Romanian Prime Minister Gives Up Ph.D., 2 Years After Plagiarism Finding

The prime minister of Romania has given up his doctoral degree two years after a panel of academics found he had plagiarized large sections of his dissertation, Reuters reports. Victor Ponta continues to dispute the findings of plagiarism, which he deemed “a political decision” in 2012.

Mr. Ponta made the announcement in a message posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday and addressed to the rector of the University of Bucharest. “I have written to you to notify that I give up the doctor of law ti…


Fired Faculty Activist Settles Lawsuit Against Community College in Texas

A tenured professor who was fired from his job at the College of the Mainland after years of clashing with the administration has settled a lawsuit against the Texas institution, the Houston Chronicle reported. Neither side disclosed the terms of the settlement.

The professor, David Michael Smith, had accused the college of retaliating against him for filing two previous free-speech lawsuits and helping colleagues challenge the administration’s actions. The college said he had been dismissed for…


Colleges Are Cutting Back on Credit-Card Deals, Report Says

Colleges have continued to embark on fewer agreements with credit-card companies, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s annual report on the agreements, released on Monday. They have instead opted to participate in the marketing of products that are subject to less scrutiny, like debit cards and prepaid cards, the report states.

The report is the fifth to be issued since passage of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, which requires college…


25 Institutions Sign Up for Project to Ease Path to Degree

Twenty-five colleges have signed up for an alternative-credit program created by the American Council on Education and financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the council announced on Monday.

As part of the pilot program, announced in September, students can complete courses from a designated list of about 100 and then earn credit from the participating institutions, which include community colleges, four-year institutions, and for-profit colleges. The institutions will provide data to …


Spelman College Suspends Professorship Named for Bill Cosby

Colleges and universities with ties to Bill Cosby have in recent weeks been distancing themselves from the embattled comedian. On Sunday, Spelman College joined their ranks. The historically black women’s college released a statement saying it was suspending the endowed professorship named for Mr. Cosby and his wife. The short statement reads:

“The William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship was established to bring positive attention and accomplished visiting scholars to Spelma…


Police Investigate Depictions of Lynchings at UC-Berkeley

The police are trying to find out who hung three cardboard cutouts of black people from nooses on Saturday morning at the University of California at Berkeley, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“This is definitely something of concern,” said Claire Holmes, a university spokeswoman. “We’re not sure what the motivation was.”

Another spokeswoman told the Associated Press the depictions appeared to be connected to a nearby demonstration that coincided with nationwide protests against police killi…


Judge Dismisses Family’s Lawsuit in Death of Pledge at Fraternity Party

A judge in Illinois on Thursday dismissed a family’s lawsuit against a fraternity at Northern Illinois University over the alcohol-related death of their son two years ago, the Chicago Tribune reports.

David Bogenberger was 19 when he fell unconscious after a night of drinking at a party at the Pi Kappa Alpha house. Students put him to bed, where he was found dead the next morning, his blood-alcohol level having risen to as high as 0.43 percent.

Judge Kathy Flanagan, of Cook County Circuit Court…


Students Protest George Will’s Speech at Michigan State U. Commencement

More than 100 protesters stood outside an auditorium on Saturday at Michigan State University where the conservative columnist George F. Will delivered the fall commencement address, The Detroit News reports.

Mr. Will, who once taught at Michigan State, became persona non grata at some colleges after he wrote in The Washington Post in June that victimhood on campuses had become “a coveted status.”

Also speaking at Michigan State as part of the festivities were the University of Virginia’s presid…


Egypt Blocks Entry by Scholar Critical of Government

An American scholar who has criticized Egypt’s government was blocked from entering the country late Friday night, The New York Times reports.

Michele Dunne, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, had flown to Cairo for a conference organized by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. Ms. Dunne said in a telephone interview with the Times that she had been held for about six hours at the Cairo airport, then put on a flight out of the country. It appeared to be t…


Audit Finds Education Dept. Lacks Plan to Fight Student-Loan Defaults

The Education Department “does not have a comprehensive plan or strategy to prevent student-loan defaults,” an audit conducted by the department’s Office of Inspector General has concluded.

A report on the audit’s findings, released on Friday, argues that the department’s lack of a coherent strategy renders it ill equipped to find effective measures against default, identify risks that cause loan delinquency, and work effectively with companies that service student loans on the department’s beha…