University advancement offices typically try to keep disputes out of the public eye, but the firing of a spokesman at the University of Arkansas has set off a very public dispute. The Bangor Daily News reported on the firing of John Diamond (for many years chief spokesman at the University of Maine System before he went to Arkansas) and charges he has made against his now former bosses at Arkansas. Diamond said that he was forced out because he insisted on complying with open records requests, and that he was uncomfortable at Arkansas because of inappropriate comments, some of which were about his religion (he is a Roman Catholic). Arkansas officials meanwhile held a news conference to deny the accusations and to accuse Diamond of not doing well at his job. Chris Wyrick, the official Diamond said made an anti-Catholic reference, denied doing so, but said that he asked Diamond “What time is the fish fry on Friday?” and that he did not view this as inappropriate.
Temple University announced Monday that it will no longer sponsor the annual "Spring Fling," a festival of games and special events that has been held on campus each spring and that has also been a date for off-campus parties -- including one at which a student died last year. "A dangerous culture of high-risk drinking has infiltrated the event, undermining our academic mission and our duty to safeguard student health and wellness," said a statement from Stephanie Ives, dean of students. The university statement noted that the event started at a time that the university was largely a commuter institution, and that the university has changed considerably since then.
In April, during the last Spring Fling, Ali Fausnaught, 19, a freshman at West Chester University, fell three stories to her death at an off-campus house party, The Philadelphia Daily News reported. She had been visiting her boyfriend, a Temple student, and rooftop parties have become part of the off-campus tradition.
A report by an outside law firm -- commissioned by Yeshiva University -- has confirmed reports of numerous incidents of sexual abuse of students at the university's high school for boys. "The investigative team has concluded that multiple incidents of varying types of sexual and physical abuse took place at [the high school] during the relevant time period. This conduct was carried out by a number of individuals in positions of authority ... including, in certain instances, after members of the administration had been made aware of such conduct. In addition, the investigative team found that, during the relevant time period, sexual and physical abuse took place at other schools comprising the university as well.... The
investigative team found that, up until 2001, there were multiple instances in which the university either failed to appropriately act to protect the safety of its students or did not respond to the allegations at all." The report noted improvements after 2001 and since the scandal over the sex abuse charges became public.
Originally, the university said that the entire report would be released, but it provided only a summary, citing issues raised by suits filed against Yeshiva.
A statement from Richard M. Joel, the president (who was not president at the time of the abuse allegations), said: "There are findings set forth in this report that serve as a source of profound shame and sadness for our institution. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire University community, I express my deepest and most heartfelt remorse, and truly hope that our recognition of these issues provides some level of comfort and closure to the victims."
George Washington University last week removed Doug Guthrie as dean of its business school, after determining that the school had spent $10 million more than authorized, The Wall Street Journal reported. “It had become increasingly clear that the financial management and operational differences between the dean and the administration were too great to surmount,” said a university spokeswoman.
All 25,000 people who took the entrance exam for the University of Liberia failed this year, BBC reported. A university official said that most students "lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English," the BBC report said.
Robert Rumbelow resigned as director of the band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign last week after officials determined that he sold $87,000 in old instruments of the university's on eBay and elsewhere, The Chicago Tribune reported. Rumbelow faces felony theft charges because the funds from the sales were deposited in his own account. Rumbelow's lawyer said that his client intended to turn the funds over the university once all the old instruments were sold (he now has done so) and enough funds had been raised for a new band building.
An article in The New York Times explores the role of ESPN in college football and how the network has arguably become more influential than conferences, the National Collegiate Athletic Association or (not that there was much doubt) faculty members at various institutions. The article traces the network's role in picking match-ups, scheduling game times and encouraging trends such as games that are not on Saturday.
The board of Norfolk State University has fired President Tony Atwater, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Atwater has served for two years, and the board praised his efforts. But the historically black university is facing criticism from its accreditor and from state legislators on a range of issues, including the inability to complete an audit in the last two years. Previously, Atwater was president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a position he left amid disputes with the faculty over his management style.
A July letter to President Obama and Congress calling for steps to close the "innovation deficit" now includes a new signatory: Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. The letter was signed by scores of university presidents, and its emphasis on federal funding for research and technology made joining the push an easy call for most higher ed leaders. But faculty members at Purdue -- an institution whose academic strengths in the sciences mean its professors depend on federal support -- noted that Daniels didn't sign. In his pre-Purdue political career, Daniels was known as a budget hawk and he has repeatedly raised concerns about the size of the federal deficit. He explained that he didn't sign the letter because of "its complete omission of any recognition of the severe fiscal condition in which the nation finds itself."
Now, however, he has signed. He explained in a statement that he only recently learned that the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities -- the two groups that coordinated the July letter -- last year released a statement noting their broad concerns about the federal budget deficits. Said Daniels: "I regret that I was unaware of last year’s excellent letter. If it had been attached, restated or incorporated by reference, I would gladly have signed the more recent letter. Now that I have confirmed with the APLU president that last year’s stance remains in effect, I am in full support of the AAU and APLU efforts."
The board of California Lutheran University has approved a plan for the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to become part of the university. The seminary, which would maintain its campus in Berkeley, has been free-standing. Both institutions are affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The plan still needs to be approved by the accreditor of the institutions, the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.