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Westfield State’s Ex-President Drops Lawsuit Against State Official and Trustees

Evan S. Dobelle, a former president of Westfield State University, has agreed to drop a federal lawsuit he filed against the Massachusetts institution’s Board of Trustees and the state’s higher-education commissioner. Mr. Dobelle had accused the state official and the trustees, who put him on leave amid questions about his spending practices, of conspiring to destroy his reputation.

Ross H. Garber, Mr. Dobelle’s lawyer, said in a statement cited by The Republican that the cost of continuing the legal fight was “simply too great.”

In November 2013, Mr. Dobelle said he would retire as the university’s president, after drawing scrutiny over his expenses. The state is suing him in an attempt to recoup public money that Mr. Dobelle allegedly misspent.


The resignation came amid harsh public criticism over dozens of domestic and international trips taken by Dobelle during his nearly six-year tenure, including visits to Asia, Europe, Central American and 17 trips to San Francisco.

By late 2013, two state agencies were investigating Dobelle’s spending and Freeland had successfully recommended the freezing of $2 million in campus funding.

Read more at: www.masslive.com

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Drive to Unionize Bentley U. Adjuncts Succeeds on Second Try

Sixteen months after rejecting the idea by a narrow margin, adjunct instructors at Bentley University have overwhelmingly voted to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

The vote at the private college in Waltham, Mass., was 108 to 42. The union chapter is the latest of several formed in an SEIU campaign to organize adjunct faculty members at private colleges throughout the Boston area. Bentley’s administration, which had opposed the unionization of adjuncts th…

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Bipartisan Sex-Assault Bill Is Back on the Senate’s Agenda

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Thursday released a bill meant to fight sexual assault on college campuses. The “Campus Accountability and Safety Act” bears the same name as one introduced last summer by many of the same senators, and calls for many of the same requirements for campuses, including:

  • The designation of confidential advisers to arrange support services for victims of sexual assault.
  • Specialized training for everyone who handles campus rape cases.
  • A biennial survey of studen…
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Former Mountain State U. Students Will Split $11.3-Million Settlement

Former students of Mountain State University will receive a settlement of more than $11.3-million following lawsuits that accused the defunct institution of not doing enough to stop its accreditation from being revoked, The Charleston Gazette reports. A three-judge panel approved the agreement, first proposed in August of last year, on Thursday.

The University of Charleston reached a deal to take over the West Virginia campuses of Mountain State, a private, nonprofit institution, in 2012. The next year, Mountain State lost its accreditation over concerns about its academic quality. The sale of two campuses will provide about $10-million of the settlement money, which totals more than $18.5-million, and Mountain State’s insurer will cover the rest.

Correction (2/26/2015, 3:19 p.m.): An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the former students would receive more than $17-million in settlement money. They will receive roughly $11.3-million. The post has been updated to reflect this correction.

As many as 14,000 former Mountain State University students will receive a more than $17 million settlement with the college, which many of them sued for not providing them a worthy education before it closed.

Read more at: www.wvgazette.com

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Gordon College’s President Takes Heat Over Planned Sale of Rare Books

Faculty members at Gordon College are upset with their president once again over the decision to sell off 10 percent of a valuable rare-books collection, The Boston Globe reports. A descendant of the book collection’s donor also criticized the planned sale, which could bring in as much as $2.5-million. Another descendant told the Globe that the family had no paperwork documenting the intent of the donor, Edward P. Vining.

While the Massachusetts college acknowledged that Mr. Vining had wanted the collection to stay together, a spokesman, Rick Sweeney, said the sale would be “the best way to honor the larger intent of this collection” because the proceeds would be used to pay for the preservation of the rest of the books.

The collection includes volumes dating from the 1400s and written in ancient dialects.

Last year some professors criticized the Christian college’s president, D. Michael Lindsay, after he signed a letter seeking an exemption from a federal ban on antigay discrimination by federal contractors.


When a wealthy family bequeathed a collection of rare Bibles and Shakespeare folios to Gordon College in 1922, it came with a catch: the works had to remain intact and with the school. That’s why a descendant of the late collector Edward Payson Vining, a railroad executive and bibliophile, was surprised to learn that Gordon plans to auction off 10 percent of the 7,000 volumes this fall.

Read more at: www.bostonglobe.com

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Unionization Drive Is Halted at California Institute of the Arts

Efforts to unionize faculty members at the California Institute of the Arts have stalled just as professors were about to vote on whether to join the Service Employees International Union, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The SEIU is trying to organize part-time professors in cities across the country. The effort at the California Institute of the Arts was distinct in that nearly all its faculty members would have been represented because the college does not offer tenure. One professor told the T…

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Chapman U. Settles With 98-Year-Old Who Wanted His $12-Million Back

Chapman University has settled a lawsuit filed by a 98-year-old donor who said the college had taken advantage of his age to secure a $12-million gift, the Orange County Register reports. The university said on Wednesday that donations from James Emmi and his wife, Catherine, would be used for a scholarship fund instead of a technology building.

The couple has already given $3-million of the $12-million pledge. The university would not comment on what will happen with the remainder. The Emmis’ lawyer, James Bohm, told the newspaper they were happy the lawsuit was being settled.


ORANGE – Chapman University has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a 98-year-old philanthropist who had charged that the university took advantage of his age to get him to donate $12 million for a technology building.University officials said donations from James and Catherine Emmi now will be used to create a scholarship fund.

Read more at: www.ocregister.com

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NLRB Orders Review of Faculty-Unionization Case at Point Park U.

The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered a regional official to reconsider a case focused on whether faculty members at a private college in Pittsburgh have too much say in managing their institution to be allowed to unionize.

The case, involving Point Park University, is the sixth that the federal agency has ordered regional officials to reconsider in light of its December ruling in a case involving Pacific Lutheran University. In contrast to the other five cases, however, the Po…

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House Approves Modest Expansion of 529 College-Saving Plans

Seeking to capitalize on the recent brouhaha over President Obama’s effort to roll back tax breaks on 529 college-saving plans, the Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a bill that would modestly expand those plans.

The uncontroversial measure, which passed the chamber with bipartisan support, would allow plan participants to use the accounts to pay for computers and would let them redeposit refunds from colleges back into the accounts without taxes or penalties. If enacted, the le…

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AIDS Researcher Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Vaccine Findings

A former Iowa State University researcher has pleaded guilty to falsifying research on a possible HIV vaccine, the Associated Press reports. Dong-Pyou Han, who resigned from Iowa State in 2013 after admitting he had spiked rabbit blood with antibodies to make the vaccine seem more effective, has signed a plea deal with prosecutors. He has been charged with four felony counts of making false statements, and faces up to 10 years in prison. Mr. Han pleaded not guilty to the charges last year.

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 2:04 PM EST Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 2:04 PM EST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former Iowa State University researcher who admitted to faking laboratory results while studying a potential HIV vaccine has pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of making false statements in research reports.

Read more at: www.kttc.com