Inver Hills Community College, in Minnesota, has placed Dave Berger, a faculty member in sociology, on leave and barred him from campus. The move is raising questions, The Star Tribune reported, because Berger is the grievance representative of the faculty union and the move follows a faculty vote of no confidence in President Tim Wynes. Berger said he hasn't been told why the college placed him on leave. The college says it cannot discuss details, but that the reason has nothing to do with Berger's union activism.
The University of Iowa saw a 36 percent jump in faculty resignations last year compared to a year earlier -- 66 resignations in 2013-14 versus 90 in 2014-15 -- according to a report from the Iowa Board of Regents. Over the same period, the number of resignations at Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa fell slightly, the Iowa City Press-Citizenreported.
Kevin Kregel, associate provost for the faculty at the University of Iowa, told the Press-Citizen that the institution is looking into what caused the spike, and regents are set to discuss the matter at their meeting later this month. Based on information from faculty exit surveys, part of the problem is faculty salaries compared to those outside academe, Kregel said. That's especially true in the medical school, from which a majority of last year’s resignations came. Bruce Harreld, university president, recently asked the Iowa Legislature to approve a $4.5 million increase in state funding, to be used to attract and retain top faculty members, according to the Press-Citizen. Twenty-five resignations across the University of Iowa came from minority faculty members, the highest among the state’s regents universities, though Kregel said that was comparable to other institutions as a percentage of total resignations.
Andrew Bournos, a controversial new member of the Board of Trustees of Mount Saint Mary College, in Newburgh, N.Y., has resigned. Faculty members objected to Bournos’s social media profile, in particular his tweet about a video that claimed Jews and Muslims have no faith. The college initially decided that because Bournos hadn’t “liked” the video, he hadn’t endorsed it. But in a brief email to faculty and staff members on Tuesday -- a day after Inside Higher Ed wrote about the controversy and various other faculty concerns about shared governance on campus -- Albert Gruner, board chair, said he had accepted Bournos’s resignation. A college spokesperson said via email, "All of us at the Mount remain committed to providing our students with an outstanding education steeped in the proud tradition of the Dominican sisters." The college's advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors said in a statement Wednesday that Bournos's departure is "welcome news for the entire college community, and we hope it is the first of many steps to be taken by the Board of Trustees in order to repair and restore a healthy working relationship between the administration and the faculty, staff and students[.]"
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.