Two Jewish professors have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging Wheelock College with anti-Jewish bias, The Boston Globe reported. The complaints say that after the professors complained about a lack of Jewish perspective in various campus discussions, the administration spread false reports that they were racist, hurting their reputations and careers. Wheelock officials said the claims were "without merit."
A new study of elite life scientists finds that they are more likely than other life scientists to relocate, but the age of their children may discourage them from doing so. The study (abstract available here) was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study found that the greater rates of relocation were not evident for scientists with children ages 14-17, when many families are reluctant to ask children to change schools.
A legal challenge to an alleged no-hire agreement between Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has survived an important test. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles rejected the universities’ request to dismiss a lawsuit from an assistant professor of radiology at Duke who claimed that she’d been denied a job at North Carolina due to an alleged agreement that the two universities wouldn’t recruit from each others’ faculties.
The class-action suit brought by that professor, Danielle Seaman, alleges that the secret agreement was binding, with the intent to artificially suppress wages, and violates antitrust laws. The recent court decision includes a denial of state action immunity against antitrust liability, based on the defendants’ argument that they should be exempt from federal antitrust laws because a state university and health system is involved. Seaman’s attorney, Dean Harvey, said in a statement that the decision “confirmed that secret agreements in restraint of trade are not immune from the antitrust laws simply because a co-conspirator is a state employee.” A spokesperson for Duke declined comment, as did a spokesperson for North Carolina.
The latest on the controversy at Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, where many are outraged by the firing of two faculty members without faculty reviews -- dismissals widely viewed as an attempt to squelch dissent.
Inside Higher Ed asked the university's accreditor if it plans to examine what is going on and received a reply that it does. Elizabeth H. Sibolski, president of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, said via email, “I did want to assure you that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is well aware of developments that have been reported in national, state and higher education press. We take our accreditation responsibilities seriously and will be addressing the situation through our normal and usual processes.” Asked if this meant looking into the situation before the next review of Mount St. Mary's, she said, “This week’s press has been remarkable -- and the situation has developed over just the past few days. We are concerned and we will act with appropriate care for the integrity of the accreditation process.”
Simon Newman, president of Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, wrote to parents of students Wednesday to tell them that he disagreed with press accounts of a growing national controversy over his dismissal of two faculty members. In his email, Newman said, “I want to briefly address my decision to dismiss two faculty members who violated a number of our university policies and our code of ethics. We, as an institution, have received quite a bit of press recently and have chosen not to respond more forcefully with information about the specifics of their conduct which we have available to us. In keeping with our values, we will take the high road. But it is critical that you know that we would never undertake actions like that unless the conduct in question warranted it. You may see other versions of events, but we have chosen to restore our focus on educating your students rather than explaining the damaging actions of a few individuals. We need to move forward with hope and faith rather than fall prey to fear and disparity during this time of transition.” Many faculty members say that their dismissed colleagues lost their jobs for disagreeing with the president, and they note the absence of any faculty review of the firings.
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a complaint against Adams State University administrators on behalf of Danny Ledonne, a former adjunct professor of mass communications and video production employee who was banned from campus after he repeatedly criticized the university on a personal website called WatchingAdams.org. Ledonne wrote about pay differences between faculty members and administrators and questioned the university's hiring practices, among other topics (he was turned down several times for a tenure-track job, according to the complaint). Adams State issued Ledonne a no-trespass order this fall. The complaint, filed in a federal court in Colorado, alleges violations of Ledonne’s free speech and due process rights, as well as false and defamatory claims by the university that his behavior was threatening.
Adams State said in a statement that the complaint is “based on a wholly false premise that we have been eager to completely refute, but have lacked the legal ability to do, until now.” Officials said that they look forward to “making the case that the university’s actions were based solely on evidence and the belief that Mr. Ledonne’s longstanding pattern of inappropriate actions and threatening statements required us to act in an abundance of caution to protect our students, faculty and staff. We will aggressively contest any accusation that our safety-based decisions were in any way related to constitutionally protected freedom of expression.”
Legislation in Kansas would eliminate a tenure system for community college faculty members that grants them the right to due process prior to dismissal once they have taught four years, The Kansas City Star reported. Similar rights were eliminated last year for elementary and secondary school teachers. At a hearing on the bill Tuesday, faculty members criticized the legislation. “Due process gives us the freedom to speak up with a dissenting voice, without fear of retaliation,” said Melanie Harvey, who teaches chemistry at Johnson County Community College.
Groups representing administrators and trustees spoke in favor of the bill. Greg Goode, representing the Kansas Association of Technical Colleges, said the due process system takes too long and makes it too difficult to dismiss a faculty member "gone bad." He said that "it's heartbreaking to hear students complain" about such professors.