Amherst College Settles Lawsuit Over Alleged Rape and Withheld Diploma

Amherst College and an unnamed student have settled a lawsuit over the college’s decision last year to withhold his diploma over his alleged rape of another student in 2009, according to The Republican, a newspaper in Springfield, Mass. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, so it was unclear if the college had paid the student, identified in court documents as “John Doe,” any of the $2-million he had demanded.

The student’s accuser, identified as Student A, said he had spoken to college officials about the alleged 2009 encounter but never filed a formal complaint about it. The college withheld the diploma after Student A restated the complaint a week before the 2014 commencement.

During a pretrial hearing last year, Doe’s lawyer, David P. Hoose, told a judge that Amherst College was letting negative publicity around its handling of a number of on-campus rape allegations unfairly drive their treatment of Doe.

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Department Chair at American U. Pleads Guilty to Burglary and ID Theft

David Pitts, the 38-year-old chairman of American University’s department of public administration and policy, pleaded guilty on Friday to burglary and identity theft, The Washington Post reported. He had also faced charges of breaking into an office building and setting several small fires last September, after which the university put him on leave.

Prosecutors said Mr. Pitts had broken into the building to steal prescription drugs from a pharmacy and prescription pads from doctors’ offices. After his arrest at the scene, a police search of his apartment turned up more than 5,000 pills and prescription pads from at least nine doctors, leading to the identity-theft charge. Mr. Pitts could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

In exchange for the plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to charge him in connection with the fires on Sept. 4. But investigators were still looking into other fires that occurred on Aug. 28, 29 and 30 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

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U. of Nebraska at Lincoln Reassigns Professor Accused of Molestation

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has reassigned a research assistant professor who was accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy, the Lincoln Journal Star reports. The professor, Jeff A. Hawks, was charged with third-degree sexual assault of a child after the boy told investigators Mr. Hawks had groped him during training sessions at an indoor sports facility. Mr. Hawks’s lawyer has declined to comment to the newspaper about the allegations.

A research assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at UNL since February 2011, Hawks has been temporarily reassigned to faculty duties that do not involve working with students, UNL spokesman Steve Smith said.

Smith said UNL could not comment further on personnel matters.

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Sit-In at Humboldt State Protests Firing of Official in Native American Program

Some 30 students are continuing a sit-in at a building at Humboldt State University to protest the dismissal last semester of the director of the campus’s program in Indian natural resources science and engineering, reports the Times-Standard, a newspaper in Eureka, Calif. The protesters seek the reinstatement of the official, Jacquelyn Bolman, and a greater role for students in making decisions on the Cal State campus.

In a visit to the protesters on Friday, the university’s president, Lisa A. Rossbacher, said she shared their goals of increasing access and completion for students, especially Native American students. But she said she could not discuss personnel matters such as the dismissal of Ms. Bolman.

“The document given to the coalition was at best a superficial, careless representation of the administration’s lack of care not only for the past year, but also for generations,” the response read. “This underscores the institution’s inability to poise itself to effectively communicate and understand the concern of students.”

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Harvard Law Professors Support Alan Dershowitz Against Sex-Abuse Allegation

Three dozen Harvard law professors have come to the defense of Alan M. Dershowitz, an emeritus professor at the university’s law school, as he stands accused in court filings of having had sex with a minor in a high-profile sex scandal, The Boston Globe reports.

In a statement released on Friday, the 36 lawyers—who include such prominent figures as Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and Laurence H. Tribe—take issue with how the sex-abuse accusation was brought against Mr. Dershowitz, in a lawsuit in wh…


Community-College President Gets $750,000 Buyout

The College of DuPage, a community college in Illinois, will pay its president more than $750,000 to retire, reports the Chicago Tribune. The college’s Board of Trustees voted on Thursday to approve the buyout, under which Robert Breuder will retire in March 2016, three years before his contract is up.

Questions about Mr. Breuder’s management of the college have bubbled to the surface in recent months. For one, $20-million in promised funding from the state evaporated in June, when emails were released in which Mr. Breuder said that there was “perhaps no real need for the money” but that he would ask for it anyway. In September DuPage’s faculty voted no confidence in Mr. Breuder.

The College of DuPage board of trustees is scheduled to vote Thursday night on a buyout package for its president that would give him more than $750,000 in severance payments and bring his controversial tenure at the publicly funded community college to a close, the Tribune has learned.

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Physics Professors Tackle the NFL’s ‘Ballghazi’ Scandal

The National Football League’s “Ballghazi” scandal (also known as “Deflategate”) continues to threaten our national innocence, and some news media have turned to academe for answers.

After winning their conference-title game on Sunday, earning a place in the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots came under suspicion because 11 of the 12 footballs they supplied for the game were found to be underinflated two pounds per square inch below the league’s minimum standard, arguably making them easier to…


Saudi King Whose Scholarships Sent Thousands of Students to the West Dies

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich nation that is a close ally of the United States, died on Friday, according to a statement on state television that was cited by The New York Times and other news outlets. He was 90.

The obituary in the Times highlighted a key aspect of King Abdullah’s influence on global higher education—a scholarship program that was a boon to American colleges’ foreign-student enrollments:

Abdullah’s greatest legacy, however, may prove to be a scholarship program …


California Regents Shelve Policy Tying Coaches’ Bonuses to Academics

The University of California’s Board of Regents has for now shelved a policy that would have tied the bonuses paid to athletic coaches to the academic performance of their athletes, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Some critics on the board, including Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutenant governor, said this week that the policy was too weak and did not set high enough academic standards.

The regents decided to send the policy back to the office of the system’s president, Janet Napolitano, f…


Southern Illinois U. Campus Will Compensate Workers for Unpaid Furloughs

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale will compensate some 1,500 current and former workers for losses they suffered when they were forced to take unpaid furlough days four years ago, the Southern Illinoisan reported.

The newspaper said the total cost to the university was expected to exceed $1.7-million.

The university’s decision, announced on Thursday, followed an administrative-law judge’s finding last summer that the university administration had failed to bargain in good faith with thr…