Faculty and student groups are criticizing the leadership of Debra Townsley, president of William Peace University, The News & Observer reported. A letter sent by faculty members to the board cited problems such as "staff turnover, dropping graduation rates, unsecured student records and university buildings with malfunctioning heat, asbestos problems and infestations of poisonous spiders." The letter said: “Peace has become an institution driven by mediocrity, suspicion, and fear, a university desperate for tuition dollars but entirely unwilling to provide students with the support and encouragement they need to complete their degrees." And students who circulated a petition criticizing Townsley now say they are facing retaliatory disciplinary proceedings.
Townsley defended her record, noting that William Peace, like many small colleges, is undergoing change and that such transitions are difficult. Townsley led a controversial shift under which the former women's college started to admit men.
Mesa, Ariz., attracted considerable attention in academic circles by recruiting established colleges from the East and Midwest to set up branches there. On Tuesday, Westminster College, in Missouri, announced that it is shutting down its operations after only one academic year. "Demand did not meet the student numbers necessary to sustain Mesa operations as quickly as we had anticipated, and it is not financially prudent for our college to proceed," said a statement from Westminster. The college said it would try to help students find new ways to continue their educations.
Northern Kentucky University fired Scott Eaton as athletic director last year for a series of inappropriate relationships with university employees and one student. Since he was fired, an investigation uncovered new allegations that he admitted in court last week. Eaton pleaded guilty to theft in which he used his university credit card to buy more than $300,000 in gift cards for his personal use, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. He agreed to a 10-year jail term. His lawyer said that "he's not happy about the situation, obviously, but he's happy to begin the process of healing.... He regrets his actions."
San Jose State University has been taking a number of steps in the wake of the shock and anger over last fall's incident in which a black student was tormented for months by his suitemates. A special panel was charged with recommending ideas on how to promote a more racially inclusive and non-discriminatory environment and last week it issued its final list of ideas. Among them: create a new office of diversity engagement and inclusive excellence, conduct a campus climate survey every other year, study why graduation rates are low for black and Latino male students and develop a plan to reverse the trend, and require all students to take a diversity and ethnic studies course.
The University of Louisville has agreed to pay $346,844 to Angela Koshewa, who is retiring as the institution's top lawyer, The Courier-Journal reported. Details on why this agreement would be needed were unavailable, but both signed a deal stating that the money reflects a "desire to settle … any and all possible claims and differences among them." The move follows other large payments to departing senior officials.
The Women's Law Project has filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department, charging that universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are violating gender equity laws by failing to provide enough opportunities for women, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The complaint cited Clarion University as an example, stating that women make up 60 percent of the undergraduate student body, but only 47 percent of varsity athletes. Systemwide, the complaint says, there are 900 slots needed to bring women to an appropriate share. A system spokesman denied any violations.
Faculty members at University of Maine campuses, coping with (and protesting) deep budget cuts throughout the system, were frustrated to learn this week of a $40,000 raise for a top financial official of the system, The Bangor Daily News reported. The salary of Rebecca Wyke, vice chancellor for administration and finance, went to $205,000 recently, up from $165,000 -- even as layoffs and other cuts have been instituted. System Chancellor James Page, said "Is it a lot of money? Yes." But he said Wyke was a finalist for a position elsewhere that would have paid her more. And he said that the system would have been hurt by her departure, adding that "you do need to have the right people in place to get the job done.”