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Quick Takes: Jury Awards $19M to Former Fresno Coach, Woods Hole Sued by Anti-Evolution Biologist, Poll on Immigrant Tuition, Students Without Mumps Shots Banned, Speech Codes, Grawemeyer in Religion

December 7, 2007
  • A jury on Thursday ordered California State University at Fresno to pay $19.1 million to Stacy Johnson-Klein for illegally firing her as women's basketball coach, The Fresno Bee reported. Johnson-Klein's suit claimed that she was fired out of sexism and because of her advocacy for female athletes at Fresno State -- charges that the university denied. In July, another jury awarded a former volleyball coach $5.85 million in a sex-bias suit (a sum later cut by about $1 million) and the university settled another case for $3.5 million. Fresno State vowed to appeal Thursday's verdict.
  • The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is being sued by a former researcher who says he was fired after disclosing that he did not believe in evolution or want to perform research based on evolution, The Boston Globe reported. The researcher, who now works at Liberty University, says his civil rights were violated. Woods Hole says its actions were legal and appropriate.
  • There is little public support for giving students who lack the legal documents to legally stay in the United States in-state tuition rates, a poll by the Los Angeles Times has found. The report, which covers a variety of immigration policies, found that only 20 percent of Democrats and 6 percent of Republicans support the use of in-state rates for these students.
  • The University of Southern Maine is banning more than 400 students from campus for failing to meet a requirement that they have a vaccination for mumps, the Associated Press reported. The move follows the diagnosis of a student with mumps. Several colleges experienced serious mumps outbreaks in 2006.
  • Speech codes remain widespread on college campuses, according to a report released Thursday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education -- which is a strong opponent of the codes. The report found that 79 percent of public colleges and universities maintain speech codes, despite numerous federal court decisions questioning the constitutionality of the codes. FIRE acknowledges that private colleges do not face the same constitutional issue, but the group was critical of private institutions as well, saying that many of them have codes that violate statements of college policy that suggest strong support for free expression.
  • The University of Louisville on Thursday night announced that the $200,000 Grawemeyer Award for Religion will go to Margaret Farley, a professor emerita of Christian ethics at the Yale University Divinity School. Farley was honored for her 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics (Continuum).
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