled that NCAA policies barring college a…