Randy J. Dunn was named Monday as the next president of the Southern Illinois University System, even though he started his current job as president of Youngstown State University on July 15. Dunn has strong ties to SIU (where he taught previously) and to Illinois, where he was state superintendent of education. But it is rare for presidents to accept new presidencies -- even for openings that would seem ideal for them -- after only months in office. Dunn did not respond to an email message asking him about the shift. The Youngstown Vindicator reported that the Youngstown State board held a long, closed meeting with Dunn. Further, the newspaper noted that some faculty members are concerned about a lack of continuity, given that the provost plans to retire in June.
L. Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, issued a statement on Saturday expressing support for the MIT students behind the start-up Tidbit, which involves the controversial alternative currency Bitcoin. New Jersey authorities are investigating the company, and have demanded extensive documents (including code) from the students. Some at MIT were concerned last week that the institute was not backing the students, a concern reflected in the continued soul-searching at MIT over the suicide of Aaron Swartz. The letter from Reif said MIT was helping the students, and their lawyers. And Reif said he was asking MIT officials to create a system so that MIT student entrepreneurs could find "independent legal advice" when they need it.
"I want to make it clear that the students who created Tidbit have the full and enthusiastic support of MIT," Reif wrote. He said that the case "highlights issues central to sustaining the creative culture of MIT."
Oregon State University announced Friday that the engineering dean and the head of the electrical engineering and computer science program were both being removed from their positions immediately, although they remain on the faculty, The Oregonian reported. The dean, Sandra Woods, had earlier moved to dismiss the head of the electrical engineering program, Terri Fiez, but had agreed to let Fiez finish out the academic year. Many faculty and business leaders criticized Woods for dismissing Fiez.
Gregory D. Jordan has resigned as president of King University in Tennessee amid increasing criticism from faculty members and alumni, The Times News of Kingport, Tenn., reported. While board members defended him, critics said he was shifting attention to branch campuses and ignoring the concerns of those on the main campus.
The board of Pennsylvania State University is expected today to name Eric Barron as the institution's next president, The Centre Daily Times reported. Barron, a former dean at Penn State, has been president of Florida State University since 2010. The Penn State search has been difficult, as the university continues to recover from the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and as an earlier leading candidate pulled out of contention amid reports he had been padding his salary without authorization from his board.
The National Labor Relations Board late last week halted an adjunct union vote at Loyola Marymount University, due to reports of university interference in the organizing process. The election, slated to have begun Friday, won't go forward until the board investigates an unfair labor practice complaint lodged by Loyola Marymount union organizers. The complaint says the university had "interfered with, restrained and coerced" adjuncts by "soliciting employee grievances and expressly or impliedly [sic] promising favorable resolution of these grievances." A university spokeswoman said Friday that the university was not aware of any activity supporting the allegations. Adjuncts at Loyola Marymount are attempting to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union, which is attempting to organize adjuncts across Los Angeles and several other metro areas, including Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as part of its Adjunct Action campaign. SEIU alleges that Loyola Marymount has held mandatory, small-group meetings for adjuncts, during which administrators have asked them to vote down the union.
Faculty members have voted no confidence and students are protesting Gregory Jordan, the president of King University, in Tennessee, The Johnson City Press reported. Administrators say that Jordan is making changes to position the college in the changing environment for higher education. But professors say that he has refused to listen to their concerns, and falsely characterized critics as a marginal group.