Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


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…


Retired President Says U. of the Cumberlands Owes Him $395,000 a Year

A former president of the University of the Cumberlands and his wife sued the institution this week, saying it had threatened to not pay retirement benefits worth about $395,000 annually, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on Thursday.

James H. and Dinah Taylor asked a court on Wednesday to issue an injunction requiring the university to continue providing the couple’s benefits, and they are suing for breach of contract.

Mr. Taylor remains the chancellor of the university, a Baptist instituti…


Former President Sues Lake Michigan College, Asserting Wrongful Dismissal

Jennifer Spielvogel, a former president of Lake Michigan College, sued the college and its Board of Trustees on Friday, asserting that she had been wrongfully terminated, The Herald-Palladium reported on Wednesday.

Ms. Spielvogel was fired on May 5 in a unanimous vote of the board during a termination hearing. She had been suspended by the board since April 8. The trustees accused her of racking up $20,625 in unauthorized costs charged to the college and of creating a hostile work environment.



Accrediting Council Should Be Denied Recognition, Says Education Dept.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools should be denied renewed recognition, the U.S. Department of Education recommended on Wednesday.

The council, an accreditor of for-profit colleges, failed to meet several criteria for recognition as a gatekeeper for federal student aid, the department said. The accreditor did not provide information on how well graduates do on licensing examinations for employment and did not show that it could sustain “highly probable” long-term decli…


S.C. Governor Signs Bill to Publicize Fraternity and Sorority Misconduct

Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has signed into law a measure that requires the state’s public colleges and universities to publish reports of conduct violations involving alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, and hazing at fraternities and sororities, WYFF reported.

The law, known as the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act, will take effect at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. Ms. Haley, a Republican, signed it on Thursday.

The measure is named for a Clemson University student who was found de…


Former Basketball Captain Sues Yale Over Expulsion for Alleged Sex Assault

A former captain of Yale University’s men’s basketball team is suing the university in federal court over its decision to expel him in February after he was accused of sexual assault by another student.

The allegations against the player, Jack Montague, became the subject of controversy on the campus and cast a shadow over the team as it was competing in its first NCAA tournament in more than five decades.

Mr. Montague’s lawsuit names the university and two campus officials as defendants. It acc…


Stanford Says It Did ‘Everything Within Its Power’ in High-Profile Rape Case

Stanford University said on Monday that it had done “everything within its power” in a high-profile rape case involving a former student who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman outside a fraternity party.

The former student, Brock Allen Turner, 20, was charged last year with five felony counts after two graduate students on bicycles found him on top of the woman, who was unconscious. When news of the incident emerged, the case became part of a debate over whether colleges should be forc…