E. Gordon Gee plans to stay on as president of West Virginia University after both sides reversed course on what was supposed to be only a temporary posting. Gee, a 70-year-old, seven-time college president, became interim president of WVU in January after its president abruptly left for another job. The deal, as originally described publicly, was that Gee would stay only until the university found a new president and that he could not be a candidate.
But the presidential search committee passed a resolution Friday urging the university's board of governors to make Gee the permanent president. The board is expected to meet today in an emergency session to consider that plan. The state's higher education coordinating board would also need to sign off on the deal.
Board Chairman Jim Dailey told the Saturday Charleston Gazette-Mailhe expected Gee to accept the job. "I was getting calls from, literally, all over the country from alumni and so forth," Dailey told the paper. "Everyone said, 'You need to keep him.'"
One member of the search committee, a professor, dissented from the process the committee used to decide to keep Gee, but told the Gazette-Mail he was a fan of Gee.
Less than a week after merger talks with another Christian college collapsed, Montreat College in North Carolina announced plan to go it alone. The college's board announced what it called an ambitious plan to revitalize the college. It announced it had received $6.4 million and was hoping to raise another $1.6 million for the effort, known as "All In," which would include a search to replace its interim president, renovate facilities, pay down debt, add new programs and research, and give more financial aid.
The board had been subject of much criticism from alumni and faculty and a no confidence vote from faculty after it announced plans last year to merge with Point University, another Christian college about a five-hour drive away in Georgia. The plan might ultimately have closed Montreat's main campus, which lies in a scenic mountain cove near Asheville.
The board's plan, announced Saturday, may go a long way to soothing those many concerns and made clear the college does not plan to merge.
"After evaluating all of those options, the board of trustees has sensed that God is not finished with Montreat College as an independent institution, and we believe Montreat has a bright future ahead of it," board Chairman Barney Wright said in a statement.
Kevin C. Auman, chairman of the Faculty Executive Committee , said the board's actions helped address faculty concerns. "We were aware that it [was] unlikely that they would be able to address every issue in one meeting, [but] we got far more than we expected," he said in an email. "There is still work to do, but this is a strong step in the right direction."
The Iowa Board of Regents held a special meeting Friday at which members criticized Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa, for a recent comment she made about sexual assault, The Gazette reported. In an interview with The Daily Iowan, the student newspaper, Mason said that completely eliminating sexual assaults is “probably not a realistic goal, just given human nature." The comment angered many at Iowa, which is among the universities being criticized for not doing enough about sexual assault, and Mason has apologized for her comment. Regent President Pro-tem Katie Mulholland said at the meeting Friday that Mason's comment had been “inappropriate," and that board members remain "very concerned" that women on campus were hurt by the comment and don't feel enough is being done. Mulholland said that Mason needed to do a better job of communicating on the issue.
Northwood University, a private institution in Michigan, announced that it is closing its residential undergraduate programs in Texas, but is keeping its adult and graduate programs. A statement from the university said that "[t]hese significant actions will ensure its Texas operations' ongoing relevance, vitality, and financial strength to provide students with a world-class business education." The Dallas Morning News reported that the programs being closed will force about 400 students to transfer, and will cost the jobs of 60 full-time faculty and staff members.
The University of Iowa is among many colleges and universities currently facing criticism over the way they respond to allegations of sexual assault on campus. On Thursday, President Sally Mason spoke at an open forum on the topic and spoke about her personal experience as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky in 1970, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. She said that a man in a trench coat grabbed her breast, and that she didn't know what to do, and felt unable to tell even her parents out of fear that they would insist she come home. “I never want a young woman on this campus ever in her life not to know where to go if something like that happens to them,” she said.
Mason has been facing personal criticism at Iowa over a quote in an interview with the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan, last week. In the interview, Mason said, “I’m not pleased that we have sexual assaults, obviously. The goal would be to end that, to never have another sexual assault. That’s probably not a realistic goal just given human nature, and that’s unfortunate, but the more we understand about it, the better we are at trying to handle it and help people get through these difficult situations.”
Critics -- some of whom formed a group called Not in My Nature -- have said that the quote suggests that sexual assaults are a normal part of human nature. Mason has issued an apology for the quote, writing: "Several members of our campus community have let me know that my remarks on sexual assault printed last week in The Daily Iowan were hurtful. I did not intend them to be, and I am sorry for the pain my words caused."
Thirty-one current and former students at the University of California at Berkeley filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education Wednesday charging that the university has mishandled allegations of sexual assault, The Los Angeles Times reported. In May, nine students filed a complaint, and that has now been expanded. The complaint charges that, among other things, officials discouraged women from filing charges against their assailants, women were not informed of their rights and that campus judicial processes favored the accused. Berkeley's chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, on Tuesday announced the hiring of new employees to investigate sexual assault complaints and help victims. He also said survivors could be allowed to appeal decisions in internal sexual misconduct cases.
Submitted by Ry Rivard on February 27, 2014 - 3:00am
Chicago State University owes its former general counsel $2.5 million, a jury in Illinois found last week. The verdict – $480,000 in back pay and a $2 million punitive damage award – would go to James Crowley, who turned into a whistle-blower after a dispute with President Wayne Watson over disclosure of public records that would reveal when Watson started his job. According to The Chicago Tribune, Watson’s first day on the job was disputed because it would determine whether he was eligible for a pension from his time at another public college.
Crowley said the president threatened him over disclosing too many documents, an allegation Crowley took to the state attorney general. Nearly four years to the day after Watson fired Crowley, the Cook County jury reached its verdict. Crowley's lawyer, Anthony Pinelli, said the judge could increase the value of the verdict by doubling the amount of back pay. The verdict also said Crowley should be reinstated as the university’s top lawyer. Watson is still president.
“Whether that's going to happen or what we're going to do about it, I haven't spoken to the other side about it," Pinelli said. Chicago State plans to appeal, the Tribune reported.
Crowley had been working part time for a law firm, but he was laid off several months ago and is looking for work, Pinelli said. Chicago State is also dealing with recent allegations that its provost, Angela Henderson, plagiarized her Ph.D. dissertation. The university has also gone on the offensive against a faculty-run blog called Crony State Faculty Voice, which has been highly critical of Watson. The blog called the jury verdict in the Crowley case “the Watson Clown Show's latest ethical, fiscal and public relations disaster.”
Some students and faculty members at St. Joseph's University, in Pennsylvania, are concerned about plans to deal with a deficit by increasing enrollment, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The university is facing an $8.7 million budget shortfall. Administrators have already imposed budget cuts throughout the campus, and argue that they can deal with some of the remaining financial challenges by increasing this fall's freshman class from 1,275 to 1,500. Critics say such an increase will lead to larger class sizes and/or lower admissions standards.