A state jury in Georgia on Thursday awarded $450,000 to a former student at Appalachian Technical College who was expelled after she complained to administrators there about the performance of an instructor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. According to the newspaper's account, Sara Castle told officials at the college that an instructor in the nursing program in which she was enrolled repeatedly dismissed students from class early, making it impossible for them to complete their required clinical training. The instructor was fired, but Castle herself was soon expelled, and she sued. The jury awarded her $400,000 in punitive damages and $50,000 for emotional duress, the newspaper said. Georgia's attorney general represented the technical college, and a spokesman said the state disagreed with the verdict and would consider its options.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Thursday called for the replacement of Richard Herman as chancellor of the campus and Joseph White as president of the university system, the Chicago Tribune reported. Both have come in for harsh criticism as Tribune and state investigations revealed their roles in an admissions scandal in which applicants with political clout -- some of them with academic qualifications that were less than distinguished -- were given preference in the admissions process. Both have said that they plan to remain in office.
Two students at Virginia Tech were found shot and killed Thursday at a campground near the campus that is popular with students, The Roanoke Times reported. The killings -- being investigated as a double homicide -- come at an institution where many are still recovering from the murder of 32 students and faculty members by a student in 2007.
Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois reversed course on Wednesday, allowing two University of Illinois trustees to stay on its board even though he had vowed to fire any board members who did not resign in the wake of an admissions scandal at the university, the Chicago Tribune reported. All but two trustees had resigned since Quinn and others called for their resignations in the scandal involving political patronage in admissions, which stemmed from reporting by the Tribune, but two board members had threatened to sue the state if they were forced from their jobs. In a speech Wednesday, Quinn said he thought the two trustees should go but said he didn't want to open the state to legal vulnerability. The newspaper reported that other trustees who had quit in response to Quinn's vow, from which he has now backed down, were now wondering if they had made the right decision.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs exercised the nuclear option in its continuing dispute with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, opting out of its five-year, $75 million contract for Gulf War syndrome research after just two years. The V.A. cited "persistent noncompliance and numerous performance deficiencies" as reasons for canceling its agreement, several weeks after it issued a highly critical audit focused on one leading researcher at the U.T. center. Despite the audit's findings, the university issued a response expressing surprise at the agency's action and saying it "strongly" disagreed with its conclusions.
As threatened, Paul Quinn College sued the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools late Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported. The move came after the regional accrediting association's Commission on Colleges denied the Dallas college's appeal of its decision in June not to renew Paul Quinn's accreditation. Paul Quinn's lawsuit alleges that the accreditor violated its due process rights.
Brigham Young University at Hawaii has been penalized by the Division II Committee on Infractions for violating four sets of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. The committee report, released Wednesday, notes that the institution allowed eight transfer athletes to compete before they were academically eligible. Division II rules mandate that transfer athletes have completed at least six credit hours in the semester before entering a new institution. Secondly, on four separate occasions, the institution violated a NCAA rule that requires all athletes to have selected an academic concentration before their third year. Thirdly, the university allowed its head tennis coach to oversee the completion of amateurism and eligibility forms for international athletes -- a clear conflict of interest as the NCAA considers this a responsibility of the compliance officer. Finally, the university let three athletes practice, play and travel with their respective teams before they were cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center. The committee has placed the institution on three years of probation for "failing to monitor" its athletics program.
California must adopt a more standardized statewide system of student transfer if it is to produce enough college graduates to fill its work force, says a new report, which points to structures in other states as models. The report, which was published by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at California State University at Sacramento and reported on by the Los Angeles Times, contains a series of recommendations, based on an examination of policies in Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington, designed to ease the transfer of students from the state's decentralized community college system to public four-year institutions in California.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison has ended sponsorship agreements with two major brewing companies after a campus panel recommended that banning beer ads from football broadcasts would help the fight against binge drinking, the Associated Press reported. The deals with MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev had brought the university $425,000 a year, and Badger sports officials had vigorously argued for sustaining the agreements (and the revenues). But Wisconsin's new chancellor, Biddy Martin, backed the recommendation of a committee seeking ways to reduce campus drinking. "It hurts the athletic department financially but they are stepping up and taking one for the team," Vince Sweeney, Madison's vice chancellor for university relations, told the A.P. "This was an approach that people felt would have a positive impact."
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died late Tuesday night. In his role as Senate chairman of the committee with oversight of many key education and research programs, he was influential in the creation of many them and in the (largely successful) fights to block elimination of them when some sought to do so. Kennedy pushed to add funds for low-income students in a variety of measures. He was also active in efforts to defend affirmative action, to create Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, to encourage national service, and to add funds for biomedical research. A number of the senator's former aides on education issues hold key jobs in the Obama administration and higher education associations. A detailed list of the legislation he helped shape during his Senate career may be found here.