Quick Takes: Failure to Report at Harvard, Another Try at Antioch, 2 Accused of Harassment Quit Southwestern, Yale Expands, Immigration Status Limits Tuition Pledge, Knox Loses Appeal on $1M Verdict, Eastern MIch. to Pay $350K, A President-Elect Dies
Submitted by Scott Jaschik on June 9, 2008 - 4:00am
A prominent Harvard University medical professor failed to report in a timely way most payments he received (a total of $1.6 million) from drug companies since 2000, in apparent violation of both university and federal rules, according to Sen. Charles Grassley, who released information about the research of Joseph Biederman last week in the Congressional Record.Biederman's work focuses on the use of anti-psychotic drugs on children, raising questions to Grassley about possible conflicts of interest. Senator Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has sent letters to various Harvard and federal officials seeking more information about policies to prevent conflicts of interest in federally supported research. Biederman and Harvard did not respond to e-mail requests for information, but did respond to The New York Times, with Biederman saying that his "interests are solely in the advancement of medical treatment through rigorous and objective study,” and the university stating that "information released by Senator Grassley suggests [Biederman and a colleague] may have failed to disclose outside income from pharmaceutical companies and other entities that should have been disclosed." Grassley has been turning up the pressure on biomedical researchers to report perceived or potential conflicts of interest that might influence their work.
Supporters of Antioch College have seen plan after plan to keep the college alive fall apart as various groups have negotiated with the board of Antioch University. The last collapse of negotiations, which infuriated faculty, student and alumni leaders who felt the trustees were turning down a solid plan, left the university planning the shuttering of the college. But on Sunday, both the college's alumni association and the university's board announced that the board had authorized alumni to come up with a plan to operate the college as a residential liberal arts college independent of the rest of the university. No mention was made of the millions that the university has demanded previously for the college's independence. A spokeswoman said that money would come into the discussion at some point, but that the board wanted the alumni to start by coming up with a plan for operating the college. The spokeswoman said that the process of reviving the college would not be speedy, and that the university was proceeding with its shutdown plans, including asking faculty members to leave their offices. Some alumni leaders expressed excitement about the latest developments, but others said that they remained dubious of any negotiations involving the university's board and chancellor.
Two administrators at Southwestern College, a community college near San Diego, have quit their jobs after being accused of sexual harassment, while denying wrongdoing, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. With one of the resignations, all of the college's vice presidents have quit or been fired in the last year.
Yale University has become the latest competitive institution to announce a significant expansion. The university plans to increase undergraduate enrollment by 15 percent by 2013. Yale officials said that it is so difficult to be admitted that the university is routinely rejecting applicants who would have been admitted 20 or more years ago, and the growth will allow for more of these applicants to enroll.
A pledge of free tuition in Denver has focused attention again on whether college students who do not have legal immigration status in the United States should be punished for that status. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Denver's mayor, John Hickenlooper, promised a class at a middle school four years ago that if they stayed in school, he would cover their college costs. But he meant that he would pay in-state tuition for the students, and at least 10 of the 38 students in the class don't qualify because they can't demonstrate legal immigration status. Hickenlooper will give those students the same amount of money he's providing the others, but they and their supporters note that this is far short of what they need to enroll.
The Illinois Supreme Court has declined to consider an appeal by Knox College of a $1 million verdict a jury imposed in a suit by the family of a student who was murdered by another student in 1998, The Peoria Journal Star reported. The college argued that it could not have prevented the murder, but the victim's family said that security was inadequate and cited several lights in the building where the attack took place that were either burned out or turned off.
Eastern Michigan University has agreed to pay a fine of $350,000 for violating a federal law that required the institution to notify the campus when it investigated the death of a student as a murder, The Ann Arbor News reported. The fine is largest ever of its kind. The university's inappropriate response to the 2006 murder of Laura Dickinson in a dormitory room has already led to the ouster of the university's president and the payment of $2.5 million to Dickinson's family to settle a lawsuit.
Just weeks before he was to take over as president of Saint Martin's University, in Washington State, Bryan M. Johnston died suddenly at his home over the weekend. Johnston had previously held a number of positions, including interim president, at Willamette University.