Quick Takes: Bomb Probe at UCLA, 'Life Skills' Post at Iowa State, Archibishop Denounces Creighton Profs, Bishop State President Quits, Professor Who Had Affair Sues, Suit Over Tuition Help for Veterans, NCAA Punishes Cheyney U.

June 29, 2007
  • An e-mail message from the Animal Liberation Brigade took responsibility for an unexploded bomb found last weekend under the car of an eye researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Los Angeles authorities are investigating. The researcher's lab has done work with monkeys. UCLA has been a top target of animal rights groups for several years.
  • Gregory Geoffroy, president of Iowa State University, on Thursday approved the creation of a "life skills" assistant to work with athletes -- but has attached conditions that reflect fears of many professors that this post will be religious in nature, in violation of the separation of church and state. Geoffroy said that the new position had to be a volunteer, could not promote any particular religious group or belief, and must be committed to working with people of a variety of faiths. In addition, he ordered that exit interviews be conducted with athletes about their experiences with the new assistant, to measure the value and effectiveness of the position.
  • The Rev. Elden F. Curtiss, archbishop of Omaha, has severed ties between his diocese and the Center for Family and Marriage at Creighton University because of an essay two professors at the center wrote, The Omaha World-Herald reported. The essay, which appeared in U.S. Catholic, argued that Roman Catholic couples who live together without being married are not always living "in sin," and that living together may be part of a process of creating a solid marriage. In a letter, Archbishop Curtiss said that the professors' theory was "contrary to church teaching about the intrinsic evil of fornication," necessitating an end to ties to their center at Creighton. A university spokeswoman told the newspaper that Creighton "respects the academic freedom of its faculty to dialogue on societal issues" and the right of the archbishop to have "the final say" in the archdiocese about "the moral theology of the Catholic Church."
  • Yvonne Kennedy on Wednesday announced plans to resign as president of Bishop State Community College, The Mobile Press-Register reported. The State Board of Education has been facing calls to oust Kennedy as leader of the scandal-plagued Alabama institution. Twenty-seven people, many of them former employees, facing charges of theft of financial aid and sports funds from the college; state and federal officials are questioning the college's management of various grants; and the college has been placed on probation by its accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. On Thursday, the state board ordered Kennedy to fire David Thomas, head of the college's Division of Adult Education and Economic Development, because of his recent impeachment from the Mobile school board over accusations that he used school money to but $9,000 worth of Mardi Gras parade items, and because he pleaded guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident after a 2005 incident in which he ran over a 8-year-old girl's foot. Another embattled president of an Alabama community college -- Rick Rogers of Shelton State Community College -- also on Thursday announced his plans to retire.
  • James Iaccino, who quit his job as a psychology professor at Benedictine University after being confronted about an affair he was having with a female student, is suing the university for $4 million, the Chicago Tribune reported. The suit does not deny an affair with the student, who is described as under the age of 21. (The professor is 52.) According to the suit, Benedictine's provost demanded that the professor resign in return for three months of salary and benefits, after noting that Iaccino had been seen eating with the woman in the cafeteria, had signed visitor logs for her dorm room, and had sent "intimate" messages to her from his university e-mail account. The suit said the professor was "upset and confused" when he agreed to quit. A spokeswoman for the university declined to comment.
  • The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Thursday sued Texas in federal court over rules that limit a tuition waiver for veterans to those who were legal residents at the time they entered the military, the Associated Press reported. The suit charges equal protection violations on behalf of two Gulf war veterans who were honorably discharged and have become U.S. citizens, but who are denied the same benefits provided to other veterans in the state. The AP said state officials have not responded to the suit.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association has placed Cheyney University of Pennsylvania on probation for three years and imposed other punishments for a series of violations in the football program. Among the violations were the use of ineligible players, inappropriate benefits provided to those and other players, unethical conduct by the former head football coach, and failure to monitor the program. A report from the NCAA's Committee on Infractions said that the violations represented "a serious breach of ethical conduct." The university agreed that there were violations, but disputed the seriousness of some of them, according to the NCAA. The report from the association noted recent trend of Division II member institutions, either through inadvertence or ignorance, failing to devote the necessary resources to effectively operate a Division II athletics program. The report also noted with dismay a "recent trend of Division II member institutions, either through inadvertence or ignorance, failing to devote the necessary resources to effectively operate a Division II athletics program."
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