Faculty members have voted no confidence in the leaders of City Colleges of Chicago and the University of Akron.
At City Colleges of Chicago, faculty leaders say Chancellor Cheryl Hyman makes decisions about important issues such as tuition, registration regulations and various other matters without consulting with the faculty, The Chicago Tribune reported. Many political and business leaders in Chicago back the chancellor.
At Akron, the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in President Scott L. Scarborough, citing numerous decisions he has made that they argue have hurt the university's academic and financial base, Ohio.com reported. Scarborough spoke early in the meeting where the vote took place but left before the vote.
Ravi Shankar, the tenured professor of poetry at Central Connecticut State University who was infamously promoted while in jail in 2014, prompting criticism of his administration, has resigned. Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State College and University System, announced Wednesday that Shankar agreed to resign, effective last month. Shankar, whose repeated run-ins with the law attracted the attention of state lawmakers, agreed to terminate all appeals and claims against the system’s Board of Regents for Higher Education, in exchange for a settlement of $60,409. He’s also permanently prohibited from applying to or accepting any position within the state college and university system. Since 2011, Shankar’s been convicted of crimes including credit card fraud and driving under the influence. He was arrested again last year for shoplifting at Home Depot. Shortly after that arrest, in August, Shankar was suspended without pay, a university spokesman said. The settlement terms were informed in part by Shankar's annual salary of about $85,000.
A professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Louisiana State University killed his wife and then himself over the weekend at their home in Mississippi, the Sun-Herald reported. William Claycomb, 73, and his wife, Victoria Burton, 61, each died of a gunshot wound to the head, and their deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide, according to the Sun-Herald. Claycomb, a member of the faculty since 1976, worked at LSU Health New Orleans. Steve Nelson, dean, described him as an internationally recognized pioneer in heart disease research. No information has been released regarding a motive, but police told the Sun-Herald they’d heard Claycomb was suffering from a terminal illness.
Jason Lieb, a molecular biologist at the University of Chicago, has resigned after a university official recommended that he be fired for sexual misconduct, The New York Times reported. A letter of finding that the Times obtained said Lieb made unwelcome sexual advances on female graduate students at an off-campus retreat and engaged in sexual activities with a student who was “incapacitated due to alcohol and therefore could not consent.” Lieb did not respond to requests for comment. Some students say the university should never have hired him, and that the university was warned in an anonymous email about a prior allegation against him. The Times article noted that Lieb has received millions of dollars in federal research grants.
Non-tenure-track faculty members in two academic units at the University of Southern California voted to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, while adjuncts in a third major unit voted down the bid, they announced Tuesday. Adjuncts in the Roski School of Arts voted 31-6 to unionize, and those in the International Academy voted for a union, 32-3. Non-tenure-track faculty members in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences voted down the bid, 127-113. A university spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An arbitrator has ruled that the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine System did not violate their contract with a faculty union when Southern Maine laid off 26 instructors in 2014, the university system said in a news release. According to system officials, the arbitrator concluded that Southern Maine acted reasonably and with an "excess of caution" when it imposed the layoffs amid significant financial strain. Maine officials acknowledged that the arbitrator ruled that the university acted prematurely in the dismissal of one faculty member.
“We are grateful the arbitrator affirmed the hard but necessary work former President Flanagan and his team did to reduce expenses at the University of Southern Maine,” said James H. Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with our faculty to improve university scholarship, research and service to Maine.”
Representatives of Southern Maine's faculty union could not be reached for comment about the arbitrator's ruling. But the union's president, Susan Feiner, a professor of economics at the university, told the Portland Press Herald, “While this is not the decision [the union] hoped for, we are glad the decision has been published. The faculty will continue to put students’ interests first. Students, their families and the state of Maine suffer when departments are closed and full-time faculty stripped out of departments. If UMaine System managers hope to recruit and retain students, they must invest in faculty who deliver world-class education. This decision is a serious blow to the academic reputation and future vitality of all UM universities.”
Melissa Click, a faculty member in communications at the University of Missouri at Columbia, has reached a deal to avoid third-degree assault charges she faced in connection with blocking a student journalist from access to a protest in a public space on campus, The Kansas City Star reported. Click will avoid prosecution in return for a year of probation and 20 hours of community service. Prosecutors said the deal was similar to those offered to similar offenders.