Rutgers President Fires Top Sports Officials

The president of Rutgers University said on Sunday that he had fired the university's athletics director and head football coach, the latest turmoil for a beleaguered sports program. In a letter to the campus, President Robert L. Barchi said he was terminating the contracts of Julie Hermann and Coach Kyle Flood without cause, saying the athletics program needed new leadership. Barchi said he had hired Patrick Hobbs, dean emeritus of the Seton Hall University School of Law and an ethics ombudsman for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, to replace Hermann.

Flood has been under intense pressure not only because Rutgers continues to struggle on the field (4-8 this season), but because a university investigation found that he had improperly contacted a professor about a player's academic situation. Hermann was hired as athletics director in 2013 in the wake of a former basketball coach's abuse of his players, but Rutgers has continued to struggle in multiple ways in athletics, including having among the heaviest financial subsidies of sports by students and the university.

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New presidents or provosts: Blackburn Cumberland Daytona Indiana Northwest Saint Peter's SEMO Trident WKU Worcester

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  • Travis Allen, interim chancellor of Argosy University, in California, has been chosen as president and chief executive officer of Trident University, in California.

University President: 'This Is Not Day Care'

At a time when many college presidents are responding with sympathy to students who say speakers or faculty members make them feel uncomfortable, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University is having none of it. Everett Piper, the president, posted his reactions to a student who came to him and said he felt "victimized" by a recent sermon at a university service.

"I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience! An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad! It is supposed to make you feel guilty! The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins -- not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization!" Piper wrote.

He added: "If you’re more interested in playing the 'hater' card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them."

The president's full statement, "This Is Not a Day Care. It's a University," may be found here.

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U of Arizona Publicizes Theft of Painting 30 Years Ago

The University of Arizona Museum of Art marked an anniversary of sorts this weekend, but not an event the institution wants to celebrate. On the day after Thanksgiving in 1985, two thieves walked off with "Woman-Ochre" (at right), by Willem de Kooning, a work that could be worth up to $160 million. The museum wants to keep the theft in people's minds, hoping to prompt a lead. The university is retelling the story of the theft, in which a man apparently made off with the work while a woman, his presumed partner, distracted a security guard.

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New Questions on Sex Assaults at Florida State

Court records show that the head of Florida State University's Victim Advocate Office testified that in 2014, 113 students reported being sexually battered (the legal equivalent of rape in Florida), and that Florida State reported only nine cases to the federal government, The New York Times reported. The head of the office also reported that in her nine years of work in the office, she heard accusations of either sexual assault or domestic violence against around 40 football players, but that only one such person was ever found responsible of such allegations. Most women, "based on fear," opted not to pursue cases, she said.

The university issued a statement that defended its handling of sexual assault cases, saying that it has "no way to confirm or deny" the allegations made in the court records because "communications with such victims are confidential. All students who seek Victim Advocate services are offered the opportunity and support to move forward within the criminal justice system or within the university. Equally important, those who wish to remain confidential and/or anonymous are given that opportunity. Absent a student being willing to report outside of the confidential walls of the Victim Advocate Program, the hands of the criminal justice system and the university's conduct code proceedings are tied. We cannot act on allegations of which we are unaware."

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Disputes Over Johnson C. Smith's Financial Health

A former trustee who was ousted from the board of Johnson C. Smith University is raising questions about the private, historically black university's financial health. The Charlotte Observer reported that Talmadge Fair, the former trustee who is president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, has drawn attention to growing deficits at the institution. Documents filed by the university indicate a $7.5 million deficit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, and a $10 million deficit for the prior year. The newspaper also quoted an employee who discussed regularly fielding phone calls from vendors who were not being paid.

The university published statements on its website last week that defended the ouster of Fair from the board and said he was not removed for expressing dissent. Further, while the statement acknowledged that the U.S. Department of Education has placed Johnson C. Smith on its list of colleges under heightened financial scrutiny, the statement said the university was financially sound and was being judged that way by the department and its accreditor.

Early glimpse at student achievement at College for America, a competency-based degree provider

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Southern New Hampshire U's College for America releases a promising early snapshot of the general-education learning and skills of students who are enrolled in a new form of competency-based education.

Faculty Buyouts at Gonzaga U Law School

Gonzaga University School of Law has offered buyouts to all 17 of its tenured faculty members following a 28 percent dip in enrollment since 2011, Inlander and Above the Law reported. Like many other law schools, the institution’s applicant pool has decreased, in Gonzaga's case by more than one-third since 2011. Rather than drastically change its admissions criteria, Gonzaga chose to shrink enrollment, at the expense of its budget.

Four of 17 faculty members have accepted the buyout, and no more are expected to. Dean Jane Korn told Inlander, “Every dean had to make a decision to lower standards or take a budget hit, and we decided to take the budget hit. … We did this to avoid problems in the future.” Gonzaga is staffed for about 175 students per class, Korn said, but enrollment was just 125 in 2014.

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Brandeis Rejects Timetable of Protesting Students

Students at Brandeis University have been occupying an administration building that includes the president's office since Friday, with support from some faculty members. The Boston Globe reported that Lisa M. Lynch, the acting president, has pledged support for many of the goals of the protesting students. But in a letter to students and faculty members, Lynch said that she did not favor the specific timetable the protest movement is demanding. “We recognize that we must go further to fulfill our founding ideals,” she wrote. “However, reacting to immediate timetables and ultimata is not something that is productive or does justice to the work that needs to be done.” Setting a timetable “does not allow for engagement of all members of our community. This deep engagement is critical to ensure that the course we follow takes account of the many important interests that are involved or implicated in any initiative and has broad support,” Lynch added.

New presidents or provosts: Armstrong Cecil Colgate Cuyahoga Daytona Hamline Marymount Michigan Tech Pacific Oaks Sierra

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  • Mary Way Bolt, vice president for academic programs at Cecil College, in Maryland, has been promoted to president there.
  • Patricia Breen, provost at Pacific Oaks College & Children's School, has been promoted to president there.


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