administrators

$4.75M Settlement in Death of Cal Football Player

The University of California will pay $4.75 million to the family of a UC Berkeley football player who died after a strenuous training drill in 2014. As part of the settlement, the university will also review workout and conditioning plans, provide education on sickle cell trait to players and staff, and ban "high-risk physical activity" as punishment. Berkeley previously admitted negligence in the player's death.

Earlier this year, the University of Rhode Island settled a similar lawsuit with the family of a baseball player who died during a team workout in 2011.

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Veterans Rally on Hill as Congress Mulls GI Bill Trim

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and several other veterans' groups held a rally on Capitol Hill Thursday to protest a proposed cut to a benefit included in the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The veterans, who were joined by several Democratic members of Congress, were pushing back against a provision in a bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed last month. The bill included a 50 percent cut in the housing stipend for dependents of a military or veteran parent who had transferred the benefit to them. The U.S. Senate is considering a similar version of the bill.

"It is embarrassing that we have to come here and beg our elected officials not to steal from the pockets of our military, veterans and their families," said IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff in a written statement. "As we stand in front of the U.S. Capitol, men and women are fighting in a prolonged war in Afghanistan and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, earning this very benefit. We are once again seeing the impact of a growing civilian-military divide in this country. It is national disgrace that some members of Congress are willing to use veterans' benefits as a piggy bank to pay for other programs."

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff speaks at a rally on Capitol Hill Thursday, April 14, protesting a cut to GI Bill benefits.

Nebraska to Require Student Loan Notification

Earlier this month Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed legislation to require the state's public institutions to provide students with detailed annual reports on their projected student loan debt, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Under the legislation, which is modeled on an Indiana law, colleges must tell students the total amount of federal loans received, estimates of monthly payments, the number of years they can expect to be in debt and how close they are to aggregate borrowing limits.

Lake Michigan College Suspends President

Lake Michigan College, a community college in Michigan, has suspended and may soon fire its new president, The South Bend Tribune reported. Board members have indicated that the new president, Jennifer Spielvogel, purchased a ceremonial medallion for her inauguration, renovated her office and made other purchases without authorization. Spielvogel's lawyer said she made those decisions with the assumption that they were within her rights as president.

Penn State survey finds most sexual assault victims tell friends, not campus officials

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Penn State survey finds many students don't report sexual assault to campus officials and law enforcement, turning to friends and family for help instead.

Cornell Continues to Receive Scrutiny Over Job Ad

Scholars, scholars everywhere and no professor to pick. Cornell University took heat last fall for posting an unusually vague job ad for a professor showing “outstanding promise” in “some area” of the humanities or social sciences, with special consideration of “members of underrepresented groups, those who have faced economic hardship, are first-generation college graduates, or work on topics related to these issues.” Critics took to Twitter, simultaneously making fun of the ad and wondering if it was a hoax (it wasn’t).

One applicant has now been told the search that applied to an exceptionally broad pool of scholars has yielded no hires. The university, meanwhile, says the search has, in fact, resulted in a hire.

“I’m writing to inform you that our search did not yield a successful candidate to match our specific research needs,” reads an email sent to one applicant Tuesday by the office of the dean at College of Arts and Sciences. “We received many qualified applicants from our pool and we surely passed by some talented individuals. We wish you well in your future endeavors.”

The applicant, who did not want to be identified in any way due to an ongoing job search, called the decision disappointing. “Who knows if they’ll run the search again, or even if they’ll break it up into a series of smaller, more specific searches …. I think elite institutions are in a very privileged position: in a shrinking market, many seem to be able to run failed searches without any repercussions.”

Karen Kelsky, an academic job consultant who runs the blog The Professor Is In, still jokes about the original job listing and didn’t express surprise that the search may have been unsuccessful. “It was a preposterous ad that said something like ‘We want a scholar in any of 25 disciplines.’ There is simply no way to create a short list when the criteria are removed entirely from any kind of clear departmental, disciplinary or programmatic context. It’s comparing apples, oranges, sliced ham and … garden shears.”

Cornell, meanwhile, says the search did lead to a hire. John J. Carberry, spokesman, said in a brief statement Wednesday evening that he couldn’t confirm the rejected applicant’s statement because “this ad did result in a successful hire for the college.” No additional details were immediately available.

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Pro-Union Seattle U Adjuncts Plan to Fast Thursday

Adjuncts at Seattle University seeking recognition of their Service Employees International Union-affiliated union are planning to fast on Thursday. The adjuncts held a union election nearly two years ago, but the university has filed a series of appeals saying its religious affiliation puts it outside the National Labor Relations Board's jurisdiction. The votes remain uncounted.

"We voted nearly two years ago and the [university] administration continues to deny us," Ben Stork, a film studies instructor, said in a statement. "We cannot eat well unless we have a seat at the table." The university did not provide immediate comment on the protest. Seattle is one of many religious institutions that have opposed adjunct unions on religious grounds in recent years.

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Georgia law extends athletics-related open-records response time to 90 days

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A new law, touted as giving the University of Georgia an edge in football, will let state college athletic departments wait three months before responding to record requests.

UCLA Urged to Fire Professor Accused of Serial Sexual Harassment

Graduate students and concerned alumni at the University of California at Los Angeles continue to organize against the planned return to campus of a history professor accused of serial sexual harassment, this time with a petition. The document, which had garnered more than 1,600 signatures as of Tuesday evening, asks Janet Napolitano, university system president, and the Board of Regents for the University of California to intervene in campus-level disciplinary proceedings against the professor, Gabriel Piterberg. Despite the severity of the allegations against him, Piterberg was given a one-term suspension and fined $3,000. He also agreed to various behavioral adjustments, such as not meeting with students with the door closed, causing many to question why he is being allowed back on campus at all.

“We, the undersigned, make clear that sexual harassment has no place at our university nor in the [university] system, and that we fully support the survivors of harassment across campuses,” reads the petition. “We are now forced to turn to you and the regents because the behavior and response from UCLA’s administration has broken our trust in their ability to fully respond to sexual violence on campus. We ask that you intervene in dismissing Piterberg from the university in order to show there is no tolerance for sexual harassment and gender violence of any kind at UCLA. We urge you to protect students and faculty from further harm by holding a vote to secure his dismissal, based on his violations of the sexual harassment policies in the Faculty Code of Conduct.”

The document also accuses the University of California System of uneven treatment of sexual harassers and suggests that Piterberg should be forced to resign or be fired, as in other recent sexual harassment cases on other campuses.

Piterberg, who is due back on campus this summer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A university system spokesperson said his office doesn't comment on pending litigation, referring to a lawsuit filed against the university by two graduate students over its handling of the Piterberg case.

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U of Illinois Settles 2 Sports-Related Lawsuits

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has agreed to settlements with seven former women's basketball players and with its former football coach, the university announced Tuesday. The two cases are unrelated, though both were factors in several university officials stepping down or being fired last year.

The settlement with the women's basketball players is in response to a lawsuit filed against the university, in which the players alleged they were mistreated and racially discriminated against by coaching staff. The proposed settlement will award the players $375,000, split between the seven of them. The university admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. “We’re sorry that these students’ experiences at Illinois did not meet our high expectations,” Barbara Wilson, the university's interim chancellor, said in a statement. “This agreement reflects our genuine hope that they are able to progress to successful careers and lives.”

In a separate settlement, the university will pay its former football coach, Tim Beckman, $250,000. Beckman was fired last year after an investigation by the university found that he mistreated and abused his players, deterring them from reporting injuries and pressuring them to continue playing when hurt. The university said in a statement that it agreed to the settlement only to avoid "costly litigation," and that it stood by its decision to fire the coach.

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