administrators

U.S. Adds 12 Institutions to Title IX Investigation List

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has added a dozen more colleges and universities to its growing list of institutions being investigated for their handling of sexual assault cases.

The additions bring the total number of colleges included on the list to 67.

In early May, the department took the unprecedented step of publicly naming 55 institutions that investigators are probing to see whether their approach to sexual assault and harassment complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires gender equity in education, including proper handling of sexual assault complaints.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant education secretary for civil rights, said in a written statement at the time. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue.”

The 12 colleges most recently added to the list are the University of Alaska, Berklee College of Music, Cisco Junior College, Colorado State University, the University of Delaware, Elmira College, James Madison University, Morgan State University, , Missouri University of Science and Technology, the University of Richmond, and Washburn University.

While the list does not contain specific details about the cases, all of the most recent additions are cases opened on or after May 5.

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Ex-President of Illinois State Convicted of Disorderly Conduct

Timothy Flanagan, the former president of Illinois State University, was convicted Monday of disorderly conduct and sentenced to probation, the Associated Press reported. The conviction comes from a confrontation between Flanagan and a grounds-keeper at the presidential home. Flanagan quit the university presidency, after only seven months on the job, amid an investigation into the incident. While Flanagan denied that he did anything illegal, he gave reporters Monday a statement in which he said "I regret raising my voice during this encounter and my choice of words was ill advised."

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NCAA Reopens Investigation Into UNC Academics

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will reopen a 2011 investigation into academic misconduct at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university announced Monday.

The original investigation concluded that the university had not violated any NCAA rules when it allowed no-show classes in African and Afro-American Studies to count toward students' athletic eligibility.

At the time, it was determined that -- as other students also took the courses -- there was no indication that athletes received more favorable treatment than non-athletes. No evidence was found that the students received grades without submitting some work even if the classes did not meet, the university said in 2012.

In December, Julius Nyang'oro, a former chair and professor of African studies at UNC, was indicted on a felony charge of accepting $12,000 for a course he did not actually teach. Earlier this month, Nyang'oro, who had not previously commented on the allegations, said he would now cooperate with an investigation, his lawyer told The News & Observer of Raleigh. An Orange County district attorney said last week that he was now considering dropping the fraud charges against Nyang'oro.

"The NCAA has determined that additional people with information and others who were previously uncooperative might now be willing to speak with the enforcement staff," Bubba Cunningham, UNC's athletic director, said in a statement.

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U. Michigan Climate Survey Shows Gains in Morale

Faculty members in science and engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor say the overall work climate has improved significantly since 2001 – but change took that long to manifest, according to a new report. The climate survey was first conducted in 2001 as part of the university’s ADVANCE program to promote women and underrepresented faculty members. The program includes a network for women scientists to prevent women in mostly-male departments from feeling isolated, as well as a mentoring program for new faculty members.

There was little improvement in overall climate reported in a subsequent 2006 survey, but in 2012 – survey data for which was only recently released – faculty members report statistically significant gains in the general climate and climate for diversity in their departments. Faculty members described a more civil work environment and white women and white men and men of color reported hearing fewer disparaging comments about women. All faculty members reported overhearing fewer disparaging comments about racial or ethnic minorities or religious groups. Women of color also reported higher levels of job satisfaction, and all women reported more satisfaction with the level of social interactions shared with fellow professors.

Not all data was rosy, however. Women still report more gender discrimination than their male colleagues, and faculty members of color report unchanged rates of racial-ethnic discrimination.

Janet Malley, director of research and evaluation at the university, said that change takes time is the project’s biggest takeaway. Improving climate is “a long-term project, so one shouldn’t perhaps expect to see dramatic changes in five years – but in 10 years, maybe.”

Malley said change takes a “concerted effort on the part of the administration and faculty,” but that Michigan’s ADVANCE program easily could be exported to other institutions wanting to tackle climate issues.

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Students expect both safety and privacy on social media, study finds

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Students, faculty members and administrators expect their institutions to crack down on abusive social media posts, a new study finds -- but not to monitor their activity.

New Details on Fired Winthrop President

New information is coming out about how Jamie Comstock Williamson, who was last week fired as president of Winthrop University, played a role in the hiring of her husband to a part-time position in government and external relations. The hiring of her husband appears to be one issue in the dismissal. When reports about her husband's work for the university first surfaced, Williamson said that her chief of staff had hired him. That's crucial because South Carolina's anti-nepotism law would have barred Williamson from doing the hiring, even though her husband had relevant qualifications.

On Sunday, The Rock Hill Herald reported on emails it obtained through open records requests that showed Williamson, very shortly after being hired, sent her chief of staff a memo urging her husband's hiring. “In your role as chief of staff, I want to work with you to create a new temporary (I think that is the correct word) staff position for Larry,” Williamson wrote, of her husband. The email also said that his salary should be "low enough not to attract critics."

A lawyer for Williamson declined to comment on the emails.

 

 

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Questions on Pay for Departing U. of Toledo President

Faculty leaders are questioning why Lloyd Jacobs will be receiving $1.3 million in the three years after he leaves the University of Toledo presidency, The Toledo Blade reported. Jacobs will finish at Toledo today, and his departure was announced only June 20. Little has been said by Jacobs or the university about his speedy departure. Faculty leaders say that the large sums seem particularly inappropriate in light of the lack of raises for professors in the last three years.

 

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Students Seek Ouster of Martin CC President

More than half of the students at Martin Community College have signed a petition calling for the ouster of President Ann Britt, WNCT News reported. The students say that the president has denied their funding requests, and has decided by herself on spending that should be focused on student needs. Both the college's board and the North Carolina community college board reported receiving complaints about Britt, and said that they were investigating them. Britt said that she could not comment on the allegations until she consulted a lawyer.

 

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ALEC May Push $10,000 Degrees

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a group known by its acronym ALEC that drafts model state legislation that is frequently used by conservative legislators, has its eye on higher education. Draft legislation that will be considered at ALEC's annual meeting would require all public four-year institutions to offer a $10,000 degree and would require that 10 percent of all degrees be awarded through this model. The legislation specifies that states could achieve these savings through online and competency education.

 

Disclosure Legislation Prompts 2 Hawaii Regents to Quit

A bill passed by Hawaii legislators but not yet signed or vetoed by the governor has prompted two members to quit the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, the Associated Press reported. The regents said that they were not opposed to transparency or some financial reporting, but that the bill would make their personal financial information public in a way they found inappropriate.

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