A South Carolina jury has awarded $1 million to two boys who were forced to play a "choking game" while at a Clemson University summer camp in 2008, The Post and Courier reported. The lawsuit charged that Clemson should not have let the counselor have access to the boys without a background check that would have turned up red flags. A university spokeswoman said that an appeal is planned because "we believe the award is excessive" and "is not supported by the facts in the case."
Higher Education Quick Takes
California leads the nation in unaccredited colleges, The New York Times reported. Nearly 1,000 unaccredited or "questionably accredited" institutions operate in the state, frequently ignoring state regulations. "There are a lot of schools that beg the question 'What exactly is going on in California?' " Eyal Ben Cohen, managing director of Accredibase Limited, a company based in London that monitors diploma mills, told the Times. "California has very weak oversight procedures as far as allowing an institution to operate within its borders. An institution within California can obtain a license very easily."
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (the national faculty union in Canada) on Thursday criticized the government for naming Shirley Tilghman, Princeton University's president, as co-chair of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program selection board. The research chairs program has provided funds for Canadian research universities to recruit top professors from all over the world, and Canadian academics have closely watched the work of the panel that has picked winners. The statement from James L. Turk, executive director of the faculty group, did not name Tilghman, and he stressed that the group had no fault with her -- only with her serving while being president of an American university. "We were surprised and disappointed at the announcement today that no Canadian university president or other academic was deemed distinguished enough to be named co-chair," Turk said in the statement. "There is no shortage of Canadian university presidents and other distinguished academics at Canadian universities who could more appropriately have filled the role."
Canadian officials praised Tilghman for agreeing to serve on the panel, noting that she was raised in Winnipeg. A Princeton official confirmed that she remains a Canadian citizen. It appears that Princeton may have a fondness for Canadian leaders. Tilghman has been president since 2001. She succeeded Harold T. Shapiro, a Montreal native with dual Canadian and American citizenship.
Liberty University has just sold $100 million in bonds, bringing its total debt to $228 million, to finance expansion, Bloomberg reported. The Christian university has $225 million in projects planned in the next five years, including a library, a baseball stadium and a school of health sciences.
Behavioral and social sciences play a key role in health issues and need to play a key role in the medical school curriculum, according to a report released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report notes that behaviors and the social determinants of health -- such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socioeconomic status -- account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States.
Viruses on computers at City College of San Francisco have sent personal banking and other information from thousands of faculty members, administrators and others to hackers with ties to Russian and Chinese criminal networks for as long as a decade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Campus officials identified the breaches weeks ago and are working to eliminate them. No cases of identity theft have been cited yet, though, the newspaper reported.
Rodney Erickson, the new president of Pennsylvania State University, pledged to alumni Wednesday that the institution eventually would honor Joe Paterno, who was fired as football coach in November amid a scandal over Penn State's handling of child sex abuse charges against one of his top assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky. USA Today reported that Erickson, speaking to hundreds of alumni at a town hall meeting in Pittsburgh, said: "There is no plan in place at the present time, but there will be. I can't tell you yet what it will be or when it will be, but we will publicly honor Joe and his wife, Sue, for all the many things they have done for the university, both from an athletic standpoint and an academic standpoint."
The meeting was the first of several in which the university is trying to repair its relations with alumni frustrated over the scandal. A Reuters account of the meeting said that many alumni criticized the university for not being more open about its response to the scandal, and many also questioned why Paterno was fired. Erickson pledged to be more transparent. He said that the university spent $360,000 on crisis communications during November.