Virginia Supreme Court Rules for UVa and Climate Scientist in Records Suit

The Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a conservative group’s attempt to obtain the records of a climate scientist and former professor at the University of Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

The case focused on whether the state’s open-records law exempted a range of documents deemed by the university to be proprietary. The American Tradition Institute, a conservative advocacy group, had sought records of Michael E. Mann, a former Virginia professor who now directs Pennsylvania…


Judge Dismisses Claims Against East Stroudsburg U. in Sex-Harassment Suit

A federal judge has dismissed claims against East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and some of its former top officials in a lawsuit alleging that the university responded inadequately to reports of sexual harassment by a former vice president.

A 2009 lawsuit alleged that the former vice president, Isaac W. Sanders, offered grants and scholarships to male students and then made unwanted sexual advances toward them. The suit also said that the university did not properly investigate the allegations against Mr. Sanders, and accused some top officials of covering up the complaints.

Judge Robert D. Mariani of the U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pa., dismissed the claims against the university and other former officials who had been named as defendants. Judge Mariani allowed some of the claims against Mr. Sanders to move forward to trial.

The investigation into Mr. Sanders led to a precedent-setting decision in 2010 over whether the university’s foundation could be forced to disclose donor and other records.

“We are pleased with the ruling, which basically dismissed the claims against the university and former President (Dillman),” said Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education spokesman Kenn Marshall. “My understanding is the only thing that’s left are the charges against Isaac Sanders himself.”

Dillman did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday evening.

Albert Murray, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he is exploring the possibility of an appeal.

“What can I say? That’s how the judge ruled,” Murray said.

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Michigan Community College’s Chief Is Cleared to Return From Leave

The Board of Trustees of Kellogg Community College, in Battle Creek, Mich., on Wednesday voted unanimously to take Dennis J. Bona off of paid leave and to allow him to return to work as the institution’s president.

Last month the board put Mr. Bona on leave pending the results of an inquiry into his “interactions with college personnel.” The specifics of the investigation were not known at the time Mr. Bona was placed on leave, but the Battle Creek Enquirer reported on Wednesday that Mr. Bona had been placed on leave “after a former security guard alleged he caught the president in a sexual situation with a woman in his office in spring 2013.”

But Jonathan Byrd, chairman of the college’s board, said on Wednesday that the inquiry had found that “there was not adequate evidence to substantiate the allegations being investigated.”

“I’m very pleased that was the board’s decision and I’m glad the truth has finally come out,” Bona told the Enquirer late Wednesday.

The president will return to an institution where rumors have flown among faculty and staff for weeks, but Bona said he didn’t think that would impact his effectiveness on the job.

“I will of course give my best effort and I believe I can continue to effectively lead the college,” Bona said.

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Dartmouth College’s President Calls for an End to ‘Extreme’ Behaviors

Philip J. Hanlon, Dartmouth College’s president, on Wednesday called for an end to what he called “extreme” behaviors by students—such as excessive drinking and sexual misconduct—that he said had harmed the college’s reputation and contributed to a decline in the college’s applications in the last year.

Mr. Hanlon made his remarks at a presidential summit with student leaders, faculty members, alumni, and others. He said that the college’s promise “is being hijacked, hijacked by extreme and harmful behaviors, masked by their perpetrators as acceptable fun.”

Mr. Hanlon announced the formation of a committee that he said would “recommend actions to end high-risk and harmful behaviors.” The committee will include students, faculty members, alumni, and members of the administration.

“It is time for us to act in order to preserve what is unique, joyous and fun about the undergraduate experience at Dartmouth and to end the extreme behaviors that are in conflict with our mission and fundamentally harmful — to individuals and to the fabric of our community,” he said. “This is the right thing to do, and the time to do it is now.”

Hanlon, who took office in June, said he will form a Presidential Steering Committee composed of students, alumni, faculty and staff to consult with experts and suggest actions to curb harmful behavior. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to Dartmouth’s board in the fall, he said. The college has 6,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

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U. of Illinois at Chicago and Faculty Union Reach Tentative Contract Deal

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s faculty union has reached a tentative contract agreement with the university’s administration and has called off a strike that had been scheduled for next week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

UIC United Faculty, which represents some 1,150 tenure-track faculty members and non-tenure-track instructors, did not immediately release details on the agreement. To take effect, the contract still needs to be approved by union members, and they are expected to vote …


Wrongly Fired Coach Reclaims His Job, but Faces a Player Rebellion

Todd Hoffner, who recently won his job back as head football coach at Minnesota State University at Mankato in an arbitration decision, reclaimed the job on Wednesday, only to be blindsided by a player rebellion, the Star Tribune newspaper of Minneapolis reported.

Mr. Hoffner was removed from the coaching job in August 2012 following allegations that he had made pornographic videos of his young children. He then was fired for unspecified reasons in May 2013, six months after a judge threw out th…


NYU Reportedly Turned 2 Apartments Into Duplex for President’s Son

New York University in 2002 converted a pair of one-bedroom apartments that were normally reserved for faculty housing into a duplex for the son of John E. Sexton, who became president of the institution that spring, the New York Post reported.

A report that was addressed to Mr. Sexton as he prepared to take the helm had warned of a “severe housing shortage” for faculty members, according to the Post.

During Mr. Sexton’s tenure, the university has drawn scrutiny for real-estate perks offered t…


U. of Alaska at Fairbanks Could Face Federal Fines for Musk-Ox Deaths

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has accused the University of Alaska at Fairbanks of possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act in the starvation deaths of 12 musk oxen at a university research station, the Associated Press reported. The federal agency’s complaint says the university failed to provide adequate veterinary care, notice that the animals were losing weight, or seek veterinary treatment for them. The animals died or were euthanized from August 2010 to February 2011.

The univers…


U. of Michigan Says Talks With Black Student Union Improved Climate

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on Wednesday outlined a series of actions it had taken on the issues of diversity and campus climate, which stemmed from talks with black student activists who have questioned the university’s commitment to such diversity, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Last fall the university’s Black Student Union started a Twitter campaign, under the hashtag #BBUM, to raise awareness of black students’ experiences. And in January the same group said it would take acti…


Florida State U. Draws Scrutiny Over Response to Alleged Rape by Star QB

[Updated (4/16/2014, 7:43 p.m.) with response from Florida State University.]

An article in The New York Times asserts that Florida State University and the Tallahassee Police Department did not properly investigate a rape accusation against Jameis Winston, the Seminoles’ star quarterback.

A Florida State student who said she had been raped in 2012 identified Mr. Winston as her assailant. Last December the local prosecutor announced that he lacked sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Winston, who l…