A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Chicago State University to reinstate a former adviser to its student newspaper that the institution fired in 2008 in the wake of a series of critical articles, the Student Press Law Center reported. The judge's decision sided with Gerian Steven Moore, ruling that the public university had violated his First Amendment rights and ordering him to be reinstated to his job as executive director for communications or a similar position. The decision did not go entirely for the plaintiffs, however, as the court ruled against the newspaper's former editor, who had sought action against the former administrators who helped bring about the demise of the Tempo, the student newspaper at the time.
A jury on Wednesday sided with the parents of two students killed in the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, finding the university negligent for waiting to inform the campus about the gunman, the Associated Press reported. After deliberating for three and a half hours, jurors awarded $4 million each to the families of two women who were among the 33 dead. Lawyers for the state -- who had argued that university officials did all they could in the face of an unprecedented tragedy -- immediately filed to reduce the size of the verdict, the AP reported.
Robert J. Birgeneau announced Tuesday that he will retire as chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley at the end of 2012. He was appointed in 2004, and said that he originally hoped to lead the campus for seven years, but opted to stay due to the severe budget pressure the university has faced. Birgeneau has faced student criticism over budget cuts, and what many students believe was excessive force in dealing with protests. But he also pushed hard through private fund-raising to protect Berkeley from raids on its faculty talent.
The Pennsylvania Board of Trustees on Monday issued a statement clarifying the reasons that it dismissed Graham Spanier as president and Joe Paterno as football coach in November. The dismissals came as the university reacted to the scandal involving allegations that one of Paterno's top assistants had for years molested boys, sometimes at Penn State facilities. Many alumni have criticized the board in particular for its decision on Paterno, who had already announced he would retire at the end of the football season and who has since died. The board said that it fired Paterno because he did not notify police when he learned of allegations involving the abuse of one boy. (While Paterno did notify a Penn State administrator, meeting the legal requirements for reporting abuse allegations, the board statement said that "his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno.") As for Spanier, the board said that he "insufficiently" informed the board of his knowledge of various incidents, and that he issued press statements as the scandal became public that were "without authorization of the board or contrary to its instructions." Spanier declined to comment on the board's statement.
Union supporters in Michigan -- faced with a major setback at the University of Michigan -- are pushing for state constitutional protection. Legislation awaiting the governor's signature would classify graduate research assistants as students, not employees eligible for collective bargaining. If the legislation becomes law, it would undo years of efforts to organize the University of Michigan's research assistants. The Detroit News reported that in response to this and other legislative moves, Michigan unions (many of which aren't focused on higher education) are considering a drive to get a measure on the ballot in the state in which voters could add a provision to the state's Constitution declaring that no state law can limit the right of collective bargaining.
Before he retired last summer as president of the University of Minnesota, Robert Bruininks steered extra money to the institute at the university where he would be spending his post-presidential years, The Star Tribune reported. He moved a total of $355,000 in university funds to the Center for Integrative Leadership. Bruininks told the newspaper that he moved the funds to the center to bolster it as he was seeking major outside grants for the program. "You put it all together in a weird way and it may look like I'm feathering a nest, and that's simply not the case," Bruininks.
University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, who faced criticism from faculty in recent weeks about his handling of several initiatives, said in a statement Thursday that he accepted responsibility for a breakdown in communication and was committed to repairing his relationship with the faculty. On Monday, after a board meeting called to address the faculty criticism, the board chairman said he had confidence in Hogan but that the president needed to change how he was running the university or face the loss of his job.
In an interview with Inside Higher Ed on Thursday, Hogan said that coming into office on the heels of the university's admissions scandal, which resulted in significant administrative turnover, meant many changes had to happen quickly. In the rush to address those issues, he said, communication broke down. "We were getting things done so fast that I just gave people the perception that I was more interested in getting things done than I was in hearing opinions,” Hogan said. He said that is not the case, and that he plans to meet with faculty members on the university's three campuses more regularly in the future.
An anonymous website over the weekend posted confidential information about McGill University donors, including the size of past gifts, how much the university hoped to obtain from future gifts, personal phone numbers and more, The Montreal Gazette reported. Authorities are investigating how the information was obtained, and the university was able to get the hosts for the site to take it down. The university sent an e-mail message to all donors, pledging to find out what happened and to prevent future such leaks.