Quick Takes: Fisk and O'Keeffe Museum Compromise, Eastern Mich. Alters Crime Policies, Bribes for Foreign Students, Voorhees and President Move On, Fight Over Ousted Prof in New Zealand, Crown College Stripped of Accreditation

August 8, 2007
  • Fisk University and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum have reached a settlement of a dispute over control over a collection of paintings that the late artist left to Fisk, some of which the university wants to sell. The Tennessean reported that under the deal, the museum will obtain O'Keeffe's "Radiator Building" painting from the university and will pay Fisk $7.5 million, while dropping claims against other parts of the collection. Fisk would also be allowed to sell Marsden Hartley's "Painting No. 3." Fisk would also be obligated to use some of the funds obtained to improve the museum in which it displays the remaining works in the collection, which would include "Radiator Building" on loan for four months every four years. The agreement still requires a judge's approval. Fisk, which has struggled financially, has argued that it needs to sell some of its valuable art collection. The dispute has highlighted the debate over whether it is appropriate for colleges to sell art.
  • Eastern Michigan University, which has faced months of criticism over the cover-up of a murder of one student by another in December, announced Tuesday that it was accepting the findings of an Education Department report faulting the institution's crime reporting procedures. The university said it was adopting new policies on notifying students of crime, of working with local police, and of reporting incidents.
  • A former admissions clerk at California State University at Fullerton has been arrested in a probe of possible bribes to expedite the review of some foreign students' applications, the Los Angeles Times reported. The former clerk, Cathleen Louise Smith, told the newspaper that she had taken $2,000 to speed the applications of two brothers from Kuwait, but she said that they were academically eligible and that she considered the money a gift.
  • The president of Voorhees College has been placed on extended administrative leave, Don Fowler, a member of the college's Board of Trustees, said last week. The decision came several weeks after a jury's $500,000 sexual harassment verdict against Lee M. Monroe, the Voorhees president. The lawsuit was brought by a former female professor at the college. Monroe went on administrative leave for health reasons soon after the verdict, and the board said last week that the paid administrative leave would extend through June 2008. On Monday, Voorhees announced that it had hired as its acting president, Valdrie N. Walker, the college's dean, who will serve until an interim president is hired, The Times and Democrat reported.
  • Paul Buchanan, a prominent political scientist in New Zealand, lost his job recently at the University of Auckland, apparently over an angry e-mail message he sent to a student denying her request for an extension on an assignment, Radio New Zealand reported. Buchanan's ouster has angered many students, who believe dismissal is an excessive punishment, if one is warranted at all. Supporters of Buchanan are charging that the student's family pressured the university to react to the e-mail, according to numerous press reports in New Zealand. The university is not commenting except to confirm that Buchanan is no longer a faculty member. Much of the debate in the last week has taken place without knowledge of the exact wording of the e-mail. With its publication, the debate has taken off. The New Zealand Herald reported that some professors are saying that they are pleased Buchanan told the foreign students that she wasn't prepared or working hard -- and said it was time for professors to speak out against pressure to pass foreign students. Others have objected to the tone. The e-mail opens this way: "I say this reluctantly but not so subtly: you are not suitable for a graduate degree. It does not matter if your father died or if you have a medical certificate." And Buchanan goes on to say that the excuses offered by the student are "culturally driven and preying on some sort of Western liberal guilt."
  • Crown College, a for-profit institution in Tacoma, Wash., that had repeatedly settled lawsuits accusing it of misrepresenting the transferability of its credits, has been stripped of its accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, the group said in a letter to the U.S. Education Department. The college's Web site was not functioning Tuesday and no one answered at its telephone number.
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