Category Archives: Legal

Higher education in the courtroom.


Community College Settles Claims It Discriminated Against Military Veteran

Pima Community College has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over claims that it refused to promote an employee because of his military service.

According to a news release from the department, the college has agreed to promote Timothy Stoner to the position of police corporal and provide him back pay amounting to what he would have earned if he had been promoted when he first applied. As part of the settlement, the college denies any wrongdoing.

The department accused the…


For-Profit Group Will Appeal Decision Upholding Gainful-Employment Rule

The main trade association of for-profit colleges will appeal a ruling that upholds the U.S. Education Department’s gainful-employment rule, the group announced in a news release on Thursday. Steve Gunderson, president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said in the release that the rule is “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of federal law.”

Judge John D. Bates, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, rejected that rationale last month, when h…


Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges

[Updated (6/30/2015, 4:43 p.m.) with more context.]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to take a case that could upend how unions are financed at public colleges. The New York Times reports that the court will hear arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was brought by public-school teachers in California who argue that being forced to pay union fees violates their First Amendment rights.

Public employees in states without right-to-work laws can be required to pa…


Jury Rejects Claim of Liberal Bias in Hiring at U. of Iowa Law School

A federal jury ruled on Monday that a former dean of the University of Iowa law school did not illegally discriminate against a conservative lawyer on the basis of her political beliefs when she declined to hire the woman for a teaching job, the Associated Press reports.

The long-running case stems from hiring decisions made in 2007, when the lawyer, Teresa Manning, then known as Teresa R. Wagner, was working as associate director of the law school’s writing center. Ms. Manning was one of three …


Supreme Court Will Again Hear ‘Fisher’ Case on Race-Conscious Admissions

[Last updated (6/29/2015, 1:04 p.m.) with statements by Ms. Fisher and the university.]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday again agreed to hear a legal challenge to the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, setting the stage for new arguments in a closely watched case that the justices decided once before, in 2013.

The plaintiff in the case, Abigail N. Fisher, had accused the Austin campus of discriminating against her after being denied admission in 2008. She subs…


Gainful-Employment Rule Survives For-Profit Group’s Court Challenge

[Last updated at 8 p.m., 6/23/2015, with additional comments about the proposed rule and its effect.]

The U.S. Education Department’s gainful-employment rule is one step closer to taking effect.

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a serious legal challenge, brought by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, to the controversial rule. The lobbying group’s lawsuit was the highest hurdle remaining for the proposed rule, which will judge career-oriented programs on their graduat…


Deal Is Reached to Keep Sweet Briar College Open Next Year

[Updated (6/21/2015, 9 p.m.) with additional reaction.]

Virginia’s attorney general announced on Saturday that an agreement had been reached to keep Sweet Briar College, which abruptly announced in March that it planned to close this summer, open next year after all.

The announcement of the women’s college’s closure sparked an outcry on and off the campus, as well as a flurry of legal challenges, and raised questions for other small institutions. The agreement announced by the attorney general, …


Former College President Resigns Professorship After Being Sued for Child Support

A former president of the University of North Texas at Dallas has resigned from a tenured professorship on another campus amid an investigation into his conduct, The Dallas Morning News reports. John Ellis Price, who resigned his post at the University of North Texas at Denton, is the subject of a lawsuit by a former employee demanding that Mr. Price pay child support for their son.

This month a judge ordered Mr. Price to pay the woman, Camille Willis, nearly $2,000 a month for child support and…


Athletes in Big-Time Programs Often Escape Prosecution, Report Says

Football and men’s basketball players at Florida State University and the University of Florida escaped criminal charges or criminal prosecution two-thirds of the time, on average, when they were named as suspects by the police, a proportion much higher than that for college-age men who are not athletes, according to an investigation published on Sunday by ESPN’s Outside the Lines unit.

The investigation, which drew on police reports and other documents in 10 cities that are home to big-time col…


Education Dept. Official Responds to Inquiry Into Release of Student’s Therapy Records

A U.S. Education Department official expressed concern in a letter this week over an apparent loophole in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa, that could allow colleges to view and release students’ counseling records.

The Oregonian reported on Saturday that Kathleen M. Styles, the department’s chief privacy officer, wrote a letter on Monday in reply to two Oregon Democrats who had sought clarification of the federal law. The inquiries, from U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. …