Salaita Goes After University Donors in Lawsuit Over Job Loss at Illinois

[Updated (1/29/2015, 2:52 p.m.) with the university's response.]

Steven G. Salaita’s widely anticipated lawsuit over the University of Illinois’s decision to deny him a tenured professorship takes the innovative step of also demanding damages from university donors who pressured its leaders not to hire him.

Along with its expected targets—top campus and university-system administrators, and nearly all of the system’s trustees—Mr. Salaita’s federal lawsuit names as defendants several as-yet-unide…


Dartmouth Will Ban Hard Liquor on the Campus, President Says

Dartmouth College’s president on Thursday proposed that hard liquor be banned at campus parties, among other steps to curb what he called “harmful behaviors,” The New York Times reports. Philip J. Hanlon’s proposal is the latest effort in the college’s longstanding battle with its legendary fraternity culture.

In a speech, President Hanlon proposed that hard liquor be banned at all events open to the public, whether they are sponsored by Dartmouth or by student groups. He also said the college w…


Cal State Students Will Get More Say Over Campus ‘Success Fees’

The trustees of California State University voted on Wednesday to give students more say over the “success fees” some campuses tack onto their tuition bills, The Sacramento Bee reports. Critics have accused institutions of using the controversial fees, which are now in place on 12 of the system’s 23 campuses and can run to several hundred dollars a semester, to circumvent a tuition freeze that Cal State and the University of California agreed to in 2012 in exchange for increased state support.


Critics Boo as College of DuPage Reaffirms President’s Buyout

Despite the boos of a sometimes-raucous crowd, the trustees of the College of DuPage reaffirmed on Wednesday a controversial $763,000 severance deal for the two-year institution’s president, Robert Breuder, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The Illinois college’s Board of Trustees first approved the buyout agreement last week, but it scheduled a special meeting this week to deal with concerns over a procedural error in the earlier vote. The board was not there to reconsider the buyout, the college’s lawyer, Kenneth Florey, said at the start of Wednesday’s meeting. Instead, it was “taking the high road and voting again.”

The unusual do-over vote, required because of a “procedural” error, comes six days after the board approved a $763,000 severance deal for President Robert Breuder, which sparked widespread criticism over the amount of the agreement and a lack of transparency at the publicly funded community college in Glen Ellyn.

That outrage continued Wednesday night as a standing-room-only, sometimes raucous crowd filled a larger meeting space, which a judge ordered the board to use. About 400 people, some of them standing on an overflow balcony, listened as students, faculty, residents and two state lawmakers asked the board to reconsider the severance agreement and the effect it was having on the college’s reputation. Many asked the board members to resign.

The board, however, decided to approve the deal. Trustee Kim Savage defended it, saying the remainder of Breuder’s contract, which goes until 2019, would have paid him $2-million. Instead, he will retire in May 2016.

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University Can Deny a Medical Degree Over Lack of ‘Professionalism,’ Court Rules

A federal appeals court has ruled that Case Western Reserve University can deny a student a medical degree if it determines the student lacks “professionalism,” The Plain Dealer reported.

The student at the center of the case, Amir A. Al-Dabagh, had completed all of the requirements to receive his degree. But the university said it would expel him after learning about character issues that came up during his college years, including a conviction for driving under the influence.

A federal judge s…


Cache of Records Released by U. of Oregon Is Returned

The 22,000 University of Oregon records that were released without permission to a professor have been returned, The Register-Guard reports. According to the university, the records contained confidential information about faculty members, staff members, and students that should have been combed out before their release.

The Chronicle identified the recipient of the records as William T. Harbaugh, an economics professor who runs the blog UO Matters, which advocates for administrative transparenc…


Health Officials Shut Down California Graduate Students’ Community Fridge

Three graduate students at the University of California at Davis are fighting for the right to set up a community refrigerator on their front lawn, The Sacramento Bee reports. Looking to reduce food waste and become closer to their neighbors, the students set up the refrigerator with the instructions “Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.”

Dozens of items were exchanged through the project, until it was shut down late last year by county health officials over concerns about food safety. The three graduate students—Ernst Bertone, Eric Yen, and Ali Hill—say they plan to lobby Davis politicians for community refrigerators.

Mr. Bertone said he had the idea for the community refrigerator while traveling in Europe. “It was in Romania,” he told the Bee. “We were talking about food waste at the time. When I came to Davis for grad school, it was the perfect moment.”

Three UC Davis graduate students experimented last fall with a communal fridge on their front lawn until health officials shut them down.

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Northwestern Gets Largest Donation in Its History From Warren Buffett’s Sister

Northwestern University has announced its largest donation in history—$101-million to create a global-studies institute and fund scholarships for international students, among other things, the Chicago Tribune reports. The gift comes from Roberta Buffett Elliott, a Northwestern graduate and sister of the billionaire businessman Warren Buffett.

Northwestern is in the midst of a multibillon-dollar fund-raising campaign. It was one of five institutions that reported receiving a single gift of $100-million or more in an annual fund-raising survey, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

Northwestern University announced Wednesday morning the largest donation in its history – more than $100 million to boost the field of global studies and fund scholarships for international students. The donation comes from Northwestern alum Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, sister of business magnate and billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett.

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Sorority Chapters Tell UVa Members to Avoid Fraternity Parties

Sorority sisters at the University of Virginia have been ordered by their national organizations to avoid fraternity events this weekend, prompting objections that the directive is sexist and degrading to women. The order followed a fall semester in which a now-discredited article in Rolling Stone magazine about an alleged gang rape at a UVa fraternity house prompted intense scrutiny of the university’s Greek system.

The university’s administration recently lifted a suspension of UVa’s fraternities and sororities after putting in place strict new rules governing fraternities’ social events. Some students said their national chapters had told them that they risked suspensions, fines, and other penalties if they attended bid-night parties this weekend.

A university spokesman deferred questions to the National Panhellenic Conference, as did the incoming president of the Inter-Sorority Council at U-Va.A spokeswoman for the National Panhellenic Conference said the mandate comes not from the umbrella group but from each national chapter president. “Of course, NPC supports the safety of their women, so they do support those national presidents making that decision and encouraging sorority women to plan sisterhood events and other ‘safer’ options,” Michelle Bower said.

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Former Vanderbilt Football Players Are Convicted of 2013 Campus Rape

Two former football players at Vanderbilt University have been found guilty of all charges for their roles in a 2013 campus rape, the Associated Press reports. Cory Batey, 21, was convicted on seven counts of rape and sexual battery, and Brandon Vandenburg, 21, was convicted on nine counts of rape, sexual battery, tampering with evidence, and unlawful photography.

Prosecutors said Mr. Vandenburg brought an unconscious woman back to his dormitory room, where she was assaulted while he took video….