Adjuncts at Saint Xavier University voted 29 to 25 to form a union affiliated with the National Education Association, they recently announced. Their ballots had been impounded since 2011, when the Roman Catholic university challenged the right of adjuncts to form a union, saying its religious identity put it outside the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board. In an August decision, the NLRB agreed with a regional board office director’s decision that the petitioned-for unit of part-time faculty generally do not play a “role in creating or maintaining the university’s religious educational environment.” Notably, the national board did make a distinction between religious studies faculty members and most other faculty members and excluded the former from the bargaining unit. The college did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fullerton College, a California community college, is investigating an incident involving its police officers after videotape of the police encounter with a man circulated on social media. Many on Twitter are saying that the incident is one in which police used excessive force on a man who was not doing anything wrong. Greg Schulz, the president, issued a statement saying, in part, "The campus safety officer is being placed on a leave of absence while we work to answer all questions related to this incident. Videos circulating on social media raise many questions. The videos are partial records of the incident and we are working to fully investigate the interaction. We cannot comment further on the incident because it is a personnel matter."
Submitted by Paul Fain on October 13, 2016 - 3:00am
A coalition of 20 groups -- including unions, consumer groups and the loan servicing company Navient -- this week wrote to federal agencies to call for a streamlined and simplified process of reapplying for income-driven student loan repayment plans. They asked the feds to allow borrowers to automatically re-enroll in the plans each year through increased information sharing between the U.S. Department of Education, the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.
“As student advocates, we hear from borrowers all the time who are already struggling with repayment, and then they’re hit with additional fees because they failed to recertify for [income-driven repayment],” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress, which is a youth-focused division of the Center for American Progress, in a written statement. “This is such an easy fix for the departments and the IRS to undertake, and they don’t even need Congress to pass any new laws. It would benefit both borrowers and servicers and save the government needless paperwork.”
Sam Olens, Georgia's attorney general, was on Wednesday named president of Kennesaw State University. Olens was the sole candidate considered and had the backing of leaders of the University System of Georgia. The announcement of his appointment made no mention of opposition to his candidacy from faculty and student groups concerned about the lack of a national search, Olens's lack of experience working in higher education and some positions he has taken that are viewed as antigay.
The faculty of Quincy University, in Illinois, has voted no confidence in President Robert Gervasi, The Herald-Whig reported. The vote comes amid budget cuts at the university and concerns of many professors over how decisions are being made. Both the president and the board vowed to continue working on the budget situation, which they blamed on cuts in an Illinois student aid program.
Submitted by Paul Fain on October 12, 2016 - 3:00am
The University of Louisville Foundation in 2014 bought an abandoned factory in Oklahoma at the behest of a major foundation donor, according to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Henry Heuser Jr. owned the former machine company facility. In 2013 Heuser gave the foundation $2 million for a scholarship fund and pledged $13.8 million more for a separate gift. One year later a Heuser-owned shell company loaned the foundation $3.5 million to buy 99 percent of the factory space's real estate holding company. The facility never sold. Then, in August, a day after a reporter from the center visited the vacant factory, the foundation and the company decided to unwind the deal. No money ever changed hands.
“It’s a good example of how fund-raising arms of colleges and universities in particular really can basically sell their souls to a donor in return for the possibility of a contribution,” Marcus Owens, a lawyer and former Internal Revenue Service official, told the center after reviewing the deal.
Submitted by Jake New on October 12, 2016 - 3:00am
Northwestern University is not allowed to restrict how its football players use social media and speak with reporters, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Northwestern had previously barred its football players from freely tweeting or discussing team matters, a policy that the NLRB said -- in a memorandum obtained by ESPN -- was "overly broad." The memorandum does not establish an official ruling but would likely apply to other private colleges with similar policies if athletes were to challenge them. Northwestern updated its policy earlier this year.
In the memorandum, the NLRB's general counsel referred to the players as "employees." The NLRB's regional office in Chicago ruled in 2014 that Northwestern's football players were employees after players there attempted to unionize. The university appealed the ruling to the full National Labor Relations Board in Washington, urging the board to reverse that decision. Last year, the NLRB declined to assert jurisdiction over the matter, ending the drive to unionize at Northwestern, but leaving the possibility that athletes at private colleges are actually employees open to further debate.